The latest Tucson has proven to be a significant model for Hyundai, signalling the brand’s bolder design direction, improved levels of technology and its increasing focus on electrification. It has proven to be a hit in the sales department too, with this new model already proving a popular sight on UK roads, and continuing to lead Hyundai’s charts.
At its launch, there was already the option of various mild-hybrid versions, as well as a full ‘self-charging’ hybrid model, which has proven increasingly popular. Now, though, customers have the choice of a plug-in hybrid version, bringing even lower running costs for those that charge their cars regularly.
But against a raft of PHEV SUV rivals – such as the highly-efficient Ford Kuga PHEV and Volkswagen’s Tiguan eHybrid, does this Tucson have what it takes to come out on top?
All Tucson models are centred around a 1.6-litre petrol engine, which offers various options in terms of power, drivetrain and electrification.
But it’s this plug-in hybrid that’s the most powerful, with its combination of petrol and electricity producing 261bhp and 350Nm of torque – allowing for a 0-60mph time of 8.6 seconds and 118mph top speed.
The Tucson’s 13.8kWh battery also brings an electric range of up to 35 miles, which Hyundai says allows for a combined 202mpg. As with any plug-in hybrid, you will have to charge the batteries regularly to see figures that high. CO2 emissions also stand at a low 31g/km.
Ride and handling
As with its PHEV rivals, the electric motor of the Tucson helps to deliver a sense of urgency that makes it quick away from the line, and easily allows for safe overtakes. Once you’re at higher speeds, the engine nicely settles down and allows for a refined driving experience. ]
It’s very well-judged for a family SUV, providing plenty in the way of comfort and ease of use, but never really wowing in terms of dynamics - though you wouldn’t really expect a vehicle of this type to do so.
Visibility is also good, while higher-spec versions feature a whole suite of cameras that help when parking.
Just as the Tucson’s exterior styling impresses, so does this SUV’s interior. Reflecting Hyundai’s move upmarket in more recent years, this cabin is smart, techy and easy to use. There are a few lower-quality plastics that do let the side down slightly, but this is only a very mild complaint.
The Tucson is also a great size for families, offering plenty of interior space for families, along with a roomy and useful boot. Though the larger battery pack might marginally eat into space, this is still a very practical SUV.
Given this plug-in hybrid is the range-topping powertrain, it’s no surprise that it skips the regular Tucson’s entry-level SE Connect trim level, with the line-up beginning with the sportier-angled N-Line. This features 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, keyless start and entry and heated front seats to name just a few features. Above this, the N-Line S brings a panoramic glass sunroof, Krell sound system, electric boot and additional safety equipment.
At the other side of the range, the Premium comes with revised 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control and a wireless smartphone charging pad. Right at the top of the line-up, the Ultimate version comes with electric and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and leather upholstery.
Plug-in hybrids always command a premium over other models in a range, and the Tucson is no different. Models start from £39,330, which is around £4,000 more expensive than the standard regular hybrid.
Prices rise to £41,975 for the range-topping Ultimate, meaning there really isn’t much difference in price by choosing the range-topping version.
Given the Tucson has already proven a huge sales hit for Hyundai, it’s clear this new plug-in hybrid is only going to elevate its appeal further. Its combination of swift performance with low running costs will certainly appeal, while even once the batteries are depleted, it should remain efficient.
Though not cheap, and certain elements aren’t quite as polished as you might hope, it’s still a great all-rounder that will slot easily into day-to-day family life.Enquire on a new Hyundai Tucson