Hyundai Tucson 2016 highlander (awd)
Owner Review

2016 Hyundai Tucson Highlander (AWD) review

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I purchased a new Tucson in November 2015 as a novated leasing package through work. This worked out well for me due to my line of work and repayments.

The Hyundai replaced my 2011 Ford Fiesta Zetec, which had a myriad of issues. From the get-go, it was issue after issue. The interior door handle came off. The Bluetooth would drop out constantly. The automatic transmission would shudder on take-off. My car was one of the earliest cases of this shuddering issue. Sometimes it would happen mid-drive.

I returned it to the dealership who explained to me that it was the way I drove it, but I knew it wasn't the case. Eventually Ford repaired the car and tried to explain to me that the transmission was like that due to being a manual transmission, but "turned into an auto". Yep, that's how car dealers speak to women unfortunately. This is the reason I didn't go near a Kuga as a replacement.

My Hyundai, on the other hand, is a turbo diesel. I really couldn't care less what model rolled into the driveway, provided it was automatic, had leather and a panoramic sunroof. My dad suggested a Hyundai Tucson, as he himself works on cars in a panel shop. I was more inclined to check out a Veloster, but of course, the practicality meant that I needed to be in a bigger car.

I know that Korean cars have come a long way, so I wasn't completely rejecting the idea of driving one. Here I was thinking that the Ford Kuga was the only car I could see myself in after my Commodore, Mirage and Fiesta.

Unfortunately, the dealership experience was pretty poor in terms of getting pricing and a salesman to take a genuine interest in what I wanted in a car. Honestly, the moment I mentioned a novated lease, they all completely lost interest. I couldn't get calls back from my local dealer after my visit where I barely got a GLIMPSE of the car, let alone a test drive. That's why I left it up to the lease company, who sourced the car some 300km away. Rural dealers will always be keen to do business it appears: take note.

This isn't the first diesel I've driven, as I very often drive HiAce buses for work. My only gripe is the tractor-like noise (like every diesel) and the servo not having enough diesel bowsers. That appears to be changing of late. Hyundai also kindly provided latex 'diesel gloves' in the glovebox, which are pretty much food-grade kitchen gloves. I've never seen anyone pull out their Hyundai gloves at the service station. Should I be the first?

In terms of styling, I don't like the matte-black trims around the wheel arches on most mid-size SUVs, and sadly the Tucson was no different. I went the Pepper Grey paint so it wasn't as noticeable. In hindsight, that was a silly idea because I still can see it. Clever me.

The rest of the car is well proportioned, and I do like its overall look compared to other similar cars from other brands.

Technology is okay, but there isn't any Apple CarPlay. I connect my Spotify with a USB so it's still peachy. Don't ask how I managed this, but I still backed into a small tree with both the reverse sensors and camera in the car. Wireless charging wouldn't so astray, but now I'm just picking on things.

Space is adequate. I've moved house with it and most of my stuff can be jammed into it. The dogs are used to being in the back with the seats folded almost flat. The leather chairs are comfortable on long commutes, as I was doing up to 200km per day for a while.

I have to give it something, though. I was a bit slack to service and did so around the 35,000km mark. The oil looked a little worse for wear apparently, but the car was holding up just fine. Call me a bad car owner, but sometimes life gets in the way. I'd love if dealers could do a Lube Mobile kind of service for people who are equally as slack as me.

Would I buy one again? Probably. But I really regretted my decision after seeing a Toyota CH-R. The Kona looks like my style too – different size, but I don't mind it

Should the Tucson live a trouble-free life, then another Hyundai may be on the cards. After 65,000km, though, so far, so good.

Thanks to Melissa for encouraging me to do a review. I didn't think people would want to read about my very unmaintained and neglected car. One day I will give it a wash.