It was time for a family vacation to Goa, and, as always, besides the four of us – that is wife, kids and me – there was the regular load of our packed bags. We had camera gear, fishing rods, snorkelling sets and beach gear that included two body boards and an inflatable rubber dinghy, complete with oars, life vests and an air pump.
WIDE OPEN SPACE: Loads of room and no loading lip mean the boot is easy to fill.
And so, to pick out the perfect car for the road trip, I went back to my list of must-haves. Large – for lot’s of luggage; SUV – for out of the way picnic spots; diesel – to keep the wallet happy; good road manners – for passengers who feel queasy. It was the Tucson that checked all the boxes this time, and Autocar’s silver 2WD GLS was the chosen holiday express. I’ve specifically mentioned the variant as it is the top-end version that gets a powered tailgate; this ensured there would be no complaints from the kids when it came to loading the day’s gear. And each day there was a lot of
it – fishing, hiking and swimming – and the Tucson accompanied us happily. The boot is large enough to swallow all the gear, and, while this is the two-wheel-drive version, the large tyres and ground clearance proved more than sufficient over all the rough ground.
CONSOLE OF THE YEAR: A place for everything – large cups, phones and wallets.
What’s neat is that comfort inside is pretty great too. The seats are nice and broad, especially at the rear where three adults can sit comfortably; the stereo sounds nice, and, best of all, it has Android Auto, meaning we could comfortably use Google Maps and listen to great internet radio. Yes, data connectivity isn’t great in Goa, but the music gets stored in the cache memory when you do have data, and that was good enough for hours of uninterrupted music.
Driving the Tucson is a very relaxed affair. The engine cruises along happily in Normal mode, and should you want to get a move on there’s Sport mode that gives you a nice, strong shove. Most of the time, however, I left it in Normal. I did try out the Eco mode, but only briefly; yes it would have increased efficiency, but with 13.2kpl achieved on the highway (a mix of Sport and Normal), I was pretty satisfied. However, where mileage took a hit was when driving through the smooth but narrow lanes of Goa. With the slow and constantly changing pace, the heavy Tucson needed a good dose of energy to overcome inertia, and the figure dropped down to 8kpl. Still not too much of a worry, given the size of the car.
ATTENTION SEEKER: Beeper sound when locking and unlocking is too loud.
What was a worry, however, was that the Tucson hasn’t been exactly problem-free. The tyres had to be changed at an early 25,000km. But, to be fair, we did drive the car over some very challenging terrain, from fast highways to ghats with sweeping bends, to rocky mountain roads. The real issue, however, was with the air conditioning, which needed repairs three times.
LOW DOWN: Passenger seat is set very low and has no height adjustment.
Thankfully, my vacation proved to be uneventful, and, in fact, quite delightful, because the air conditioning worked just fine. Now, back in Mumbai, I’m going to hold onto the Tucson’s keys for longer as the monsoons are here and a high-riding vehicle would be handy to get through the water-logged streets of the city. Also, the diesel-auto combination will take some sting out of the longer hours I’m going to spend in traffic.