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Hyundai Tucson 2021 review: 2.0

The bodywork on the new Tucson is outstanding.

The Hyundai Tucson has been a reliable player in the mid-size SUV market for years. With this revamp, they've overhauled the design, styling and engines, but have neglected to include a hybrid or electric car in the lineup.

I test drove the Hyundai Tucson 2.0 which is the base model and costs $34,500 before on road costs and extras. It competes with cars like the Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 - the latter of which has a hybrid on offer that sells well. I test drove it over seven days for this week's family review.

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How does it look?

The new Tucson has been beautifully designed with a number of lines and angles going through the body of the car to create a unique shape. It's got a large, wide grille at the front and narrow headlights that work seamlessly together and the overall effect is subtly futuristic, with a sophisticated edge. You'll feel good in this one on the road.

Inside this cheapest version of the new Tucson looks good. Nothing too fancy as it's the base model with black fabric seats that are smooth, and nice to sit on. It's got some high gloss accents and brushed metallic trims. The actual design of the dash and doors is fresh and modern with a curve around the front.

  • The new Tucson has been beautifully designed. (image: Dean McCartney) The new Tucson has been beautifully designed. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • A number of lines and angles go through the body of the car to create a unique shape. (image: Dean McCartney) A number of lines and angles go through the body of the car to create a unique shape. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • It’s got a large, wide grille at the front and narrow headlights that work seamlessly together. (image: Dean McCartney) It’s got a large, wide grille at the front and narrow headlights that work seamlessly together. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • You’ll feel good in this one on the road. (image: Dean McCartney) You’ll feel good in this one on the road. (image: Dean McCartney)

What's the tech like?

This base model has an 8-inch screen which is small compared to the 10.25 inches you'll find on higher specs, but it is housed in a shiny black, large rectangular frame which makes it look bigger than it is. It's got Apple Carplay and Android Auto which is connected via Bluetooth, while the more expensive Tucson Elite and Highlander ironically require connection with a USB cable.

I always find it a bit tricky to connect via Bluetooth in Hyundais but have recently got a new iPhone 12 and it connected straightaway. It would  be a good idea to see how your phone connects in the dealership before buying.

This base model has an 8-inch screen which is small compared to the 10.25 inches you’ll find on higher specs. (image: Dean McCartney) This base model has an 8-inch screen which is small compared to the 10.25 inches you’ll find on higher specs. (image: Dean McCartney)

How spacious is it?

The proportions of the Tucson suit a family of four quite well and we were comfortable in there all week. There's a good amount of space in the front with generous leg and head room even for taller passengers.

  • The boot is a large 539L (VDA). (image: Dean McCartney) The boot is a large 539L (VDA). (image: Dean McCartney)
  • It fits a double pram or large suitcases. (image: Dean McCartney) It fits a double pram or large suitcases. (image: Dean McCartney)

The rear seats are wide enough for three child seats across if you really want to fit them, depending on your carseats, I did it with three booster seats but struggled to get in two boosters and a baby capsule so it will really depend on your seating combination needs. This also means three adults can fit in the back if you need. Headspace and legspace in rear seats is good, I could easily fit in there at 161cm and there was enough space between my knees and the seats in front that taller adults and teenagers won't have trouble fitting either.

The boot is a large 539L (VDA) and fits a double pram or large suitcases, you'll get sporting equipment in there and groceries plus schoolbags. It's slightly smaller than a RAV4 and slightly larger than a Honda CR-V.

Headspace and legspace in rear seats is good. (image: Dean McCartney) Headspace and legspace in rear seats is good. (image: Dean McCartney)

How does it drive?

The driving is decent in the base model Tucson. This version has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and it actually has less power than the last version which is surprising. It's a good car but nothing to write home about, though it does now adhere to Hyundai's global approach to cars which means - amongst other, probably more important things - the blinkers are on the left instead of the right, and the suspension hasn't been tuned for Australian roads so bounces around a little over our bumpy roads.

The driving is decent in the base model Tucson. (image: Dean McCartney) The driving is decent in the base model Tucson. (image: Dean McCartney)

I also found it struggled to get up hills quickly, and other cars could easily overtake. Driving along highways is fine but don't try to zoom ahead and think you can overtake with ease, it just doesn't have the power to guarantee you'll get there. This model is a two-wheel drive though it did well on the road in the rain this week.

The steering is fine though it's a large turning circle for this size car, 11.8m which means more three-point-turns than U-turns. Parking is fine once you're in with a decent reverse parking camera during the day, but at night the screen is quite fuzzy and low res.

This version has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and it actually has less power than the last version. (image: Dean McCartney) This version has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and it actually has less power than the last version. (image: Dean McCartney)

How easy is it to use every day?

The front seats in this base model are power adjustable, and the tailgate is manually operated. Remote entry is via the buttons on the key fob rather than proximity sensors.

Inside this cheapest version of the new Tucson looks good. (image: Dean McCartney) Inside this cheapest version of the new Tucson looks good. (image: Dean McCartney)

For storage there are two cupholders in the front and a decent sized centre storage bin. There's a space for keys and a phone which also houses a wireless charger.

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest and directional airvents. There are two USB ports in the front, two in the back, and a 12V outlet in the front.

The actual design of the dash and doors is fresh and modern with a curve around the front. (image: Dean McCartney) The actual design of the dash and doors is fresh and modern with a curve around the front. (image: Dean McCartney)

How safe is it?

Airbags cover the driver and front passenger, there's a centre airbag in the front and then side curtain airbags that extend to the back row.

For advanced safety you'll get auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot collision avoidance, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.

You'll find two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fit kids car seats in safely. This new Tucson hasn't been ANCAP tested yet but it covers all criteria so should score very well.

How much does it cost to own?

This base version of the Hyundai Tucson costs $34,500 before on road costs. The official fuel consumption combined figure is 8.1L/100km and I averaged 8.8L/100km over a week of driving mostly in suburbia.

It's covered by Hyundai's five year/unlimited km warranty and servicing is required every 12 months/15,000kms with services capped so the cost is averaged out at $319 per service for the first five years/75,000kms. You also get 10 years of roadside assist if you service with Hyundai.

This base version of the Hyundai Tucson costs $34,500 before on road costs. (image: Dean McCartney) This base version of the Hyundai Tucson costs $34,500 before on road costs. (image: Dean McCartney)


The Wrap

I really like the exterior design of this new Tucson, and the inside was stylish too. There was plenty of interior space and boot space for my family of four and the tech worked well for me, plus it has good safety. I did think it could do with a bit more power to speed up hills and so I could feel confident about overtaking, and I also would love to see a hybrid or electric variant on offer in the range.

I gave it a family rating of 7.6 out of 10 and my kids gave it the same, they liked having enough space for three to fit comfortably in the back seat.

Likes

Exterior design
Interior design
Comprehensive Safety

Dislikes

Not much power on hills/when overtaking
No hybrid/electric variant

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

3.8

$32,140

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.