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Used test: Hyundai Tucson vs Peugeot 3008 vs Skoda Karoq

You can save between £5000 and £10,000 on these stylish and practical SUVs by buying them at two years old, but which one should you choose?...

Hyundai Tucson vs Skoda Karoq vs Peugeot 3008

The Contenders

Hyundai Tucson 1.6 T-GDi 177 Premium

List price when new £27,745
Price today £18,304*
Available from 2015-present

We're testing the facelifted Tucson to see if it makes a good used buy. 

Peugeot 3008 1.2 Puretech 130 GT Line

List price when new £27,180
Price today £21,159*
Available from 2017-present

Not just a stylish choice, the 3008 is well equipped and the most frugal car here.

Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 150 SE L

List price when new £24,975
Price today £20,185*
Available from 2017-present

The practical and sharp handling Karoq is another of our favourite family SUVs.

*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and full service history according to the What Car? Valuation service, correct at time of writing

It can be hard to remain on top of your game. You’ve probably heard those words a million times. The phrase applies to everyone, from sports stars to musicians and, yes, car makers too. And, in this test, it applies specifically to the Skoda Karoq.

You see, it has long been one of our favourite family SUVs as a new car, but as a used option it faces challenges from cheaper and better-equipped competitors vying to beat it as the best value second-hand purchase.

Hyundai Tucson

The first of the opposition comes from Hyundai; the Korean brand renewed the Tucson in 2018, and treated its bestselling global to a midlife facelift that included new LED headlights and tail-lights, while both front and rear bumpers and the front grille were updated. The interior was given an overhaul, too.

The Peugeot 3008 might also have something to say about the Karoq’s dominance, because it has a far more stylish exterior that gives it greater curtain-twitching appeal amongst your neighbours, plus a dramatic interior that wouldn't look of place in a trendy nightclub. It even has ambient mood lighting to really set the scene.


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Family SUVs looking to project an upmarket image need a bit of grunt, so we’re testing the most powerful petrol versions available with a manual gearbox (there’s a more powerful petrol variant of the 3008, but it comes exclusively with an automatic ’box).

At 1.6 litres, the Tucson’s four cylinder engine is the biggest and most powerful here, pumping out 175bhp. The Karoq also has a four-cylinder engine, but it’s a 1.5-litre unit that produces 148bhp. It still looks pretty brawny next to the 3008, though; that car's 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine is designed to deliver good fuel economy and puts out a modest 129bhp.

Peugeot 3008

As you’d expect, in a sprint away from the lights, the Tucson leaves the other two trailing; after a brief delay while you wait for the turbocharger to start working, its engine pulls strongly from 1500rpm and revs cleanly to its redline. That said, the Karoq manages to hang on to the Tucson’s coat-tails up to 40mph and its engine feels barely any less muscular at low to medium revs. You need to rev the 3008’s engine much harder to make swift progress, although it’s never frustratingly tardy.

What will annoy you about the 3008, though, is its vague gearbox and light, numb clutch pedal; they conspire to make the car difficult to drive smoothly around town. The Tucson is better in this respect, although its gearchange is a bit woolly, whereas the Karoq’s is tough to fault and it’s by far the easiest car to drive at low speeds.

Indeed, this Goldilocks theme permeates through most facets of the Karoq’s driving experience. For example, while the Tucson has overly heavy yet disappointingly vague steering and the 3008’s steering is accurate but too quick and light, the Karoq is right in the middle; turn its wheel and you’ll find that the steering is nicely weighted at all speeds, with the option to add more heft for faster driving by switching to Sport mode.

Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 150

Along country roads, you can confidently place the Karoq where you want it on the road. It sways the least and feels the most eager to change direction, too. The 3008 has plenty of grip but exhibits too much body roll, while the Tucson stays more upright but has the least grip and its steering wheel kicks back in your hands as you approach the car’s limits.

Our SUVs are a closer match when it comes to refinement. The Tucson generates the most wind noise, the 3008 the most road noise and the Karoq the most engine noise; they registered similar decibel readings at both 30mph and 70mph in our tests. The Karoq is the most comfortable, though, coping with most types of bumps well. The 3008 isn’t far behind, even though it tends to trip over potholes, whereas the Tucson is firm and unsettled along roads that aren’t perfectly smooth.