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Hyundai Tucson diesel AWD tested: clever tech at a price

Increasingly sophisticated technology is becoming available on mainstream family vehicles, keeping a watchful eye on our most precious cargo.

Hyundai’s new Tucson is bigger and better than before, but the price has risen accordingly.

Here are the things you need to know about the latest model.

VALUE

The cheapest Hyundai Tucson is priced at about $38,000 drive-away when equipped with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and front-wheel drive.

Stepping up to Elite grade adds about $5000 and the Highlander costs a further $6000. Adding a turbocharged petrol engine coupled with all-wheel drive adds about $4000 and a diesel AWD version adds another $2000.

We tested the mid-tier Tucson Elite Diesel priced from about $49,400 drive-away, which is about par for the course for a well-equipped diesel medium SUV.

The Tucson features bold styling with plenty of sharp edges and body creases, along with futuristic looking triangle-shaped LED headlights. Big 18-inch alloy wheels help it stand out further in traffic.

The Elite is packed to the gills with standard equipment to justify its price tag.

There is a 10.25-inch central touchscreen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Bluetooth and satnav. A pair of USB points and a wireless charging pad will keep your devices fully juiced.

Hyundai covers its vehicles with a five year/unlimited km warranty. Five years of servicing will set you back a reasonable $1875 or $375 a pop.

COMFORT

Passengers are treated to firm, leather appointed seats. The front pair are heated and the driver’s is electronically adjustable.

Forward vision is excellent thanks to a high seating position and the step up into the cabin isn’t too big.

Back-row passengers are pampered with heated window seats, rear airconditioning vents and two USB charging points.

The cabin is exceptionally roomy with plenty of shoulder, leg and head room for back-seat passengers.

A generous 539-litre boot can easily handle the weekly shop, plus a couple of school or gym bags. The boot space swells to 1860 litres when the second-row seats are folded down.

Well sorted suspension makes for a smooth ride, ironing out most imperfections on pockmarked inner-city streets.

The cabin is well insulated, keeping road noise and tyre roar at bay. Noise from the diesel engine does infiltrate under heavy acceleration.

SAFETY

Hyundai’s level of standard safety equipment is second to none, but some of its alerts can be a bit overbearing and you may grow tired of the intrusive speed, school-zone and red light camera alerts.

The Tucson will automatically brake if it detects a potential collision with a car, pedestrian or cyclist.

It’ll let you know if you are wandering out of your lane and bring you back into line by tugging the steering wheel.

A rear cross-traffic alert will sound when a car is approaching from the side as you reverse. If a collision becomes likely, it will brake automatically.

Kids are protected with an innovative safe-exit warning that will sound an alarm if it detects a car approaching as a door is being opened. And the rear occupant alert will make sure you never leave anyone behind in the back seat.

DRIVING

Power comes from a grunty 2.0-litre turbodiesel unit that makes 137kW and 416Nm.

A wealth of torque makes the Tucson feel peppy off the mark, while steep hills and overtaking manoeuvres are comfortably dispatched.

The eight-speed automatic transmission works seamlessly, making the most of the engine’s generous reserves.

As with most SUVs, the Tucson is compromised through corners. It tends to lean when charging direction thanks to its higher ride height.

It’s no performance car but performs its family hauling and city commute duties well.

Fuel use is rated at 6.3L/100km, which is excellent for a big machine, but we experienced about 7L/100km on our test in a mix of driving conditions.

ALTERNATIVES

Kia Sportage SX Plus AWD Diesel, from $49,990 drive-away

Mechanically the same, but has a tech-heavy interior and a longer seven-year warranty.

Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD Diesel, from about $48,900 drive-away

Luxuriously appointed inside, with a more powerful diesel engine. Some tech features are missing.

Toyota RAV4 XSE AWD Hybrid, from about $51,400 drive-away

The benchmark mid-sized SUV is impressively fuel-efficient but in short supply.

VERDICT

Three and a half stars

A quality all-rounder with plenty of safety and comfort features, albeit with a price premium.

VITALS

Hyundai Tucson Elite Diesel

PRICE About $49,400 drive-away

ENGINE 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel four-cylinder, 137kW/416Nm

WARRANTY/SERVICING Five-year/unlimited km, $1875 over five years.

SAFETY Auto emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, 360-degree camera, safe exit warning and rear occupant alert.

THIRST 6.3L/100km

SPARE Full size

CARGO 539 litres



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