What is it?
The first go in a diesel-powered version of the new Tucson, Hyundai’s impressive follow-up to the already popular ix35.
Alongside the 1.6-litre T-GDi we’ve already sampled, the higher-powered 2.0-litre CRDi is the only engine not carried over wholesale from its predecessor. Hyundai did in fact previously sell an earlier variant of the 182bhp four-cylinder unit,but ended up ditching it during the ix35’s life cycle.
Tweaked to comply with Euro 6 emissions obligations, the punchier motor now returns to fill out the top of the Tucson range.
Clearly it offers a bit more grunt, being about a second quicker to 62mph than its 134bhp sibling, although really this is as much about Hyundai’s ambitions for the Tucson as anything else: there’s no equivalent to the engine in the Nissan Qashqai, but there is one in the larger Ford Kuga, and the firm plainly sees this model’s customers as fodder for the Tucson, too.
No surprise, then, that just as the Kuga tops out at beyond £30k in 2.0-litre TDCi Titanium X Sport trim, so does the 182bhp, AWD version of the Tucson’s Premium SE spec - albeit by not quite so much at £30,845 with a six-speed manual gearbox.
For that you get plenty, including the premium niceties such as cooling-fan front seats, panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, powered tailgate and the keyless start with which Hyundai likes to festoon its high-priced mainstream offerings.
What's it like?
Much like a Santa Fe, alhough slightly smaller and handily better.
Make room on your browser for Hyundai’s seven-seat SUV and the styling debt owed by the Tucson to its big brother is readily apparent and actually not undesirable - so long as you’ve already made your peace with the shiny mid-Atlantic bridgework going on at the front end.
Side by side, the difference in size is surprisingly modest and goes to show just how much real estate a 30mm addition in wheelbase length has bought the Tucson.
The all-new platform underneath donates some extra width, too, all of which translates inside to a prospect that feels, on first impressions at least, noticeably more spacious than a Qashqai. Bigger than a Kuga? Well, it’s certainly in the ballpark, and Hyundai claims a 107-litre advantage in boot capacity alone.
The new cabin is arguably a little more handsome than the Santa Fe's, too. A wider centre console, broader HVAC controls and the new generation 8.0in touchscreen all contribute to horizontal sense of space, and the ergonomics are only upset by the slightly rearward gear lever. It’s shift is positive enough though (and easily preferable to the lacklustre auto), and despite an occasionally overzealous brake servo, the control surfaces in the main follow suit.
Only the steering, mentioned previously, disappoints consistently, particularly when the Lane Keeping Assist System is on, as it will be by default, and aggressively attempts to adjust your course. Even when this is deactivated the wheel has an unpleasant doughiness to the straight ahead - a sure sign of autobahn-based fettling.