Hyundai Tucson Active X 2018 review

Stylish and really hot right now, it will get you around in comfort and class.

Nedahl Stelio

20 Dec 2017 • 11 min read

We moved into our new house two years ago now, and you know how you do a big wardrobe clean-out every time you move? Well, there have been seven garbage bags full of clothes, toys and books sitting in the garage since we moved in, waiting for me to do a market stall. My husband was stoked (not). But this was the week folks! I was finally doing my market stall.

I had earmarked the Hyundai Tucson for the job - it’s a five seater, classic family SUV, and exactly the kind of car lots of parents would be driving if they too needed to ship big loads to the markets. I was driving the Active X which is second from the bottom in a range of four trim levels. So, how did the Tucson go both as a family car and a workhorse?

How does it drive?

It’s Quiet. Yes, with a capital Q. It’s also smooth and glides along the road easily and swiftly. There’s no heavy feeling, nothing stiff going on, no weight pulling you down as you’re trying to move forward. It feels really lovely to drive.

The steering is responsive and it does what it promises. It doesn’t take much at all to turn the car, which is partly thanks to the small turning circle - it’s only 10.6 whereas in the Mazda CX-5, the turning circle is 11.2.

The small turning circle makes it much easier to fit into super tight parks. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The small turning circle makes it much easier to fit into super tight parks. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

When your driving path takes you from ballet and back to soccer and back to school and back and you are constantly looking for parks, turning circles make a big impact on your day to day. But this is a breeze.

The small turning circle makes it much easier to fit into super tight parks (our cameraman thought I had been parked into a spot but I proudly told him that I had managed to park myself in that tiny space!) and if this is your first SUV after up-sizing from a hatch, you will appreciate that.

The 2.0-litre petrol engine is enough to get me up the hill near my house (I test all cars on) quite easily, I’m not left in the slow lane. It was raining this week though, and the wheels did skid slightly on take-off, from a standing start at the lights. That’s because the Tucson Active X is a 2WD. There are 4WD Tucsons in the range, if that is something that’s going to bug you.

The Tucson Active X is a 2WD. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The Tucson Active X is a 2WD. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

I feel good in this car, it has a good height on the road so I feel like I’m above most cars. It’s not the Taj Mahal of cars, but it’s not the Holiday Inn either.

How spacious is it?

Inside, the cabin is light, airy and spacious. My 185cm (6'1") husband has plenty of legroom, and my children (aged four and six) also have enough room in the back when they’re sitting behind him. There’s enough distance between them to stave off petty arguments and they were totally comfortable in the back seat.

But the big question was whether the boot would fit all of the things I was taking to sell at the markets, and I can happily report that it did. All the garbage bags plus old bikes were shoved into that boot space with room to spare.

  • My 185cm husband has plenty of legroom, as do my children behind. (image credit: Dean McCartney) My 185cm husband has plenty of legroom, as do my children behind. (image credit: Dean McCartney)
  • There’s enough distance between the kids in the back to stave off petty arguments. (image credit: Dean McCartney) There’s enough distance between the kids in the back to stave off petty arguments. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

It’s not enormous - it’s bigger than the Mazda CX-5’s, but a whole suitcase size smaller than the Toyota RAV4’s (which is huge for its class) - but there was enough space, and that’s really all that matters. So it will definitely suffice for everyday, with prams or double prams, loads of space for shopping and moving, or just when you need to transport things.

How easy is it to use everyday?

There are a lot of things going for this car, practicality wise. It’s not super high off the ground, so the kids can climb in and out, and the boot is also a good height so you don’t have to really lift the groceries up and ruin your back.

There are four cupholders, two in the front and two in the back, and four bottle holders, one in each door. There’s nothing particularly exceptional about the storage, with a spot to throw your keys and phone in the front, an average sized centre storage bin, and envelopes on the back of the front seat that your kids will no doubt use to store books and toys. All fairly standard.

  • There are four cupholders, two in the front and two in the back, and four bottle holders, one in each door. (image credit: Dean McCartney) There are four cupholders, two in the front and two in the back, and four bottle holders, one in each door. (image credit: Dean McCartney)
  • The big question was whether the boot would fit all of the things I was taking to sell at the markets. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The big question was whether the boot would fit all of the things I was taking to sell at the markets. (image credit: Dean McCartney)
  • It’s not enormous - it’s bigger than the Mazda CX-5’s, but a whole suitcase size smaller than the Toyota RAV4’s. (image credit: Dean McCartney) It’s not enormous - it’s bigger than the Mazda CX-5’s, but a whole suitcase size smaller than the Toyota RAV4’s. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

One thing I did notice, which I thought might be an issue come summer, is that there are no air vents in the back. Kids get hot in those car seats and I know my children are constantly on at me about windows and air conditioning, so this is a bit of an oversight.

What’s the technology like?

Apple Carplay and Android Auto come standard across the whole Tucson range. It means that when you plug in your phone, icons appear on the 7.0-inch multimedia screen that are exactly the same icons as on your phone. It makes the tech easier to use as everything is instantly recognisable. I can easily swipe to find Spotify and the podcast icon is right there for me to choose.

What does it look like?

It’s one of the better looking SUVs in its class, with sleek headlights and side profile. It’s no sports car, sure, and for some reason I keep going back to shoe analogies, so think of it as a low block heel. Stylish and really hot right now, it will get you around in comfort and class. But it’s no sharp, pointy toed number. Still, for a family car at this price, it’s a slick design.

  • It’s one of the better looking SUVs in its class, with sleek headlights and side profile. (image credit: Dean McCartney) It’s one of the better looking SUVs in its class, with sleek headlights and side profile. (image credit: Dean McCartney)
  • For a family car at this price, it’s a slick design. (image credit: Dean McCartney) For a family car at this price, it’s a slick design. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

There’s nothing remarkably luxe about the interiors, but I don’t feel like it’s lacking in the style stakes either. Everything has been well thought out, the centre console area is great, as is the speedo area. The steering wheel feels nice to touch and is a good size, which I think is really important - bad steering wheels make for a poor daily driving experience and nobody wants that.

The seats are a mix of leather and pleather, though I think in this Active X variant, they are more pleather than leather. Still, they are comfortable and I reckon lightyears ahead of fabric.

How safe is it?

The Tucson has six airbags with the side curtain airbags extending to the backseat. The Active X variant however, is missing Auto Emergency Braking (AEB), and when that now comes standard on its competitors, the Mazda CX-5 and the Toyota RAV4, surely it’s only a matter of time before Hyundai comes to the AEB party.

It also has two ISOFIX points and three top tether points for children’s car seats and rear view camera to help you park.

How much does it cost to run?

The Hyundai Tucson Active X comes in at $32,000. Hyundai claims a fuel efficiency of 7.9L per 100 km, though when CarsGuide’s Peter Anderson ran a test, he couldn’t better 10.5L/100km.

Hyundai offers a fairly comprehensive after-sales agreement which starts with a five-year/unlimited km warranty and roadside assist for the duration, extendible to 10 years.

For a more detailed review, click here.


The Wrap

I think the Hyundai Tucson Active X is great value-for-money. It’s hard to argue with that price, it drives and parks beautifully and it looks and feels good. I gave it 7.5 stars out of 10, taking points off for no AEB and no air vents in the back seat. My girls gave it 7.0 Beanie Boos out of 10. At this stage, they’re docking three points from any car that doesn’t give them a screen in the back!

Would you roadtest the Hyundai Tucson? Let us know in the comments.

Likes

Small turning circle
Interior space

Dislikes

No AEB
No air vents in back

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

3.5

$33,650

Based on new car retail price

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