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Used test: Hyundai Tucson vs Vauxhall Grandland X vs Volvo XC40 interiors
As two-year-old used buys, these family SUVs are around £5000 cheaper than new, plus their hybrid tech should save you even more cash over time. But which of our trio should you choose?...
Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality
You’re unlikely to have any issues with the range of seat and steering-wheel adjustment available in any of our contenders, but we reckon the Volvo XC40 has the best driving position overall. Not only do you sit higher up than in the Hyundai Tucson and Vauxhall Grandland X, making the XC40 feel like a proper SUV, but the seats are also comfortable and supportive, with plenty of side support to hold you in place through corners.
In contrast, the Grandland X’s seats are so woefully short on side support that you find yourself wedging one elbow against the door and the other against the central armrest so you don't slide around. That said, its seat is comfier than the Tucson’s, which is quite hard.
The Grandland X has to make do with analogue instrument dials that look old-fashioned next to the digital displays in the other two. However, they’re easy to read at a glance and are augmented by a small information screen, so you're not missing anything essential, plus, the digital screens in the other two cars are not all that configurable.
The Tucson's Ultimate trim is available with a camera that sends an image of what’s in your blind-spot to the instrument panel, that feature isn’t available on our Premium-spec model – and that’s a shame, because the huge rear pillars tend to obstruct your over-the-shoulder view. Mind you, the Grandland X and the XC40 are not much better in this respect. The XC40's slim windscreen pillars and tall windows make it the best for forward visibility.
The Tucson and Grandland X come with front and rear parking sensors, and a rear-view camera to help when manoeuvring. The XC40 has to make do with just rear sensors – unless the original owner spent £575 to get front sensors and a rear-view camera bundled together.
In terms of interior quality, the XC40 feels a cut above the rest. Most of its materials are soft to touch and the buttons operate slickly. The Tucson isn’t a million miles behind, with a soft-touch dashboard and a plush leather steering wheel, but they can’t mask the scratchy plastics lower down and a centre console that flexes when you lean against it.
The Grandland X’s interior looks and feels like something from an older generation, with a lot of hard, shiny plastics. Even the leather feels plasticky and cheap. That said, it does win some points for having physical knobs and buttons for adjusting its air-con. On the XC40, you have to use the touchscreen, and the Tucson has fiddly touch-sensitive buttons.
Speaking of infotainment, the Tucson's 10.3in touchscreen is as crisp as the best of the breed and has smart graphics to boot. The Grandland X's 8.0in touchscreen is reasonably crisp but not as sharp as the Tucson’s or XC40’s. The 9.0in, portrait-orientated touchscreen in the XC40 will feel familiar to most smartphone users, in that you navigate the menus by swiping left and right. However, the system isn’t as quick to respond as the Tucson’s and some of the smaller icons are hard to hit while driving. All three cars we tested have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay although it was an optional extra on the XC40 when new.
The Tucson is one of the largest family SUVs you can buy, so it should come as no surprise that it offers more head, leg and elbow room up front than the Grandland X and XC40. However, unless you’re a professional basketball player, you’ll find that all three offer more than enough room for you to sit comfortably.
In the rear, there’s plenty of space even for six-footers in the Tucson and XC40, whereas it’s a bit tighter in the Grandland X. The Tucson has slightly less head room than the lofty XC40 but is identical in terms of leg room, plus it comes as standard with reclining seatbacks for extra comfort. There isn’t a lot of head and knee room to spare in the Grandland X.
The Tucson is the best choice for carrying three adults in the back. It’s not only quite a bit wider than the Grandland X but also has a relatively flat floor, whereas the XC40’s middle passenger has to straddle a fairly hefty hump.
The Tucson’s rear bench is the only one here that folds in a handy 40/20/40 split. The Grandland X and XC40 have to make do with 60/40 splits, but at least they come with ski hatches, allowing you to accommodate long items while travelling four up.
The Tucson is the only one of our trio to get a height-adjustable boot floor. With that in its lowest position, its boot is quite a bit deeper than the others and can accommodate a class-leading eight carry-on suitcases below its load cover, compared with seven in the XC40 and six in the Grandland X.
All three cars get small underfloor storage areas – particularly handy in the Grandland X, because it gives you a place to stow its charging cable. It’s also the only one that comes with remote releases in the boot to make dropping the rear seats easier.
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