Hyundai has changed its mind a couple of times with the Tucson.

It first arrived on the market here in 2004 and continued until 2010, when Hyundai’s small SUV was renamed the ix35.

Now, the ix35 badge has been discarded and the Tucson badge has come back for an encore.

By Alex Forrest

To Hyundai, it’s important people make the connection that the Tucson is the ix35 replacement, because among Western Australians, the ix35 was the biggest selling small SUV – and by a long way.

However, the Tucson is longer and wider than the ix35, which has prompted the Tucson to be classed as a mid-sized SUV by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

So now, Hyundai’s smallest SUV is competing with the heavy hitters of the mid-size sales race, such as the Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4.

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The Tucson leaves little wanting with regards technology, offering such mod-cons as autonomous braking on the top variant and Apple Carplay on the top two models.

The latter is an iPhone mirroring function that allows the features of an iPhone to be displayed on the vehicle’s touchscreen. Hyundai have said a similar functionality for Android phones is expected to become available around the time this magazine lands in mailboxes.

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The Tucson range comprises, in order of increasing specification, the entry level Active, Active X, Elite and Highlander.

There is also no shortage of drivetrain options. Four different engines are available, comprising a 2.0-litre, 114kW petrol, a different 2.0-litre petrol with 121kW, a 1.6-litre turbo petrol with 130kW and 2.0-litre turbo diesel with a muscular 136kW and 400Nm.

 

As is the case with almost every current Hyundai, the Tucson has Australia-specific suspension tuning. In fact, Hyundai have said it evaluated 104 separate suspension combinations before settling on the setup for our market.

It does handle well and is notably pointier than the ix35 but it retains a pleasingly supple ride.

The Tucson’s external appearance is a knockout, and although its interior is more conservatively designed, it’s attractive and logical to use.

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Early examples of the Tucson received a 4-star ANCAP safety rating, however those built after November 2015 were upgraded and carry a 5-star rating.

Hyundai Tucson Specifications

Price driveaway (as tested): from $31,048 drive away
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol
Power: 114kW @ 6,200rpm
Torque: 192Nm @ 4,000rpm
Claimed fuel economy: 7.9 litres/100km (diesel)
ANCAP Rating: 4 stars
CO2 Emissions: 184g/km