So with the Tucson, what you get is an SUV that looks the part. The question is, will it do the job for company car drivers wanting a chunk of the SUV lifestyle?
What can be relied on by Hyundai is that it will produce a well-put together vehicle and sell it at a low price, and in that respect, the Tucson is everything it should be.
At £17,195 on-the-road this 2.0 diesel CDX looks good value, although its residuals are relatively poor at 27% after three years/60,000 miles. On the plus side, CO2 emissions are an excellent 187g/km and it comes with climate control and heated leather seats, so on paper it’s worth a look.
Given its budget price, it’s not surprising the Tucson does nothing to move on the SUV genre, as the Land Rover Freelander, BMW X5 and X3 and Nissan X-trail have done in recent years. But surely it could have some little details, apart from a low price, to lift it above the morass of SUV lookalikes.
It drives like a wobbly SUV even though it is built with the de-rigeur monocoque chassis and is nearly always in road-friendly two-wheel drive rather than four (like the X-trail). The steering has that odd rubbery pause during the initial turn that the better on-road SUVs have got rid of.
The 111bhp diesel engine is loud, unrefined and doesn’t provide any performance to speak of. The manual gearbox is awful, with a rickety shift. It made me wonder just how it will feel after 60,000 miles.
The interior is solid enough, but the standard of materials is low. The plastics are hard and cold. True, the CDX has leather seats, but the type used is to quality leather what reconstituted, watery wafer-thin ham is to real Wiltshire ham.
Is this a case of shooting fish in a barrel? Is the Tucson the easiest target in a sector of increasingly easy targets?
In its favour, it is just about the cheapest five-door SUV you can buy so setting new standards isn’t really its forte and Kia’s Sorento has plenty of faults but is selling well.
So it looks as though people will buy the Tucson because of what it is rather than how it is. That’s a shame because it is a prime example of cynical ‘bandwagonning’ by some manufacturers who copy others’ ideas – and flog their version cheaper.
Delivered price, standard car (P11D value) £16,992
CO2 emissions (g/km) 187
BIK % of P11D in 2004 26%
Graduated VED rate £165
Insurance group 11
Combined mpg 39.8
CAP Monitor residual value £4,650/27%
Depreciation 19.18 pence per mile x 60,000 £11,508
Maintenance 2.37 pence per mile x 60,000 £1,422
Fuel 10.33 pence per mile x 60,000 £6,198
Wholelife cost 31.88 pence per mile x 60,000 £19,128
Typical contract hire rate £414
All figures based on 3yrs/60,000 miles. Monthly rental quote from HSBC Vehicle
AT A GLANCE
THREE RIVALS TO CONSIDER
WITHOUT doubt, the Tucson is kitted out with the most equipment of these five-door diesel SUVs, and is also £1,000 cheaper than the next most expensive model. The Freelander doesn’t even have air conditioning, which costs £750, but it will do a job off-road. Only the Tucson has leather seats, and the RAV4 has no CD player. The X-trail is the second best when it comes to what you get for your money.
Land Rover £19,027
THE Hyundai Tucson and the Toyota RAV4 both have 10,000 mile service intervals, while the X-trail is at 12,000 and the Freelander at 15,000, which would mean two less services for the Land Rover in 60,000 miles. It doesn’t have much impact on servicing costs, though, and the Hyundai still comes top at £1,422. The Nissan comes last at £1,746. Hyundai’s five-year unlimited warranty is another plus point.
Land Rover 2.79
ALL four SUVs are fairly evenly matched on fuel consumption, although the Hyundai and Toyota are marginally better at 39.2mpg, which results in a fuel bill over 60,000 miles of £6,200. The Freelander is the most expensive at 37.2mpg and 11.05 pence per mile, which adds just over £400 to the cheapest runners. Defaulting to two-wheel drive in normal road driving certainly helps the Tucson and X-trail with minimising fuel consumption.
Land Rover 11.05
MUCH of the Hyundai’s hard-won running cost advantages in up-front price, fuel and SMR are negated by significant depreciation. CAP reckons the Tuscon will be worth 27% after three years/60,000 miles – a low figure for a SUV – which means it loses 19.18p every mile, or £11,500 in total. By contrast, the RAV4 loses only £9,640 on a CAP figure of 42% and the X-trail £10,600 on 39%.
The Land Rover fares surprisingly poorly. Is it just too scantily specced to be of interest to used buyers?
Land Rover 18.15
THERE’S a clear winner in running cost terms. The RAV4 trounces the opposition thanks to solid fuel and SMR costs, plus excellent residual values that are nearly up there with premium brand SUVs. What this all means is that the RAV4 costs £17,400 to run – an advantage of more than £1,200 over the next best. The X-trail, Freelander and Tucson are all closely matched, but all have varying strengths and weaknesses. Of the three, the X-trail is most consistent in all areas.
Land Rover 31.99
EMISSIONS AND BIK TAX RATES
WHEN it comes to benefit-in-kind tax for a company car driver, the Hyundai Tucson is easily the best thanks to the lowest emissions and P11D price. It would cost a 40% taxpayer £1,563 in this tax year, while the RAV4 is second best at £1,732. The X-trail isn’t far behind at £1,766 but the Freelander with its higher emissions – a trait nearly all Land Rovers seem afflicted by – comes last with £2,055.
Land Rover 205/27%
THE Hyundai Tucson makes a good case on paper for being the SUV of choice with decent running costs, high specification and low tax, but compare it in the metal to a Toyota RAV4 and there is a clear winner. The RAV4 is the better car by a distance and has excellent running costs thanks to superb residuals. The small amount of extra BIK tax the driver would have to pay is worth every penny for the decisively superior car.
WINNER: Toyota RAV4 2.0 XT2 D-4D 5dr