What is it?
The Tucson has been a mainstay of the Hyundai line-up since 2004, steadily growing in popularity to become the marque’s best-selling model in the UK. It’s therefore not hard to see why, despite the emergence of the new all-electric Ioniq sub-brand, Hyundai still has big plans for its traditional family hauler, particularly for fleet drivers with an eye on BIK rates.
That’s where this new plug-in hybrid variant comes in, because a radical design overhaul – including the unmissable grille, with its integrated LED lighting – is not the only big development for the fourth-generation Tucson. The PHEV technology means this crossover now offers the broadest array of powertrains anywhere in the Korean giant’s line-up, and pairs Hyundai’s 1.6-litre GDi four-cylinder turbo petrol engine with a 90bhp electric motor annexed to the car’s six-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive is also standard, and in total the range-topping Tucson produces a gutsy 261bhp and 258 lb ft.
Naturally, it’s also a heavy beast, the lithium-ion drive battery that resides beneath the rear seats helping bring kerb weight to 1924kg, making the car around half-a-tonne heavier than the standard petrol model. In terms of straight-line performance, the Tucson PHEV pays the price for this, with a 0-62mph time of 8.6sec compared to the 7.7sec of its 227bhp full-hybrid sibling. It’s also beaten by the 241bhp Tiguan eHybrid, which manages a claimed 7.5sec. The Tucson’s electric driving range of 31 miles is also only modest, matching the Tiguan to the mile, but easily surpassed by the Toyota RAV4 PHEV’s class-leading 46 miles.
Our test model is in top-rung Ultimate specification, which is equipped with 19in alloy wheels, an impressive haul of safety assist systems, a panoramic sunroof and electric seats. It also benefited from the optional Tech Pack, which adds multi-mode dampers, park assist, blind spot camera and collision assist, as well as an electric tailgate which gives way to a practical 558-litre boot, ahead of the Tiguan eHybrid, which makes do with a smaller 476-litre space thanks to the relocation of its fuel tank.
What’s it like?
Inside, the Tucson begins to flex its muscles. It’s a prime example of how new-era Hyundai models now give drivers a premium experience. Soft plastics and fabrics adorn the dashboard and doors, mixed with metal trim surrounding the air conditioning vents. The model features a 10.25in touchscreen unit with sat nav, which is simple to use with good screen resolution at a reachable angle for the driver and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included. The driver’s display is also digital, matching the central screen’s 10.25in size, and in the PHEV can be used to display a useful energy-flow graphic, showing when the petrol unit, EV motor and brake regeneration function are being called upon. This display also highlights the car’s coasting feature, which prompts you to take your foot off the accelerator and allow the engine to shut off when approaching junctions, or upcoming traffic. Interior buttons are also well positioned, though many of the traditional switches and controls have been replaced with touch-sensitive controls, which can be fiddly to use on the move.