Family values: Coast FM's Jase Reeves tries our long-term Hyundai Tucson
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Hyundai Tucson II 2.0 Elite 2WD
- Ticks most boxes for the family buyer
- Cabin nicely laid out
- Smooth to drive
- Doesn't stand out among SUV rivals
- Modest power from 2.0l engine
- Isn't very good as an umbrella
A few days ago I was handed the keys to a brand new Hyundai SUV. The brief from the DRIVEN boss was simple: "Tell me what you think from a family point of view".
Now, Dean (the driver behind DRIVEN) is always pretty straight to the point, but even I was wondering - does he mean the point of view from the family of Hyundai SUVs? Or the point of view from my family as a Dad?
As it turns out, it was the latter and I wasn't required to slide in behind the wheel of the Santa Fe or the Kona or the new Nexo or the Venue. But I was going to be lucky enough to test the Tucson. Base model. No leather seats or AWD in this one.
Last year we bought a large seven-seater SUV as our family car. One that comfortably fits my wife and I, our two sons (aged 5 and 7), bikes, scooters, bags, our dog and - when we need to - friends (or Nana and Poppa) in the extra seats.
So while the Tucson is smaller, it's got a lot packed into it. But this isn't one of those "techs and specs" reviews; this is simply an honest opinion as to how I found it in so far as a family wagon.
In a word: likeable. It's smooth to drive, easy to park, it looks smart and it has some really good safety features (vitally important).
It's a really capable "entry level" into the Hyundai SUV range. There is a lot of choice in that range now, and while you do pay for those extra bells and whistles, the Tucson doesn't feel cheap without them.
The interior is comfy (yes, even without leather seats) and the instruments are all well laid out and easy to use.
The in-dash screen is big and you can see what station you're listening to (Coast, naturally). When the reversing camera is on, it's nice and clear.
Again, it's all "likeable" and does what you need it to do as a good-sized family wagon.
Our kids found it easy to clamber in and out of and there was plenty of room once they were fastened into their seats.
One thing I did notice though - no doubt because I'm used to a bigger vehicle – is that when loading a scooter into the boot, the tailgate wasn't quite long enough to provide a decent “roof” to shelter me from the rain.
My wife especially liked the Tucson (and you know how that saying goes about "happy wife ..."), but I personally prefer something a little more "smile inducing" when it comes to vehicles. I like to really enjoy the whole driving experience. I like that feeling of looking forward to going for a drive - whether on a road trip or on one of many Dad errands.
The Tucson is capable, it's nice, it covers the bases, it'll keep you and your most precious cargo safe and it looks fine, but for me it's just not an "exciting" car.
That said though, I'm not entirely sure Hyundai is going for excitement with the base model. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it… except that relatively short tailgate that'll leave you exposed in the rain.