We take delivery of our  bright blue (Hyundai calls it Aqua, but it's way more eye-piercing and electric than any water I've ever seen. Besides, water is largely free - this paint will cost you $595...) Tucson at the busiest possible time in Australia.

Christmas is right around the corner, then New Year's Eve, and there's a smattering of beach holidays surrounding both. We're talking family visits, freeway slogs, cars filled to bursting. There's no more challenging time for a vehicle in the Chesto household. 

And so there wasn't much in the way of getting-to-know-you time with our newest long-term test vehicle, with the Tucson Active X immediately put to work, swallowing bags, parcels and Christmas presents before heading for the freeway in search of beach bliss.

It's here, happily devouring highway kilometres, the car stuffed with food, bags, presents and Australia's most spoiled dog - Poppy the Corgi - that the key  selling point of this Tucson becomes pretty obvious. 

"Get in, there's no time to explain!" "Get in, there's no time to explain!"

Above all else, it's easy. Easy to drive, easy to fit lots into, easy to see out of (even when full) and easy to park. In an increasingly complex world, the Tucson reduces almost every drive experience to the absolute basics. Simply point and shoot.

Let me give you an example. Picture a holiday house on the NSW Central Coast. The driveway is one of those steep, narrow types, and so if more than one vehicle is parked out the front of the house, the easiest option is the climb into the one closest to the exit, otherwise much vehicles juggling is required. 

Two vehicles were parked in said driveway. One was the Tucson Active X. The other, which shall remain nameless for the moment, was a German brand's attempt at a sporty SUV - one that cost a hell of a lot more than the humble Tucson. 

And yet when the German one was parked closest to the exit, we inevitably opted for a complicated car juggle so we could take the Hyundai instead. Sure, the Germanic one is more expensive, and faster, and has better seats and cabin tech. But it was also uncomfortably firm, difficult to see out of and park and an altogether more draining drive experience on anything that isn't a twisting road or racetrack.

The Tucson, on the other hand, was like a well-worn pair of slippers. Easy, comfortable, predictable.

The Active X we're living with occupies the second rung on the Tucson ladder. Below it sits only the entry-level Active ($28,990), and above it lives the Elite (a considerable jump to $42,031), and the top-spec Highlander ($51,007). 

The Active X, then, occupies the happy middle ground between cheap and expensive, arriving at $33,990 (drive-away) wth a petrol engine and an automatic gearbox

That money buys you 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights and LED DRLs outside, while inside you'll find leather-trimmed seats, an 8.0-inch touchscreen (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) that pairs with an eight-speaker Infinity stereo and a digital interface behind the steering wheel. 

The engine delivers 122kW and 205Nm, and will happily drink cheaper 91RON fuel, with Hyundai claiming combined fuel use of 7.9L/100km

  • Outside, the Active X scores fog lights and LED DRLs. Outside, the Active X scores fog lights and LED DRLs.
  • Our long termer is equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels. Our long termer is equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels.
  • The 2.0-litre four cylinder engine makes 122kW/205Nm. The 2.0-litre four cylinder engine makes 122kW/205Nm.
  • Inside, the Active X comes with a 8.0-inch touchscreen. Inside, the Active X comes with a 8.0-inch touchscreen.

The truth, as always, is just a little different. We've averaged 10.6km/100km over our first 1000km of driving - a fairly marginal increase, and one that's made more palatable by the Tucson's penchant for cheap fuel. 

That's not to say life has been entirely stress-free with the Tucson, with the top-selling Hyundai serving up some quirks that are taking some time to get used to.

For one, the lack of proximity unlocking is outrageously annoying. The Tucson just happened to arrive at a point where my arms were almost always filled with presents or food or both, and so trying to free the key from my pocket required much Cirque du Soleil antics. 

But the biggest issue is the cruise control function. Kudos to Hyundai for including one, but the system fitted to the Tucson can only maintain speed going up hill, not down it, which means you're at serious risk of a speeding fine should you encounter a long downhill run on your journey. 

Still, the Tucson has fitted nicely into our family life over its first four weeks. But that month has mostly been filled with long, freeway-based trips. Will that change once we get back to urban life? I'll let you know.

Acquired: December 2020

Distance travelled this month: 1295km

Odometer: 1496km

Average fuel consumption for month: 10.6L/100km