This isn't supposed to be a literary masterpiece rather just some comments after my experiences owning a New Hyundai Tucson Active X Manual for around a month. I haven't seen a review on the manual so I thought I'd throw my thoughts out there.
I had to unexpectedly relinquish my company car and buy a vehicle to accommodate my family of 4 so why not join the mid size SUV craze.
After reading positive reviews on the Tucsoni we had a test drive. We were planning to test drive a CX-5 as well but after driving the Tucson we were impressed enough at the time to do the deal. Budget didn't allow upgrading to the higher spec models. The 15000km/12 month service interval was also a contributing factor in the decision.
If you like your vehicles to be on the sportier performance side this vehicle isn't for you. It isn't marketed as such either. It's basically a chubbier looking jacked up 2.0L 4cyl petrol engine front wheel drive family wagon. My wife and I personally don't like automatics mated to normal 4 cyl. petrol engines. We test drove the auto anyway but couldn't bring ourselves to owning one.
Test driving the manual confirmed our choice. From that personal viewpoint I feel the manual box is a better choice enabling better use of the engines characteristics, if you don't mind changing gears and using your left leg. The 6 forward cogs have good ratios and are well spaced. Cruising at 100 km/h sees the 2.0L petrol engine sit just under 2500rpm on the tacho.
The 2500 RPM line seems to be where this engine starts to work better. Letting it drop below that on hills will see a quick drop in progress with frantic cog swapping to lower gears and revving to get speed back. In general driving I have rarely found it necessary to rev beyond 4- 4500rpm though the engine is quite happy to do so. It performs quite adequately above 2500rpm..
The gear shift is OK, not sports quick and a bit notchy, Cold shifting is more difficult particularly 1st to 2nd. The clutch is light and starts to take up rather high in the pedal travel. I experienced some difficulty in getting the clutch/throttle balance right in the first couple of weeks, but I hadn't owned a manual car for years.(That's my excuse anyway).
Now for a not so good point with the manual transmission. I have come to notice more over the last couple of weeks a whine which develops around 70km/h when in 4th 5th or 6th. I didn't pick up on this in the test vehicle. At 100km/h it has an annoyingly high pitch. Its certainly not loud but is intrusive and detracts from an otherwise pleasant drive. I will be bringing this to Hyundai's attention at the 1500km check.
Fuel economy has been quite satisfactory. On a recent day trip up to Noosa travelling through suburbia and up the Bruce H'way the average fuel consumption came in at 6.5l/100km according to the trip computer. Around town sees consumption in the mid to high 7's.
A couple of other negatives that have shown themselves :
Vision through the rear window is distorted in the top 1/4 of the window.
A rattle has developed in the drivers door.
The ACTIVEX badge on the tailgate is crooked.
Suggestions to Hyundai for improvements:
Drop the manual air and make Auto Climate Control Standard. its 2015. Manual air should be only in the most basic spec. lower end cars.
Sat Nav should be standard. Its 2015.
Offer engine choices in this variant. The turbo petrol or diesel would be a good thing.
Ditch the gear change indicator on the dash - useless. If you drove according to that the engine would be constantly labouring and there would be queue of cranky drivers behind you.
I won't comment on the tech stuff because I'm a tech gumby.
In conclusion, despite the couple of issues i have with the car (which I hope can be resolved) the Tucson Active X is a decently spec'd, comfortable, practical, nice driving mode of transport for my family. I hope it continues to be so. Choosing Manual or Auto is up to individual preference.
Definitely put it on the short list if this is the type of car you're after.