The biggest car of our current test fleet, the Hyundai Tucson, faces its toughest test yet.
The Isle of Skye, it’s fair to say, is a bit of a slog.
It’s a slog if you live in Fort William; from Hertfordshire, it’s like driving to Alpha Centauri. But when you’re the only one of five overgrown children to own a family-sized car, the responsibility of driving 1200 miles for a group holiday is pretty hard to swerve.
Secretly, of course, I jumped at the chance. Prodigious road trips are the long-termer leveller: if you can’t mollify a gaggle of basically happy people for eight hours, then you’re not worth your weight in tyre rubber.
The Tucson’s start was inauspicious, but I’m inclined to forgive its failure to accommodate every item of clutter in the boot. This, after all, was a trip that involved rock climbing, fishing, caving and a whole host of other worryingly healthy pursuits, so there was a lot of kit. Plus, one of us was a girl.
Of course, with five in the car, Jess’s attendance was a blessing. The thought of an additional male torso across the back seat would likely have had us turning around at Nottingham. Even allowing for her more slender presence, the best arrangement of bodies was still a squeeze, to which I can testify thanks to my stints away from the wheel.
That said, nothing short of a Seat Alhambra would have provided uncontested personal space for five, but as it was, no one complained about the leg or head room. The sat-nav, normally a blameless system, did receive a certain amount of cabin ire when it directed us to the ferry port at Fort William rather than the Skye bridge (note to Hyundai: the ferries don’t run after 11pm), although the detour was, in the end, negligible in the context of the 12-hour total duration of the trip.
A plane would probably have shaved eight hours from that journey time (I’m taking parking, buses and check-in into account there), but it would have left a significant dent in everyone’s bank account, too — certainly bigger than the £177 in diesel shared between us. Plus the Tucson remained a priceless asset for the next five days; there’s no place quite as special to drive around as Skye. Given the choice again, I’d book my seat in the Hyundai without a second thought. Road trip grade? B-plus.
The Tucson has now proved itself to be a capable load-hauler. It left the Autocar Awards at Silverstone with a boot full of luggage, boxes of camera gear and four fully grown men and headed down the M40 towards London at outside-lane pace. We all concluded it was comfortable and effective at shrugging off its 450kg cargo.
I’m having to get used to the Tucson’s restricted rear visibility. My old Ford Mondeo had the over-the-shoulder ease of use you might expect from such a popular puller of caravans. The Hyundai, though, with its wide rear pillars and small windows, seems to have a broader blindspot. It has a reversing camera, but I don’t like to rely on it.
Read our previous reports:
Hyundai Tucson 1.7 CRDi SE Nav
Price £23,145 Price as tested £23,765 Economy 38.4mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 8.6.16