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Hyundai Tucson 2021 review: Elite petrol auto

The Tucson is easily recognisable as part of the Hyundai family

The Hyundai Tucson has been a sturdy soldier for the Korean car manufacturer, muscling its way to the front end of the line in an SUV segment that is chock full of capable competitors.

As the new-car market, buoyed by government incentives, flirts with leaving behind a COVID-related slump with strong June and July figures, the Tucson remains a firm favourite with Australian families.

We put the 2.0-litre petrol Elite to the family test. 

The 2.0-litre petrol Elite is put to the family test.  The 2.0-litre petrol Elite is put to the family test. 

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✅ What does it look like?

The mid-sized SUV is easily recognisable as part of the Hyundai family with a trademark grille, proud lines and confident stance.

While it's hard to find an SUV that sets the heart aflutter, this one is pretty easy to look at and won’t shame you no matter the gathering. Unless of course the gathering is a black tie affair at the Monte Carlo Casino… but you get my drift.

The Hyundai trademark grille, proud lines and confident stance are easily recognisable. The Hyundai trademark grille, proud lines and confident stance are easily recognisable.

That theme continues on the inside where well finished leather seats, funky speakers and chrome highlights give a nod to style within an otherwise demure cabin.

Plastics are mostly soft to the touch and don’t mark easily which is a bonus, while switchgear and air vents are simple but serviceable.

✅ How does it drive?

The Tucson offers a comfortable relaxed drive with relative smoothness over bumps and irregularities. This softness doesn’t impact too much on sharpness around corners where the Tucson leans to competence rather than sportiness, but is capable nevertheless.

It feels easy to manoeuvre, nimble in tight spots and confident on highways when given room to stretch.

The 2.0-litre petrol engine (136kW/205Nm) is an able unit although it can feel sluggish up hills or if you want to make a quick start.

The Tucson has a nicely shaped driver’s seat with electronic controls. The Tucson has a nicely shaped driver’s seat with electronic controls.

A nicely shaped driver’s seat with electronic controls makes it easy to find an ideal position, helped of course by a steering wheel that is adjustable for both reach and rake.  

While all-round visibility is good, a thick front pillar can sometimes create a blind spot when turning, but you can compensate for that.

A full suite of active safety aids including a good reverse camera and blind spot warning bring that added confidence especially with the littlies ensconced in the back seat.

✅ How spacious is it?

The Tucson may be a touch shorter than rivals such as the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 but it is barely noticeable in practice. The interior is roomy and comfortable with five adults able to travel with some ease.

The back seat is accommodating for kids – in or out of an ISOFIX car seat – with large door openings for easy entry and exit and large door handles to help them haul themselves up.

The back seat is accommodating for kids. The back seat is accommodating for kids.

At 488 litres the boot can cope well with busy family life. It will hold a pram and the school bags and a decent family shop, too, provided of course you don’t opt for the 48-toilet roll pack at the same time.

At 488 litres this boot copes well with family life. At 488 litres this boot copes well with family life.

That space almost triples when you drop the 60/40 split-folding second row. It doesn’t quite fold flat but proved useful for us in transporting a couple of boxes to St Vinnies.

There are two shopping bag hooks and four tie-down anchors if you need them and a full sized spare under the boot floor.

Space almost triples when you drop the second row. Space almost triples when you drop the second row.

✅ How easy is it to use every day?

The Tucson fits seamlessly into family life, its well laid out interior and useful features making school drop-off and the ride to and from activities a little bit easier.

The console is positioned to benefit the driver with buttons and dials close to hand. I liked the simplicity of the dash and the fact that there are actual dials for climate control which makes it much easier to change on the move.

Steering wheel controls feel robust and it's always nice when you can turn up the music or make a call without taking your hands off the wheel.

Steering wheel controls feel robust. Steering wheel controls feel robust.

There are a couple of adjustable cupholders up front, room for your phone as well as deep door bins and some storage in the centre cubby. The visor pull-out extensions are handy, especially when driving towards the rising sun.

Rear seat passengers get cupholders in the centre armrest, bottle holders in the doors, climate control vents and pockets on the back of the front seats to store all those bits and pieces.

The rear seats can recline, too, which means the kiddies don’t have to sit up ramrod straight and adds to the comfort levels.

✅ How safe is it?

This Hyundai model received a maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2016 and in addition to blind-spot warning comes with safety features like adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning (8.0-180km/h) rear cross-traffic alert (super useful in the supermarket car park) and Autonomous Emergency Braking which works at speeds between 8.0km/h and 80km/h, and can detect pedestrians.

There are six airbags – two upfront, side and curtain – as well as a reverse camera and parking sensors, two ISOFIX points and three top-tether points.

This Hyundai model received a maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2016. This Hyundai model received a maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2016.

✅ What’s the tech like?

The 8.0-inch touchscreen fronts a multimedia system that is intuitive to use. The graphics are a bit dated but the system itself is easy to navigate with quick to load, accurate satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto if you prefer the familiarity of your phone screen.

Featuring an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Featuring an 8.0-inch touchscreen.

Bluetooth connectivity is good. It takes a few seconds to re-engage when you start the car, but the sound is clear on both ends. Digital radio and an Infinity eight-speaker audio system are great partners if morning karaoke takes your fancy.

✅ How much does it cost to own?

The 2.0-lite six-speed Elite starts at $37,850 (plus on roads) and comes with Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

The Tucson comes with Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. The Tucson comes with Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Service intervals are 12 months or 15,000km with capped price servicing available over five years.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.8L/100km although we averaged around 9.8L/100km in our test week which comprised long highway drives and suburban dashes.
 


The Wrap

The Tucson continues to be a great performer for Hyundai in a crowded SUV segment and after a week back in the driving seat it is not hard to see why. Families need uncomplicated, things that do what they say on the box in way that causes absolutely no fuss. And the Tucson definitely ticks that box. It is spacious and comfortable with good on-road manners, a great safety package and peace-of-mind warranty.

Likes

Spacious interior
Safety package
Family-friendly inclusions

Dislikes

Sometimes sluggish performance
Demure interior
Thick front pillars

Scores

Vani:

3.5

The Kids:

3.5

$37,850

Based on new car retail price