The new Hyundai Tuscon on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Hyundai Tucson on test for Changing Lanes!

The Hyundai Tucson has undoubtedly been a huge success for the Korean brand. Since it launched back in 2004, more than 7 million units have been sold worldwide, with the Tucson becoming something of an Irish sweetheart too. This car really hit its stride in 2015 with the launch of the third generation model. Almost immediately it took a stranglehold of the Irish new car market, closing in on established bestsellers and retaining the title of Ireland’s bestselling car for much of the last few years.

Late in 2020, an all-new generation of the Hyundai Tucson arrived. Similar patterns are emerging with this car already securing the position of Ireland’s bestselling car so far in 2021.

What’s new for the 2021 Hyundai Tucson?

It’s out with the old and in with the new. The previous generation of the Tucson has great notoriety on Irish roads, but the 2021 model will lift things up a gear with Hyundai taking it to the next level with bold design and electrified powertrains for the first time.

Convention has gone out the back window with more angles, curves and dramatic light signatures that give the fourth generation Hyundai Tucson the taste of the avant-garde for the first time. Yes competition is fierce in the family SUV segment and the new Tuscon does not want to be vanilla.

With pricing starting from €33,595, the Hyundai Tuscon is moving up a gear yet presence, design, technology and quality speak volumes about this car.

Sportier and more dynamic proportions have been made possible by the new platform. On approach the car is characterised by a striking light architecture dubbed ‘Parametric Hidden Lights’ that means the lights blend into the grille to give a jewel-like effect.

The new Tucson is available from €33,595 in Ireland
The new Tucson is available from €33,595 in Ireland

Inside the new Hyundai Tucson

New Tucson marks a significant change in design direction for Hyundai and the theme continues inside. The brand has done a wonderful job transforming the cabin and the Tuscon now reflects a more premium experience inside. It’s a combination of lots of soft touch materials, glossy digital screens for the infotainment and digital instrument panel, ambient lighting, and neat design touches like a rather avant-garde steering wheel!

Smartphones connect seamlessly to the infotainment system via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The new 10.25-inch screen fills the centre of the vehicle. This is the first Hyundai model to feature a full touchscreen console with everything controlled from it but it is intuitive to use.

There are three trim levels, Comfort Plus, Executive and Executive Plus. Standard equipment includes 17″ alloys, heated front seats with electric lumbar support for the driver, automatic lights, high beam assist, reverse parking camera, 8″ touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and safety equipment including lane keep assist, driver attention alert and forward collision alert.

The interior of the new Hyundai Tucson
The interior of the new Hyundai Tucson

Is it practical?

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson is longer and wider than the car it replaces, and the wheelbase has also been increased by 10 mm so passengers can enjoy more space inside the vehicle. Boot space has been increased, offering up to 620 litres overall.

The new interior feels open and roomy. There is 26 mm of additional legroom in the rear. The rear seats of the all-new Tucson can now be folded in a 4:2:4 ratio with folding levers located on the side walls of the boot for extra convenience. This is a versatile family SUV, comfortable to travel in with competitive space on board for this class of vehicle.

The clever packaging of the battery for the hybrid means that there is no difference in interior space between diesel and hybrid models.

Boot space in the new Tucson
Boot space in the new Tucson

What’s on offer?

On that note, the new Tucson completes the electrification of Hyundai’s SUV fleet in Europe, with mild hybrid, hybrid and plug-in hybrid available as well as a trusty diesel/diesel mild hybrid.

The diesel Tucson range uses a 1.6-litre engine and is available from €33,595 rising to €46,745 for a fully loaded four wheel drive model. Diesels cost between €210 and €280 to tax in Ireland.

The new Tucson petrol hybrid is available from €37,195 rising to €48,745. It uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, electric motor, and 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery to reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions. It is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and motor tax ranges from €200 to €210 per year in Ireland for this model.

A plug-in hybrid will join the new Tucson range in 2021, with 265 hp and the ability to drive for short ranges on electric power only.

Driving the new Hyundai Tucson

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson has been developed and tested in Europe. The conventional dampers on the suspension use a new valve technology that offers more tuning flexibility. A MacPherson strut on the front and multi-link suspension on the rear are designed to ensure good levels of comfort and handling. The Tucson’s steering features a new generation Belt Drive steering gear for more smooth and connected steering.

The hybrid version I was testing uses a new 1.6-litre T-GDI turbo petrol engine, 44.2 kW electric motor and a 1.49 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. It is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission (6AT). The system is the most powerful in the 2021 Hyundai Tucson powertrain line-up, with a combined output of 230 hp.

The new Tucson offers buyers more powertrain options than ever before
The new Tucson offers buyers more powertrain options than ever before

On the road, we can say that the new Tucson feels more premium than ever before. The cabin ambience is hugely rewarding, with a more comfortable and stable drive across motorway, town and rural roads. It’s comfortable for long distance motoring, while the Tucson’s hybrid transmission is seamless at work in the background.

Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.7 litres per 100 km. There is plenty of power and smoothness from the accelerator, with an amazing 230 hp available. The Tucson Hybrid is quiet around town and we think the fuel economy is respectable. But for high mileage motorway users, the diesel will still return the best economy.

Did you like it?

The Hyundai Tuscon has enjoyed an impressive drive to notoriety in Ireland and Europe. This new generation looks set to make this car an even more compelling choice than ever before. This SUV icon has been suitably modernised to help it lead in its segment and command its price.

The outside of the car is smart and stylish, making a statement like never before. The interior of the car is a revelation, bringing a new premium style to the Tucson and a much anticipated digital upgrade.

This now feels like a design-led car. The ambition of Hyundai is palpable but it’s backed up by real choice in the powertrain department – with mild hybrid, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and diesel offering buyers amazing choice in the segment. This hybrid gives the Tucson some great credentials as an alternative to diesel.

The Tucson sells itself with a reputation that precedes. But now it really delivers. Tucson can enjoy the time at the top; it won’t be going anywhere else anytime soon.

Tucson is now more premium than ever before!
Tucson is now more premium than ever before!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Hyundai Tucson Executive Plus HEV
Price: €42,195
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 230 hp
Torque: 265 Nm
0-100km/h:  8 seconds
Top speed: 193 k/h
Economy (WLTP): 5.7 l/100 km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 130 g/km
Motor Tax:  €200 per year