Long term Hyundai Tucson Limited: step inside the comfort zone
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HYUNDAI TUCSON II CRDI AWD LIMITED
- Comfortable and good features
- Fuel economy
- Sub-$40k starting price for Tucson
- High price of our top-spec Limited
- Does it look too subtle for a $64k SUV?
- Lots of rivals in a crowded segment
We often read about the need to step out of our comfort zones, to push the boundaries, to challenge ourselves.
Not so with Hyundai’s revamped Tucson. This is all about stepping inside a comfort zone.
Heated seats are always a nice touch, but not unusual. A heated steering wheel? That is a bit unusual, but something that we could become quite used to.
Read More: Welcome to our long-term Tucson
Leather upholstery and leather steering wheel: tick. Cabin quietness, floating touchscreen audio system, all the latest safety features? Tick, tick, tick.
We collected the AWD diesel SUV in Auckland’s CBD for 10 days of motoring, including a weekend in the Bay of Islands and Far North, before taking it to Waiheke Island.
We needed to park the Tucson on an Auckland street for a night before our trip north. While the smooth lines are easy on the eye, they don’t scream “look at me, I’m a really expensive car” to make it a potential coining target. The auto-folding outside mirrors reduce the chance of nudge marks from someone driving past too closely.
The subtle exterior aesthetics mean the real luxury is saved for the interior with the leather seats, the floating touchscreen and the panoramic sunroof (with powered blind) that can be opened up for fresh air or stargazing if needed. Those heated seats can also be ventilated, as we found out inadvertently on a chilly morning when we pushed the wrong button.
Another feature we discover accidentally is the wireless charging pad in the centre console, when I happen to pop my iPhone in that area. For backseat passengers, there is a USB charging port in the rear centre console.
Driving for hours at a stretch, the 10-way adjustable power driver’s seat settings can be fine-tuned for personal comfort zones. I’m 1.65m tall, but a friend in the Far North whose lofty height is just under 1.98cm tried the seat to see if it would accommodate his frame.
Seat back as far as possible and way down low, he fitted… which doesn’t always happen in vehicles, he says. He still thinks he would upsize to the Tucson’s bigger sibling though, the Santa Fe, for ultimate comfort.
The task of driving is almost too easy with this eight-speed automatic gearbox and safety features such as cruise control, lane assist, and automatic wipers and lights, as we travel from Auckland to Whangarei, stopping for lunch and checking out hardware stores.
Through the Bay of Islands and Kerikeri, patience is needed as we follow campervans travelling in convoy at 80km/h. At last a passing lane has them fading into the distance in our rear-vision mirrors, and we enjoy the change of scenery as we get close to our destination near Doubtless Bay.
We later read (but thankfully don’t need) about the Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist combining radar and camera data, to autonomously activate the brakes should a car in front brake suddenly or a pedestrian suddenly step on the road. The closest we come to that is a rural traffic jam of cows crossing the road at milking time.
When reversing, a whole new world opens up with the Surround View Monitor. Now, I am the first to admit my backing skills are lacking. So, the reversing camera that provides us with a 360-degree view of the car, thanks to individual cameras around the vehicle plus a bird's eye from above, almost makes me look like a pro. Still, I can’t resist twisting to look backwards to ensure there’s nothing behind us that the screen doesn’t show.
A day later, the Tucson is on the ferry to Waiheke Island from Halfmoon Bay, making easy work of getting on and off the boat ramp, and coping with the dubious quality of Waiheke’s road surfaces.
The grandkids (and their parents) arrive for a visit and we take the AWD to the less-populated “bottom end” of the island to visit the area around the Stoney Batter Historic Reserve defence tunnels dating back to WWII.
The tunnels have been closed for a few years but we still enjoy the walk, the views over the Hauraki, and the kids clamber over the large moss-covered rocks. The Tucson’s suspension smoothes out the potholed gravel roads until they feel as if they have been freshly graded. Not once on our trips do we feel the two-litre turbo-diesel engine labouring.
At the supermarket on the way home, we park away from other cars to avoid any third -party scratches, only to come back and see some strange law of magnetism has attracted people to park right beside the Tucson.
I’m gutted when on my penultimate day with the Tucson I pop into a café by the beach at Onetangi and return to find a departed fellow parker has left a scratch on the paint surface of the door behind the driver’s door. It will buff out, I’m told; but it’s not a nice souvenir.
We wash the car because we know once it’s back on the mainland in Auckland, that will be out of the question with water restrictions. And we take immense care in vacuuming the Tucson so it’s in better condition than when we took over our brief guardianship.
A return boat trip, an easy run through the city streets and it’s time to hand the Tucson back.