RESPECTABLE IN EVERY AREA
A mid-life refresh endows the Tucson with just enough kit to be competitive against the latest crop of new mid-sized SUVs. Standard are eight-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring, satnav and digital radio. The driveaway price puts the Elite on a par with highspec rivals, depending on who is doing deals in a particular month. Choose any colour other than white and it costs $595. The five-year, unlimited km warranty is reassuring; less impressive are service intervals of 12 months/ 10,000km, though the first four trips cost $1290 if you pay upfront.
Leather-trimmed seats are good but the Elite lacks heating or cooling for the front pews and only the driver’s side is power adjusted. Legroom in the back is OK for tall adults. The boot is a reasonable 488L, expanding to almost 1500L with the rear seats folded, and there’s a full-size spare wheel. Braked towing is rated at 1600kg but the towball load is restricted to 140kg.
There’s a full set of active safety software in the Elite, with AEB, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot warning and lanekeep assist standard. ANCAP rates the Tucson as a five-star car, awarding it 35.53/37s when it was tested in 2016. Pedestrian protection was rated marginal but it’s a moot point given the AEB includes pedestrian detection.
All-wheel drive versions of the Elite are a huge step up from the 2.0-litre front-drivers, simply because the AWD version uses a 1.6-litre turbo — it’s not only more powerful but also uses a fraction less fuel in the process (7.7L/100km against 7.9L). The suspension is well balanced but tuned for comfort over cornering and can thump over larger bumps. The brakes are respectable without being brilliant.
ALTERNATIVES MAZDA CX-5 GT, $44,990 DRIVE-AWAY
A deal has the CX-5 GT priced on a par with the Tucson and it packs comparable performance and safety, along with the bonus of traffic sign recognition and it’s a marginally better drive.
TOYOTA RAV4 CRUISER, $45,990 DRIVE-AWAY
Toyota is keen to shift the RAV4, as evidenced by this price throughout September for the topspec all-wheel drive Cruiser. It uses a touch more fuel at 8.5 L/100km but will carry more cargo with 577L of space.
NISSAN X-TRAIL ST-L, $43,100-$44,100 DRIVE-AWAY
The ST-L has the best rear seat space of this group but is starting to show its age in terms of active safety features and interior finish against the latest opposition. Boot space is great at 565L.
The Tucson is good in every area without excelling at any one thing. Hyundai’s competitive price should earn it a place on shoppers’ short-lists.