Inside, the new Tucson is almost as bold as the outside. There’s a positively elegant sweep of fabric and metallic/piano black finishes across the dashboard, neatly integrating the air vents, which, if finished in veneer and chrome, would be called ‘yacht inspired’ or something if it came from an old-school premium European maker.
As it is – with soft-touch plastics abounding; separate, clear climate controls; big, pleasingly coloured digital dials; and a largely functional central touchscreen (with phone mirroring) – it’s both a functional and attractive interior. A Volvo XC40 has a bit more joy to it, but if the alternative is a Volkswagen Group car, so samey and staid, this is a really pleasant option. The fit is strong, too, and your fingers meet hard plastics only when you prod down at door bins and the central storage cubby.
The perforated leather seats on this car mark it out as a high-spec example – given it’s the top powerplant, too, it’s probably pushing into the mid-30s on price – but Hyundais come with kit as standard that you might have to pay for elsewhere. The outer rear seats – spacious, with decent head and leg room even if a tall occupant is in the front – are heated and the tailgate’s electrically operated. This stuff is standard on the £31k Premium SE at the minute (although tbh I can always live without an electric tailgate) and I doubt equipment levels will be reduced for this new car.
And to drive? It’s good enough. There’s good ride and noise isolation, although a bit of a head-toss wobble with it along bad roads. This being a left-hand-drive car might not help, sitting you next to the verge and the worst bits of the road as it does. There’s a suppleness to it – the 19in wheels, the biggest available, are shod with 235/50 R19 Michelin rubber – and when it leans, it leans quite quickly.
When it comes to a ride/handling balance, then, they’ve thrown it more towards the ride, which is understandable. The steering’s light and stays that way and, at under 2.5 turns between locks, is pretty quick. You can flick through drive modes – from Eco to Sport – which adds a bit of weight but seemed to make no difference to the ride on this car. Gives you red dials, though, and a rev counter. Racy stuff.
In this full-hybrid, there are times when it shuffles along in full-electric mode. Response is largely smooth, there are steering wheel paddles if you want to control what gear the car is in (and an extended pull on the up paddle puts it back in Drive), but in fully auto there’s an occasional hesitation while the caboodle tries to decide exactly what kind of response it should give.
Grip and traction are good. There’s a digital readout to show where power is being apportioned. If you pull out of junctions swiftly, you’ll see, as you feel, the rear rapidly taking up its share, so there’s never any scrabble or torque steer. As with most of the tech info, there’s no word on the towing limit yet, but the old Tucson had a legal limit of 1900kg (with around 1500kg being the sensible maximum of what you ought to pull).