In a world where a new mid-sized SUV or crossover is launched seemingly every week, the latest Tucson’s striking looks will do it no harm. Its brassily bold nose might not be to everybody’s tastes but we think this is one of those occasions when it’s deftly judged. The nub of good design: not so outlandish that it will wilfully put people off, yet distinctive and attractive enough for others to want little else.
The new Tucson sits between the compact Kona and full- sized Santa Fe in the Hyundai line-up and is a little larger than the car it replaces – although, at 4.5m long and 1.85m wide, it’s still compact enough that it should remain manoeuvrable and simple to park.
The Tucson’s petrol and petrol-electric powertrain options are still broadening from launch. As of right now, you can configure a basic 148bhp petrol 1.6-litre, with or without 48V mild-hybrid technology, a 178bhp 1.6 mild hybrid or a 1.6 full hybrid with 227bhp, like the car tested here. Some have six-speed manual gearboxes but there’s also a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission option or a six-speed automatic as on this full hybrid. Most are two-wheel drive, and if you want four-wheel drive in the UK, you’ll have to specify the 178bhp mild hybrid with the DCT.
As a full rather than mild hybrid, this Tucson gets a 1.49kWh battery mounted beneath the boot floor, while there’s a 59bhp electric motor between the engine and gearbox to get the car up to its total 227bhp output. The 1.49kWh pack is bigger than a Toyota RAV4 hybrid’s 1.1kWh battery, and when you remember that an 18kWh PHEV battery will get you up to 30 miles or so of pure-electric range, it’s clear to see how useful a pack of even just 1.49kWh could be.