Second report: Big on the inside, comfy and well-equipped, the Tucson is a relaxing and easy car to get along with.
The new Tucson is an SUV that has elevated Hyundai into a higher league, and this is evident as soon as you spend some time in the car. Areas that immediately stand out are the build quality of the cabin, the superb blend of materials, the space and comfort on the inside and a great selection of new tech.
What also shines through, even over the span of a short city drive, are refinement and sophistication. The manner in which the Tucson shuts the world outside and reduces road noise in the cabin on my regular commute to the office is particularly pleasing.
Also amping up the ‘luxury’ quotient are the materials used on the dash and the nicely executed metallic highlights, and then there’s the width of the cabin and the space available on the second row. The fact that you have the luxury of space is particularly evident on a long weekend outside the city. The boot swallows all our luggage effortlessly, with room to spare, and the large 54-litre fuel tank means we can go all the way to Mulshi, onwards to Pune and then back without having to refuel. It’s so comfortable on a long drive, that we get out of the Tucson still feeling fresh.
The drive experience itself, however, isn’t as impressive. The gearbox is slow to respond and often engages suddenly, performance is just average, and what really gets you is that fuel economy can plummet if you try and extract some more performance – 8.6kpl is what I average in the city. And that’s without squeezing the right pedal too hard. What’s worse, Eco mode is too restrictive and Normal is too reactive, so you are sort of stuck in no man’s land. The steering is linear and has no sudden steps in it, like some Hyundais in the past, but the ride isn’t as comfortable as it should be on a car of this size and spec. It does take regular blemishes and bumps pretty well but easily gets upset by deeper and larger holes.
I do like having the ADAS on though. Yes, driving it through small lanes with bikers and pedestrians criss-crossing close to the car means you have to turn off the automatic braking (that feels like you’ve hit a wall when it engages). And you have to go into a menu and do it manually every time you start the car. Still, the myriad of other ADAS features like the semi-autonomous adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist, warning beeps when someone is crossing, and others work really well. In fact, what’s really cool is that I manage the entire length of the expressway on the semi-autonomous cruise control, only nudging the steering wheel when required. It’s pretty cool and relaxing like monitoring things like a pilot, with the Tucson managing all but the tightest corners and some poorly lined sections with ease. The most impressive bit though is how the adaptive cruise control maintains its distance with the car in front and either speeds up or slows down effectively.