Hyundai Tucson long term review, 13,400km report

    First report: Is Hyundai’s premium SUV a worthy upgrade from your midsize SUV?

    Published on Nov 15, 2023 08:00:00 AM


    Hyundai Tucson
    Make : Hyundai
    Model : Tucson

    Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome aboard the Hyundai Tucson, the newest addition to our long-term fleet. I’ll be its custodian for the next couple of months and its arrival in my life simulates a very realistic, natural upgrade up the SUV pecking order from my last long-termer – the midsized Skoda Kushaq. Our Tucson is a petrol-automatic in fully loaded Signature trim, which is the spec of choice for anyone spooked by the government’s increasingly vocal anti-diesel stance.

    I’ll get to the finer details in a bit because you can’t talk Tucson and not talk of the way it looks first. The waterfall effect Daytime Running Lamps up front, the mad angles at the sides and the distinct tail-lights elicited praise even from non-car folk (my family!). And then there’s the size. It’s much larger than it looks in pictures, and occupies way more parking real estate than your average midsize SUV. The combined effect is an SUV that’s big on size and flash; important for a premium SUV for premium money.

    Rear seat space excellent and co-driver seat can be slid forward from the rear.

    Inside too, you get the impression that your money has been well spent. The generous use of soft materials for the dash top counts for a lot and even smaller details like the knurled wiper and light stalks won’t be lost on you. I also really like the low dashboard cowl that affords great visibility. However, I can’t seem to find an ideal seating position. I find front seat shoulder support insufficient (noted in other Hyundais too) forcing me to sit in a more upright position than I’d like. No faulting the seat for features though. There’s powered adjust, memory, ventilation and heating. Oh, and there’s boss seat controls too that move the front passenger seat forwards to maximise rear legroom.

    Otherwise tech-laden Tucson, irritatingly misses out on wireless phone projection.

    At full extension, it makes the already roomy Tucson’s rear section feel vast. The tech overload includes lovely digital dials and a slick 10.25-inch touchscreen. Why Hyundai couldn’t engineer wireless functionality for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay beats me though.

    Feed from blind view cameras a big help in our chaotic driving environment.

    I haven’t spent all that much time with the Tucson, but I already have a ritual in place. And that is to switch off the auto emergency braking (forward collision mitigation) on start up. You see, as noble as the feature (part of a handily long ADAS suite), it’s best used in higher speed settings. The system is far too sensitive for typical low-speed city crawls, applying full brakes in a scenario in which I’d probably just feather the brake pedal.

    Auto braking is too sensitive in typical Indian city driving.

    It’s caught me off guard on more than one occasion and I’d rather retain full control. What’s an irritant is that the system defaults to full auto braking every time you switch the vehicle off. Of the other features, the rear cross-traffic alert is a boon and the blind-view camera system that relays a feed of blindspots on the instrument console is particularly useful. It’s a feature I miss when I’m testing a car without it.  

    Petrol engine is thirsty. Single-digit economy figures are the norm in town.

    What I can’t say is that I’m a big fan of the Tucson’s 156hp, 192Nm, 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine. It’s smooth and quiet but doesn’t give the go to match the Tucson’s show. The lack of fizz I can live with, but what really pinches is the economy. I’ve managed a best of 8kpl, but the real-time figure is usually around the 6kpl mark. The distance to empty figure drops alarmingly after tanking up. Who’d have thought I’d experience range anxiety in a petrol car! 

    I hope to see the economy number improve dramatically on an upcoming road trip to Pune. The longer drive will also give me a chance to experience more of the ADAS functions. And yeah, the family’s verdict on rear seat comfort should be interesting too. Stay tuned.

    Also see

    2022 Hyundai Tucson video review

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