Checking out the new Hyundai Tucson: Short test drive & 1st impressions

The Hyundai Tucson feels very spacious inside and also feels more premium, compared to a few of its rivals.

BHPian sunikkat recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

So went to check out Tucson with 2 dealers. Both mentioned the test drives are available only from Tuesday but somehow managed to get a short but good drive in the 2nd dealership for top-end diesel.

Also managed to get a test drive of C5 and Jeep Meridian. Though Meridian was even a small test drive, due to traffic.

  1. Exterior Looks: Not a fan of the new Tucson's looks. But honestly, in reality, it's not bad as in the pictures. The white colour looked good. Alloys were very disappointing.
  2. Build Quality: The best build quality I have experienced in any Hyundai. For that matter any Asian cars. The door had good heft and closed well and firmly (unlike the new Creta, i20 etc.). In terms of perceived build quality, I would say Tucson is 70 to 80% of Tiguan/Kodiaq/Compass/Meridian/C5 etc.
  3. Interiors: Interiors are good and very minimalistic and I loved that wrap-around dashboard. Good quality with generous use of soft-touch plastics and some fabric element. In comparison, the interiors of C5 looked a segment lower, with so much of hard plastic over the dash. Also after seeing Tucson interiors, the C5 looked very boring. I felt the quality is more or less the same in Tucson and Compass/Meridian. Tiguan though very basic has a slightly better feel to the materials. Kodiaq honestly has the best interior quality and Sportsline black interiors are a class apart for me.
  4. Space: Very spacious. In fact, I felt this is much more spacious than Tiguan and C5. Honestly, Compass interior space is a joke. Even my new i20 is more spacious than Compass. Tucson has a very airy feel.
  5. Engine Response: Good and linear progression, picks up speed quite well. I felt C5 and Tucson be in the same range the way speed was built. Compass felt the slowest of the lot, they really need to spruce up the power of Compass / Meridian. None of them actually felt faster than my Octavia TDI (even in stock condition) - mine is a stage 1 remap now.
  6. Ride: I felt Tucson to have the best ride quality at low speed, even C5 had a slight firm edge. But as speed builds up, C5 had a better ride quality. Tiguan, Compass etc are definitely stiffer
  7. Handling: This is where I was actually disappointed with Tucson. There was a curved ramp to the highway which I took in 60+ and there were a lot of body movements. The suspension is definitely on a softer side. Even C5 had a good body roll and felt more like Tucson in that curve. In the same curve (many months back) Tiguan drove much better. To give a perspective, I normally take that curve in my Octavia (with Bilstein B6) at 90+ and it still stays flat. In fact, I felt the new i20 (not N-Line) took that curve better than both Tucson and C5 - I know it's not a right comparison
  8. High-speed stability: Did not get a chance to drive fast in both C5 and Tucson, but I am sure Tiguan/Compass/Meridian/Kodiaq would fare better here.

Now important questions:

  1. Is Tucson overpriced? - In isolation it is. But then almost all other cars are expensive. When you really compare with Compass, Meridian, Tiguan, C5, Kodiaq etc. I don't feel Tucson is overpriced. This is definitely not like your other Hyundai's - there is a huge improvement in quality and it definitely feels like a proper premium CKD product.
  2. Would I buy one if in the segment? - Well that would be NO. I can live with a stiffer suspension but not a softer one. And Tucson clearly has more body roll than my liking. If I am in the market for an entry-premium SUV (any fuel type), my preference would definitely be Tiguan. It drives very car-like. Though Compass drives well too, it surely feels underpowered and a size smaller than these cars. Would not prefer Kodiaq and I am not a fan of 7 seaters.

Now, this makes me wonder - though we have so many products in that price range none of these is complete. Why can't we have a spacious 5-seater SUV, that is powerful, drives and handle well and also has a diesel motor.

On another note, the Citreon salesman informed me that C5 is getting a facelift in September and it is going to have a fully reworked premium dashboard and even the front would be different. Not sure whether it's true, as I haven't seen anything on that yet.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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