|HYUNDAI TUCSON 1.6 T-GDI 265 PHEV ULTIMATE|
|The story: The Tucson SUV gets plug-in hybrid power in a move that Hyundai hopes will kick-start its user-chooser appeal.|
|Key rival:||Ford Kuga|
Hyundai’s attempts to move into the user-chooser segment are headlined by the new Ioniq 5 model (see page 32), but the brand is also keen that the Tucson SUV has an important role to play alongside its striking hatchback sibling.
The new Tucson, which was launched at the start of this year, now gets plug-in hybrid power to go with the petrol and hybrid powertrains that it launched with.
This PHEV powertrain takes CO2 emissions down to 31g/km, thanks to a 13.8kWh battery that will be good for up to 35 miles of EV-only running. That puts the Tucson in the 11% BiK band for this year, matching the Ford Puma, Peugeot 3008 and Vauxhall Grandland X PHEVs, although it’s behind the significantly pricier Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid.
The Tucson’s total of 265hp from a combination of petrol and electric motors is also more potent than any of those with which it shares a BiK band, although it is again behind the RAV4.
It’s quick in a straight line, although not built to be a performance SUV, and the ride is a bit floaty at times. There is also an occasional touch of hesitation as the car switches between powertrains.
The boot space drops by just 19 litres to 558 with the addition of the PHEV powertrain, and the boot floor looks higher than expected, but there’s still a hefty amount of luggage space. This stat becomes even more impressive when you realise the Tucson is actually a bit smaller than some of its rivals.
Rear room is also surprisingly good, and the interior is neat overall while offering a good mix of material quality.
The car comes in Premium or Ultimate specs at first, with the lower of the two ducking below £40,000, and a sportier-styled N Line trim level will join the range imminently.
But it’s the front styling in particular that grabs the attention, with the lighting incorporated into the grille design in an eye-catching way. The rear is more conventional, but still attractive, and makes for a SUV that stands out.