What's the used Hyundai Tucson 4x4 like?
Rugged, rocky and arid. That’s what the Arizona desert is like, and it’s the sort of imagery that the name of the Hyundai Tucson is intended to conjure up. But don’t be misled: the Tucson is categorically not a hardcore all-terrain explorer.
In fact, it’s a family SUV along the lines of the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008 and Skoda Karoq, so it's better suited to more mundane tasks like the school run or hauling the family away for its annual holiday. Although, to be fair, such challenges can be just as daunting as a trek through the Santa Catalina mountains.
The range kicks off with the basic S model (later known as S Connect), which gets you air conditioning, Bluetooth, LED daytime running lights and DAB radio (and, on later models, a touchscreen sat-nav system). SE adds dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and rear parking sensors, while SE Nav adds sat-nav (SE was dropped on the facelift, leaving SE Nav as the next step up from S Connect).
The range tops out with Premium – which provides a few more toys, such as heated rear seats and parking sensors – and Premium SE, with its LED headlights, keyless entry and panoramic roof. There have also been a smattering of special editions with additional toys, such as the Go SE and Sport Edition.
On the move, the Tucson generates a bit of engine noise when you’re accelerating, but it settles to a quiet, smooth cruise, even if you choose one of the diesel models. You’ll find the two least powerful versions to be rather gutless, but go for one of the other two diesels or the turbocharged petrol and you’ll have more than enough power on tap.
That said, don’t imagine the Tucson is a driver’s car. Its steering is very remote, making it hard to tell what the front end is doing, so even though there’s plenty of grip and the body doesn’t lean over too much, it’s not actually that much fun to drive. At least the light steering makes it easy to park.
That the Tucson controls its body well in corners shouldn’t come as a great surprise, because the suspension is quite firm. So while it doesn’t wallow over larger bumps, you also find the Tucson fidgets and shimmies even on smooth motorway surfaces, while at slower speeds, it’s rather too susceptible to an unpleasant crashing sensation over ruts and potholes, especially on the largest 19in wheels.