Owner Review

2016 Hyundai Tucson Highlander (AWD) review

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I honestly thought I would never see the day I would buy a Hyundai. This isn't to say I didn't think the brand had come a long way since the era of the Excel and Accent.

I must also say that I am/was a station wagon man prior to having a family. I know debate rages about SUVs not being a driver's car and I get that. I have always preferred wagons, even more so than sedan counterparts. I prefer the wagon in the VF and Gen F Holden ranges; similarly I prefer the looks of the C63S wagons and think Audi wagons look far better than the sedans.

So to try and add some context to this review, I decided I wanted an SUV for this time in our life with a child and a second on the way. We wanted a car that suited our current lifestyle. I concede, quite willingly, SUVs make it easier to get kids in and out of car seats and getting a bulky pram into the boot seems easier. Practicality and comfort currently outweigh performance and full driver engagement.

Coming from a V8 wagon, I wanted something good looking, with high levels of tech and comfort and torque. I compared the VW Tiguan (needs options like driver assistance, sunroof and R-Line pack to look decent), CX-5 and Discovery Sport. The Tucson came into the fold based on price, looks, features and also reading reviews from both Australia and NZ.

Frankly, in Pepper Grey, it looks excellent. The sunroof is not a gimmick and the technology is handy (I can drive without the technology but it isn't invasive). The visibility, ergonomics, torque and ambience are all great.

The diesel is a strong unit which requires you to get into the rev range. Just accelerate a little harder! The sport mode works well adjusting the throttle input so it spins up the revs quicker. A handy feature.

Coming from petrol engines I sometimes find it a bit sluggish until you hit the torque band. You get used to using enough accelerator so you're in that delicious band. Frankly, I'm the kind of person who would, if money wasn't and issue and I was buying an SUV, to get a 3.0 TDI in a Q7 or Q5. More torque is always good.

The only minor drawbacks are the speakers which are weak. The stereo just doesn't pack an oomph. The car needs a subwoofer.

I'm pleasantly surprised by the Tucson and don't regret it. It could easily be a Euro-badged vehicle.

I can see everyone is going bananas over the new Tiguan but the spec I would have wanted, the 162TSI, would have cost over $60k to be equally specced and it only looks good with the R-Line pack.

In a perfect world a stronger stereo and maybe the SantaFe 2.2-litre engine would have been good (tuned to 160 kW and 500nm). The chassis can easily handle it and the Continental tyres are very sticky.

I've taken it light off-roading and it doesn't even notice it. The ride is very compliant and the NVH is great.

Seriously, if you're looking for a medium SUV, check it out. I wanted a Euro but there isn't anything with the same spec for under $70k.