Take a high road

Herald Sun - Motoring - - SHORT CUT -

VALUE

For a medium SUV, the 2.0 diesel is a tad pricey at about $50,000 on the road, off­set by the sum of its kit — there are sup­ple leather trim, eight-inch cen­tre screen, auto head­lights and wipers, pre­mium au­dio, LED head­lights, power tail­gate, the good SUNA sat­nav, elec­tric 10-way driver’s seat ad­just­ment, elec­tric park brake and push­but­ton start among much else. Warranty is five years/ un­lim­ited km. Capped ser­vic­ing costs $1137 over three years.

COMFORT

The roomy cabin seats five and has de­cent size load space plus a full-size al­loy spare. Dual-zone cli­mate con­trol air­con and a cabin air fil­ter im­prove the en­vi­ron­ment fur­ther. There is ad­e­quate rear seat legroom for three and the wide-open­ing doors make for easy ac­cess. The power tail­gate is handy.

SAFETY

The Tuc­son gets five stars but this vari­ant goes a lot fur­ther with ad­vanced driver as­sist tech­nol­ogy to avoid a crash in the first place. Emer­gency brak­ing, lane keep­ing, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, blind spot de­tec­tion, lane change as­sist, rear cross traf­fic alert and front and rear park as­sist are all part of the pack­age. This level of safety is not avail­able fur­ther down the Tuc­son food chain.

DRIV­ING.

The 2.0-litre turbo diesel (136kW/400Nm) has a vari­able ge­om­e­try turbo for snappy re­sponse when re­quired. Out­puts are pretty good for a 1744kg ve­hi­cle with all-wheel drive plus front/rear lock mode for re­ally sticky sit­u­a­tions. The six-speed auto has pad­dleshifters but it’s just as good when left in D. Front struts and multi-link rear sus­pen­sion en­dow comfort and con­trol, even off-road and there is 172mm of ground clear­ance. Feels rather sporty for such a ve­hi­cle, thanks in part to lo­cal en­gi­neer­ing in­put.

ALTERNATIVES

Ford Kuga Ti­ta­nium 2.0 diesel, $47,190 Sim­i­lar lev­els of equip­ment but ad­di­tional in­fo­tain­ment through the Sync con­trol sys­tem, which is at times dif­fi­cult to use. Ex­cel­lent en­gine per­for­mance and econ­omy. Kia Sportage Plat­inum 2.0 diesel, $45,990 The Tuc­son’s twin un­der the skin for a bit less money. The new styling has been de­scribed kindly as “chal­lenged’.’ Mit­subishi Out­lander Ex­ceed 2.2 diesel,

$47,500 The en­gine is a bit rough around the edges but makes good power. The styling is strik­ing, par­tic­u­larly at the front. There is a seven-seater op­tion plus plenty of ad­vanced safety gear and lux­ury items.

VER­DICT

The Tuc­son is no longer top dog but this vari­ant is ar­guably the pick of the lit­ter, thanks to en­gine, in­fo­tain­ment and driver as­sist. A short lis­ter for sure.

PETER BARN­WELL CUTS TO THE CHASE

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