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Hyundai Tucson engines, driving and performance

How does the Hyundai Tucson drive?

The Hyundai Tucson is definitely one of the better family SUVs to drive, which is a bit like saying Spain has some of Europe’s best hat shops – it’s not really why you’d go there. But the Tucson’s agility and handling verve is just another reason to recommend it over its numerous rivals.

There’s just enough driving sparkle to keep keen drivers happy, but fortunately that doesn’t come at the expense of comfort. It doesn’t tend to get unsettled over bumpy or broken road surfaces, which is a more important trait for a family SUV to have.

The Tucson feels unflappable on fast roads and on bumpy lanes, but it’s also at home in town. Sure, smaller cars can squeeze into high-street parking spaces more easily, but the Tucson’s light steering and various driver aids make it painless.

Is the Hyundai Tucson comfortable?

It’s not just how the Tucson feels inside that makes it comparable to SUVs from premium brands – it’s how the Tucson drives as well. Whether you’re in slow-moving urban areas or out on the open road, the big Hyundai manages to isolate bumps and stop them jolting into the cabin too much. Even the biggest 19-inch wheels don’t ruin the ride.

Carrying an extra 200kg or so, the plug-in hybrid Tucson is very slightly more susceptible to bumps, although you’ll hear them much more than you feel them.

What’s the best Hyundai Tucson engine to get?

Besides some very early and rare diesels, all Tucsons use the same 1.6-litre petrol engine. You can have this on its own, or attached to a battery and electric motor, totalling four different powertrain options. You can have mild-hybrid, hybrid or plug-in hybrid technology in your Tucson, with each one increasing the size of the battery and how useable the electric power is.

The mild-hybrid engine is marginally more economical than the standard petrol engine, but it’s more powerful and noticeably quicker off-the-line.

Our pick of the range is the mid-level hybrid, which returns around 50mpg and doesn’t need to be plugged in. It’s generally very quiet, although the engine can start to sound a little strained if you need to use high revs. The switch between petrol and electric power is so smooth that you might not even notice it.

Topping the range is the plug-in hybrid, which is apparently capable of 200mpg. Like any PHEV, you’ll need to drive on electric power most of the time to get anywhere near this figure, but its best-case 38-mile electric range will come in handy in low emission zones or in town. If you can charge at home or work, the PHEV is a good choice.

Hyundai Tucson performance

Performance is generally decent for this type of car, even if you may have to be a little patient getting up to speed in the non-hybrid petrol engine. This takes a tad over 10 seconds to go from a standstill to 62mph, which will feel sensible if not scintillating. The mild-hybrid and its automatic gearbox knock half a second off the 0-62mph time.

On paper, the hybrid is the quickest-accelerating engine, taking a brisk eight seconds to get up to speed. But the instant power from the plug-in hybrid’s electric motor makes this version feel quicker away from a set of traffic lights. The PHEV feels the most willing, but it is the most expensive.

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