First drive: Hyundai Tucson

* Price from £14,695 * On sale now * Small price, but poor handling and trim...

First drive: Hyundai Tucson

With the headlong rush to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve fuel economy, you'd be forgiven for thinking that a hefty 4x4 is about as welcome as a week-old bag of chips. Not necessarily, especially when it's a lighter, more-efficient two-wheel-drive version. Call it a 4x2.

So just how much of a saving will you make? If you go for a face-lifted Hyundai Tucson, not a huge amount. The front-wheel-drive diesel will do an extra 0.6mpg than the 4x4 version, while CO2 emissions drop by just 3g/km, but this does mean its in a lower company car tax band. You'll save £1000 on the purchase price, too.

With less weight to haul around, youll accelerate faster in the 2wd Tucson, but the performance is still resolutely in the 'acceptable' camp.

Its merely reasonable to drive, too: the ride is bumpy at low speeds and you'll be hanging onto the steering wheel during brisk cornering, but take things easy and its comfortable and quiet enough.

Value, sapce and equipment

However, value, space and equipment have always been the Tucson's main selling points and they're as strong as ever. You're getting a lot of metal for your money, a spacious cabin, a long kit list and the reassurance of a five-year warranty.

Bad points? The cabin is plasticky, the steering wheel doesn't adjust for reach and stability control is available only on top-spec models.

As far as the face-lift goes, it's a minor one. In comes a new radiator grille and instrument cluster; out go the four-wheel-drive petrol models and the thirsty V6 engine.

It all makes the Tucson a more sensible choice, albeit not necessarily the best one.

Hyundai TucsonPrice from £14,695
On sale Now
Youll like Small price; big kit list
You wont Roly-poly handling; trim quality