The soft-roader gets initiated into our fleet with two trips to Mahabaleshwar.
The best way to stick to a diet is to keep your kitchen free of all the junk food you would mindlessly gorge on just because it’s there. Similarly, the best way to not drive like a lunatic to Mahabaleshwar, is to take a car that isn’t exactly fun to drive.
The original plan was to take our new long-termer, the Punto Abarth, to the hills over the New Year and Republic Day weekends, but after Mrs S warned me that our cargo would include bags, potted plants, iceboxes of food, and a passenger with a tendency to throw up if you cornered anything harder than 0.1Gs, I quietly swapped the Abarth key for something that wouldn’t tempt me to go ballistic up the Ambenali ghat. And that something was the all-new Hyundai Tucson that has just joined our long-term fleet.
For me, the most exciting bit of the Tucson is the styling, which Hyundai seems to get just so right. You feel good walking up to a car that, well, looks good, and I suspect that is the main reason why half of the Tucson customers bought one. The other half would have probably bought it for its practicality and the way the Tucson packs in five people and their belongings quite easily. I was impressed with the way the large and efficiently shaped boot accommodated an assortment of luggage.
Assorted luggage and paraphernalia fit neatly in the large and well-shaped boot.
The cabin too is equally spacious and the rear seat with an adjustable backrest, in particular, is large enough to keep three adults cosy and not cramped. However, the Tucson, like most Hyundais, trades a high seating position for a sleeker roofline and as a result, you don’t get a sense of sitting in an SUV, especially at the back. The high window line and low seat base don’t give you that perched feeling and those sitting at the back do miss that extra bit of visibility you expect in an SUV.
Whilst I was taken care of with a 10-way, powered driver’s seat, my co-passenger next to me didn’t have it so good. A manually adjustable front passenger seat is acceptable but no height adjust for the low-set seat is a serious omission, especially if you’re a short person. Hyundai should offer a periscope as an accessory to peer over the high-set dash!