Hyundai Tucson II long term: swap meeting
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Hyundai Tucson II 2.0 Elite 2WD
- Good all-rounder
- Solid medium SUV
- Looks like higher-spec models
- Petrol is soft performer
- Economy suffers from lack of power
- No adaptive cruise
Total Eclipse of the Heart. That’s what I think of every time I turn off the Tucson, with a little tune playing. The tune could quite easily lead into the 1983 song by Bonnie Tyler, at least in my ears.
It was one of the first things I noticed when we swapped over our blue Tucson II for a new silver one. And I mean “new”.
We always get new cars through the DRIVEN garage, but only a few times a year do we get a ‘brand new’ car, and with just 80km on the odometer, we welcomed into our fold the 2020 Hyundai Tucson II 2.0 auto Elite. And like anyone picking up their new car for the first time, we’re just as excited to be the first.
We had two months with our blue Hyundai Tucson II Limited AWD diesel, and found it’s easy to like it, particularly this top-spec model.
We welcomed the Tucson just after our exit from our big lockdown in early June, and put it straight into duty – as many SUVs would – carting the family around, moving some light loads and trailers, typical SUVing stuff. And it endeared itself to us almost immediately.
It even managed to set a new Bronco Test record beating rugby player Beauden Barrett and runner Sam Tanner.
But the thorn in the side is the price: at $63,990, that’s a large pill to swallow for any medium/large-sized five-seat SUV, and one with a Hyundai badge that’s looked down upon by some. Not us, just some.
Luckily there’s plenty of choice in the Tucson range, and with both diesel and normally aspirated or 2.0 petrol or 1.6 turbo engines to choose from, plus front- or all-wheel drive, Hyundai offers eight key models, starting at $39,990 for the 2.0 petrol 2WD auto, with two 2.0 models, three 1.6 turbo, and three levels of 2.0 diesels.
And that’s where we’ve found ourselves, from the first class of the Limited diesel, to the – let’s call it “premium economy” of the 2.0 petrol Elite, one ladder up the $40k entry level, at $45,990.
It’s always interesting to see where the dirt, grime and grunge builds up and so it was, around switchgear and buttons. All normal life SUV stuff.
At first glance, when swapping the cars over, there isn’t a lot to differentiate the two models we’ve driven, with the same 19-inch wheels.
Inside, it takes a moment to absorb what’s missing on the almost-entry level model. The $45,990 2.0 Elite misses out on the around-view cameras, the active cruise control, power tailgate and the cooled seats. They’re still heated, though, and standard cruise is fine for all but those in regular slow-n-go traffic.
The touchscreen is slightly smaller, but with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, not an issue, and there isn’t the panoramic sunroof, but there’s still the Isofix mounting points in the rear. So even with a baby seat and a booster seat, even in my 189cm driving position, there’s still decent room for Oscar to kick the back of the seat (in his socks) without me feeling it.
The 2.0 petrol engine is best driven before trialling the others in the range: it’s easily the mildest, as the entry level price often dictates. With 114kW and 192Nm, matched with a kerb weight of 1620kg, the performance could be politely described modest. At 10.7 seconds to 0-100km/h, it’s almost a second slower than the diesel, and it feels it, needing a few revs to get some decent pace on board. We tried getting better acceleration times by loading the throttle against the brake, but it’s actually faster to simply mash the gas and go, Sport mode or not.
The offset should be economy, of course, but with a claim of 7.9l/100km, we’ve found that due to the often-required vigorous stirring, it sits around 10.0l/100km in real world use.
Personally speaking, the main quirk that would push me up the spec level ladder in the Tucson range is radar cruise control, which comes on the mid-spec Tucson 1.6 Turbo Elite at $53,990. The keyless entry is good, but needs a tap of the button rather than just grabbing the handle. I know, big issues…
So we’ll pass around the Tucson 2.0 petrol 2WD to a few different DRIVEN drivers, to see what they think of the Tucson II 2.0 auto Elite over the coming weeks, to see if the one-up-from-base model grows on us.
HYUNDAI TUCSON II 2.0 2WD ELITE
0-100: 10.7 secs
Pros: Good all-round, solid SUV, looks like higher spec models
Cons: Petrol is soft performer, and economy suffers