Take a high road
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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