2022 Hyundai Tucson Highlander

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FOR many – if not most – automotive importers Down Under, success in the medium SUV segment is a key performance indicator. Get it right, and you’ll likely gain a customer who’ll recommend the vehicle to anyone who’ll listen. Get it wrong, and you’ll lose what’s arguably your most important buyer – one that’s likely to stay with your brand as their family grows.

And you don’t have to look far to see who gets its right, and who gets it wrong in this segment. Five-seat family SUV buyers are spoilt for choice and, increasingly, know how to choose wisely. 

Safety, practicality, convenience, driveability, reliability, and value for money are no longer nice-to-haves – they’re non-negotiables. Indeed, buyers expect those attributes from a modern SUV, such as the Hyundai Tucson… and they’re qualities that the South Korean brand’s model exudes.

Now into its fourth generation, the Tucson combines an eye-catching aesthetic and a smartly packaged interior with a range of dependable drivelines. 

The entry-grade Tucson offers a 115kW/192Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated and multi-point injected four-cylinder petrol with standard six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The combination is also offered in mid-grade Elite and top-shelf Highlander variants.

Elite and Highlander variants are also available with all-wheel drive, as well as in combination with either a 132kW/265Nm direct-injected 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder motor (matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission), or an all-alloy, direct-injected 137kW/416Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, which is paired with an eight-speed epicyclic auto.

Official combined fuel consumption is rated at 8.1 litres per 100km for the 2.0-litre petrol, 7.2L/100km for the 1.6-litre turbo-petrol, and 6.3L/100km for the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel. There are no pure- or hybridised electric drivelines offered in the Hyundai Tucson range, at least not yet.

On test is a high-grade Highlander 2.0-litre turbo-diesel derivative with HTRAC all-wheel drive. 

The model is priced from $52,000 (plus on-road costs) and offers an extensive suite of safety gear including a centre-front airbag, blind-spot collision avoidance, intelligent speed-limit assist, forward-collision junction- and turning assist, leading-vehicle departure alert, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go, as well as safe-exit assist.

Other features include 19-inch alloy wheels (with a matching spare), LED head- and tail-lights, dark-chrome grille, electrochromatic rear-view mirror, LED cabin and ambient mood lighting, a panoramic glass sunroof, 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, BOSE audio, power tailgate, ventilated front seats, two-position driver’s seat memory, electric passenger’s seat with walk-in function (a segment first), a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats… to name just a few.

Hyundai’s Tucson competes with a steady stream of rivals in the 20-strong Medium SUV (under $60k) segment, including the Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-TRAIL, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, and Volkswagen Tiguan.

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