I have been a major car fanatic all of my life and growing up near Brands Hatch in Kent only fuelled my petrol loving instincts. So when I was old enough to join my father working at one of the most incredible, historical and technical race tracks in the UK, I jumped at the chance. Although Brands Hatch no longer hosts the Formula 1 it certainly has history as a great race track, just look back at 1976 Lauda V Hunt British Grand Prix which was drama packed and after the race finished had my favourite F1 driver interviews by James Hunt. In fact for those of you who haven't watched that race, here are the highlights below.
Yes chatting about F1 is a strange way to start a review of a compact SUV but for some reason writing this review brought back a lot of different driving memories from the past years. My last car was a Lotus Exige S2, so it was certainly a step up in height jumping into this compact SUV, the Hyundai Tucson Premium SE. The first thing that I did was test out how spacious this compact SUV vehicle is and I would normally expect the back seats to be a little on the crammed side. Well that is rubbish, in fact the front seats are armchair spacious, then with the front seats pushed back as far as a six foot man would have them - I then jumped into the back to see what it would be like on long journeys for the passengers. Unlike an other compact SUV I recently drove, the Hyundai Tucson was much more spacious, I think this is because they have kept things simple in the back as well as the back seats being able to recline, making for a more comfortable ride.
However this car is far from basic and safe, the designers have jam packed in a medley of techie 'things' and the exterior design is bold, merging sharp edges with illustrious curves which certainly turns heads.
Under the bonnet the Hyundai Tucson Premium SE (their top spec version) has a 2.0 CRDi 185PS (PS is a term used for power output) engine, 6 speed automatic or manual transmission delivering a 0-62mph result in 9.5 seconds. As a result of this the fuel consumption and emissions are a combined mpg of 43.5, CO2 emissions (g/km) of 170 and a VED band of H. Personally I test drove the automatic transmission which gave power on demand with a very small amount of delay or drag. I was impressed with the low revs when easing the SUV down the rolling hills of the Cotswolds and equally the immediate power given on the steep climbs - I suspect there is some very clever onboard software managing the engine components.
The 2.0 Tucson Premium SE comes with 19" striking alloy wheels, body coloured bumpers, chrome effect radiator grille, rear spoiler with integrated LED brake light and a twin exhaust finisher giving it a mean, angry sports finish.
The interior is exactly what I like, it's trying hard but not too hard, it concentrate on what matters. A soft leather finish, electrical front seat adjustment, heated front seats (with a convenient button to sync up the drivers with the passengers seat temperatures) as well as lumbar support for the driver...well it is his/her car after all!
The Premium SE edition has some of the advanced, useful technology on offer to help your everyday needs. Including parking assistant which has front, back and side sensors including steering assist if you require a little help parking. The 'Smart Electric Tailgate' allows the boot to open automatically if your hands are full of shopping - just stand in the rear detection area with your smart key for 3 seconds and the boot will open automatically...smart. Heated seats are nothing new, but these also have the added ventilation for cooling air flow.
Finally and most importantly safety are at the forefront of most choices when picking a new motor vehicle and the Hyundai Tucson has this category absolutely nailed. The Tucson is packed with advanced technologies that are simply passively waiting to help as well as actively monitoring driving conditions. Just to name a few the Tucson Premium SE model has autonomous emergency braking (AED), blind spot detection system (BSD), downhill brake control (DBC), hill-start assist control (HAC) and advanced traction cornering control (ATCC) which directs torque to the wheels with the most grip (torque vectoring), ATCC enhances cornering performance and safety of 4WD models. It also actively applies measured braking to the inside rear wheel.
Prices range from £19,705 | For the Premium SE Model I reviewed here it is £33,715 | Colour of the car in the images is Stargazing Blue | This is a honest review where all views are of Carl Thompson.
The photos in this review where taken during an amazing trip away to the beautiful, picturesque Barnsley House country retreat and spa in the Cotswolds.