Hyundai Tucson – A stonking performance

Ian Lamming finds stonking performance and economy in the amazing Hyundai Tucson Hybrid.

YOU could be forgiven for thinking that hybrid technology is all altruistic and ecological; it’s about economy and saving the icecaps and in some instances it is.

I have one of those hybrids and while it couldn’t pull the skin of a rice pudding it does achieve a squillion miles per gallon, which is what I need, or face bankruptcy buying liquid gold, sorry, I mean £7-a-gallon petrol, to pay for the ground I cover.

That’s one view, the other is about performance, brute strength, tyre shredding appeal and the new Hyundai Tucson Hybrid does seem to lean towards the latter rather than the former.

This Judge Dredd-mobile, with its dystopic snarling grille and scary LED running lights, simply flies out of the trap. That’s because the 1.6 litre petrol engine not only has electric back-up but also a turbocharger and that is a combination that hurls 230PS at the time/space continuum via a silky-smooth six-speed automatic gearbox.

Expect the benchmark 60mph sprint time to pop up in under eight seconds as it flies onto a limited top speed of 120mph. Pick-up is instant thanks to the Tube train-like electric motor, mid-range has true wallop as EV joins the muscle of turbo-powered torque and cruising goes all switcheroo floating along on electric when it can, returning to internal combustion where it can’t.

Nothing to worry your pretty heads about, the Tucson does everything automatically and somehow even manages to record silly MPG. My average seems to weigh in around 42, but then I have a heavy right foot, yet slow stuff around the country lanes sees this figure shoot up to over 62, which is impressive.

Ride is fine, steering quick with plenty of feel and grip and handling are great. It’s a driver’s car, that’s for sure, especially when you unleash the 230PS – wahey.

I love the look too with that aggressive front end, contemporary rear and perfect proportions, with short overhangs and chunky 19in alloys. It looks all hard and muscular, a car not to be messed with, which is just the ticket as aggression on our roads seems to increase exponentially.

Inside is spacious, well-equipped with touchscreen infotainment, high quality plastics and trim and brilliant ergonomics. Long journeys are dispatched with aplomb and it’s so much fun to drive that you never seem to tire of being behind its wheel.

The dash is virtual and bristling with info, the touchscreen easy to navigate and I love the minimalist transmission tunnel that has buttons for drive, reverse and park. The primary controls for the climate control are touch-operated but have their own buttons making them easy to find and use. Steering wheel also gets its own set of controls for trip and cruise and a button to turn off the irritating lane-keep-assist.

Whether your motives are those of a good global citizen or the self-centredness of someone who just loves to drive Tucson Hybrid is an excellent option definitely worth considering.

Fact File

Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Ultimate

Engine: 1.6 turbo petrol electric

Power: 230PS

0-62mph: 8 secs

Top speed: 120mph

Combined MPG: 50.4

Transmission: six-speed automatic

CO2 g/km: 127

Price: £36,935.00