We were downsizing from a much-loved 100 Series Toyota LandCruiser. It used to tow our now long gone caravan, and we thought was going to be challenging finding a smaller SUV we were going to be happy with.
When we first went looking for a new mid-sized SUV we visited all the dealers for the vehicles we were interested in - including the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Honda CRV, Kia Sportage, Nissan X-Trail and the Hyundai Tucson - and obtained brochures with specifications. I then entered all the information into a spreadsheet so I would have a direct comparison. Anal? I know - but if we are going to spend our hard earned on a new vehicle we want to know exactly what we are getting for our money.
I then found the CarAdvice website, so we were able to relate our own test drive experiences to those expressed in the reviews - extremely helpful. The process involved in test driving and choosing and buying the Hyundai Tucson Active X 2WD automatic. This is a lengthy article in itself but what I will say is that the Car Advice reviews on all the test vehicles were right on the money and strongly influenced our decision.
We are not young, so ease of access was a priority. In the end the Tucson ticked all the boxes for us – ease of access, comfort and space, ride and handling, performance and economy and value for money. We also had an option for an interior finish other than black which clinched the deal as far as my wife was concerned.
From a driver's perspective the driving position and the ergonomics of the seat was also the best of the vehicles tested. I have back problems so this was a very important consideration. This would be tested within two months of purchasing the Tucson when we did a road trip from our home in Logan Village, south of Brisbane, to Coffin Bay on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia; a 2500km trip over three days – and back, of course. The ergonomics of the seats was excellent and the ride and handling of the vehicle was also excellent. The fuel economy for the trip was around 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres, with many long sections with the cruise control set at 110kph.
The performance of the vehicle was tested when we overtook a road train traveling at 90km/h west of Cobar. My wife was driving and was nervous about overtaking such a long vehicle, but when she hit the accelerator the car responded like a thoroughbred and was soon past the road train at a speed I am not prepared to publish. But, to give you a hint, my knuckles lost their colour. She wanted to get away from that road train – and fast. We averaged eight hours driving per day on that trip and at the end of each day we did not feel overly tired, which was very pleasing.
Around town, which is where we have run up most of the 60,000 kilometres over the past three years, the Tucson is a joy to drive, averaging around 8L/100km. I am a keen lawn bowler and I regularly take four other bowlers and their heavy bowls in the car, and it handles a load like that with ease and provides comfort for the passengers without being cramped.
I have owned new cars since the 1970's, the bad old days with the dealers, and the Tucson has not put a foot wrong and has not had one warranty issue. The service provided by my local Hyundai dealer has been first class, right down to the provision of a free courtesy vehicle. At last service the vehicle provided was a new Sante Fe Active, which I fell in love with - a very sneaky way for the dealer to get you to test drive a potential new car.
As far as technology is concerned, the Active X provides all that we need, including Apple CarPlay which I use for music and navigation when connected to my Apple iPhone 6. I just love the voice control when making phone calls via Bluetooth, checking messages and choosing music – totally hands free.
The only thing I can fault is probably the road noise which doesn't really bother me because I have significant hearing loss, but it comes to the fore when I am wearing my hearing aids and I can understand the criticism I have heard from others.
The Tucson is not hard on tyres. I expect to achieve 70,000 from the factory-fitted Nexen tyres and the 60,000km service report says the vehicle still has significant thickness left on the brake pads which I am assuming means they shouldn't need changing until at least the 75,000km service. I don’t drive the Tucson hard but I don’t pussy foot around either.
When it comes to the Hyundai service we all should read the fine print because the salespeople, like all the others, use the "fixed price" servicing as a selling point. BUT - it only relates to the very basic service costs such as the oil and filter change and the safety checks. The 45,000km and 60,000km services cost $529 and $715 respectively due to "other maintenance" such as air conditioning filters, brake fluid changes etc, etc. All this is reasonable when you look at it logically but they need to drop the bullshit sales pitch and tell people the real cost of servicing the vehicle.
Realistically - I have no complaint because my Tucson is performing brilliantly.
I have owned Holden’s, Fords, Mazda’s, Suzuki's, and a number of Toyota's over the years and this Tucson is another excellent vehicle and one of the best I have owned. Would I buy another one? Most definitely.