The 116bhp 1.7-litre diesel is the pick. It's not fast but it does pull strongly from low revs, even in the taller gears, so it rarely leaves you wanting.
That said, if you're planning to use the Hyundai Tucson to tow, the 134bhp 2.0-litre is probably a better choice; it isn’t that much quicker, but it does have even more low-down pulling power. The 183bhp 2.0 diesel is slightly faster again, but not by enough to make it worth the premium.
We've yet to try the entry-level 1.6-litre petrol but, from our experience of it in other cars, its relative lack of torque is likely to prove frustrating. The more flexible, turbocharged 1.6-litre T-GDi is the petrol engine of choice, then, but it's only available in the higher trims and consequently quite expensive.
Hyundai Tucson ride comfort
Relatively stiff suspension keeps the Tucson’s body neatly tied down over dips and crests, so your passengers aren’t likely to feel nauseous along undulating country roads. However, the payoff is a fairly firm ride at low speeds – the Tucson is less forgiving over sharp-edged bumps than, say, a Nissan Qashqai, and fidgets around a bit too much whatever your speed.
You can choose from a variety of alloy wheel sizes. The biggest 19in wheels lead to an even rougher rider on poorly surfaced roads, however, so are best avoided.
Hyundai Tucson handling
The Hyundai Tucson doesn't roll much through corners – certainly less than a Nissan Qashqai – and there's plenty of grip, even in poor weather conditions. There's little in the way of fun to be had, though, in part due to the steering's slightly vague feel around the straight-ahead position and a shortage of feedback from the front wheels.
The Tucson’s steering is light enough to make parking a breeze, however, and weights up enough on the motorway to prevent the Tucson feeling nervous or twitchy.
Hyundai Tucson refinement
Gruff diesels and plenty of road noise
The entry-level 1.7-litre diesel engine sounds gruff, even at tickover, and you feel vibrations coursing up through the soles of your feet whenever you accelerate. Equivalent engines in the Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca are considerably smoother and quieter.
Refinement isn’t a strong suit of the more powerful 2.0-litre diesels, either, and the turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol can also be intrusive – especially when you work it hard. There’s plenty of road noise on the motorway, too, although wind noise is at least relatively well contained.
The Tucson’s manual gearbox is light and fairly precise, if a little notchy, while the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic – offered only with the 1.6-litre T-GDi petrol – shifts quickly but can hang onto the gears too long.
There’s little to excite here but the entry-level petrol should prove smooth and adequately willing. Hyundai claims 0-62mph in 11.5sec, which isn’t too shabby, but this engine isn’t particularly efficient. Only offered in front-drive manual form.
1.6 T-GDi 177PS
If you want a petrol engine with a bit more punch, this turbocharged petrol is your only choice. You can get it with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic gearbox, too. It’s not cheap, though, as it’s only available in Premium or Premium SE trim. It’s not very efficient, either.
Our pick 1.7 CRDi 116PS
The best engine in the line-up. It pulls strongly from low revs, thanks in part to short gearing, and is reasonably economical. However, it’s noisy and not as frugal as equivalent engines in the Tucson’s best rivals. You can only have it with front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox.
2.0 CRDi 136PS
This bigger diesel offers more punch than the 1.7 and should prove faster up hills and if you’re carrying lots of passengers or luggage. Otherwise, it feels much the same as the smaller diesel – but it isn’t as economical. Four-wheel drive and automatic versions are available, though.
2.0 CRDi 185PS
You can only get this flagship diesel in conjunction with four-wheel drive, although you can pick from manual or automatic transmissions. It’s costly and not particularly efficient, though, particularly in automatic form. Good for heavy-duty towing, though.