Hyundai Tucson 48V – Refreshingly grown up
Hyundai’s road to fandom has been silent, but noticeable. Once a lower tier producer of cheap and accessible cars. Now, a car company with a wide arrange of models, sizes and performance. Everything from the nail bitingly good I30n to the all-electric long range Kona electric. Hyundai has almost everything to suit your needs. Except one, well the Tucson has always been a solid choice. But the lack of clarity from the company regarding what the Tucson is, is not only a matter of existential crisis, but also the reason for me adding the mid-2000s Tucson to the bad looking cars naughty list. Well, a lot has changed. So let’s dive into the new Tucson.
Some may say that it looks sportingly understated, some might say that it is boringly German. Whatever people may say, bad or not. Even the notion that it might be too German. That is not bad in any way. For a Korean manufacturer to be called a German car. Is not that the praise of the highest order? Big grille, big front lights but still keeping everything tidy and restrained. Is it boring at some angles? Maybe. Is it a good looking car? I think so. Ugly wheels drive down the score a bit though.
The interior is miles ahead compared to the competition in the price class. What many people might seem to forget is that the Tucson starts at just under20 thousand euros in Sweden (over 30 thousand with the hybrid version). A sense of quality and design throughout is not only now becoming a standard in the new models from Hyundai, it can be noticed inside the Tucson as well. Simple and user friendly. Lots of space and I have no problem with the analog gauge cluster. The information from the middle screen and a screen jammed in between the two gauges gives enough information.
What does the 48V mean? It is a fair question, and has to do with the electric power pack underneath. Hyundai paired a diesel with an electric engine, an odd choice but hats of for offering a hybrid, to give a mild hybrid solution. You don’t charge the car with an electric cord. Rather, the electric engine is there to help during acceleration and during high loads for the diesel engine, and for the most part. It works. A completely acceptable average of 6 L/100 km during mixed driving is not bad for a car this size and weight.
A recurring segment will be the fun factor. This factor will differ very much depending on the car, but in short. This is what the fun factor means. The car must offer some form of “fun driving”. It doesn’t have to be fast and it most certainly does not have to feel like a race car, but when you have to go a bit faster on the highway or take the exit before to go on that road you like. IT should not feel like a bag of jelly. For the Tucson, I am happy to say that it gets a C+. The shocks are stiff enough to give some feeling of control, and the tires are actually quite sporty. It feels somewhat capable for the type of car it is and the type of customer it is trying to convince. Numb steering dials back the fun scale a bit and the shocks can sometimes be a bit too stiff, but nothing that should scare you away.
The Hyundai Tucson is a great all-rounder in all aspects. The diesel hybrid system is however questionable and the very small electric engine and battery is evident, or in reality nonexistent. An accomplishment of how well the hybrid system is implemented with the driveline.
Hyundai has produced a real contender for the SUV segment and with an attractive price and an easy to digest exterior it is no wonder that it is popping up everywhere. People are criticizing the car for being too mainstream and for having an all-round lack of flair, and in both some ways and many ways I understand the criticism, but there is no denying that the Tucson is a solid car.