New Hyundai Tucson: full details on the firm's best-selling SUV

  • Hyundai's best-selling SUV has been redesigned
  • Due to arrive in the UK by the end of 2020
  • Mild hybrid engines available, plug-in hybrid arrives later

Hyundai Tucson 2020 front

Hyundai’s best-selling SUV is due to be replaced at the end of 2020 and while the outgoing model still looks relatively smart on the outside, the interior is starting to feel its age.

The new 2021 Tucson plans to rectify all of that with a radical redesign inside and out, along with up-to-date tech and a more fuel-efficient engine range.

Complete redesign

Based on Hyundai’s Vision T concept revealed at the 2019 LA Auto Show, the Tucson debuts the firm's new design philosophy called ‘parametric dynamics' and you certainly can't accuse them for adopting a play-it-safe approach with the latest SUV.

The front of the Tucson is undoubtedly striking, with the large centre grille blending in with the daytime running lights. Named Parametric Hidden Lights, these form part of the grille when they’re switched off and effectively extend the gloss back centrepiece.

The wheels range from 17- to 19-inches in size, while the chrome strip running along the top of the window line has a slight hint of the Lexus RX as it continues to the rear-most pillar.

The 2021 Tucson sits lower than its predecessor, has a 10mm longer wheelbase and is 20mm longer overall, while sitting wider by 15mm. The shorter front overhang disguises some of that growth, though.

Hyundai Tucson 2020 side

The back of the Tucson features a full-width light bar with a pair of taillights branching down either side, while lower down you’ll see a textured bumper insert in a similar pattern to the front grille. The rear wiper also now resides underneath the spoiler like on a Range Rover.

The version we see here is the top-spec Hybrid model and Hyundai claim these design features will be standard on all trim levels.

There are nine exterior colours to choose from and each can be combined with a contrasting shade for the roof, named Dark Knight and Phantom Black.

Minimal button count for the interior

To try and create an airy cabin environment for the new Hyundai Tucson, the upper dash surface is now completely flat. This involves lowering the instrument cluster for the driver and removing the cluster hood altogether in the process, so we'll have to find out if that digital screen for the driver is now susceptible to glare when we test it later towards the new year.

Hyundai Tucson 2020 interior

The other main design feature is the silver trim running along the doors and continuing onto the dash – similar to the Riva Hoop design introduced on the Jaguar XJ - while also hiding the outer air vents for the front occupants to help towards that minimalist look.

The tablet-style touchscreen of the outgoing model has gone and replaced with one located lower down to sit with the climate control cluster. Both the driver’s digital instrument screen and the centre touchscreen are 10.25-inches, and we suspect the high number of icons on the centre dash will take some time to get used.

There is no gearlever for the automatic gearbox anymore and instead you'll find buttons sitting among the other drive controls.

In terms of infotainment software, you can have User Profiles to customise multiple driver’s settings and Hyundai Live Services allows access to real-time traffic information, the weather and fuel station locations - including prices.

However, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is available, along with an upgraded 15V wireless phone charging pad and a KRELL premium sound system.

The latest Bluelink smartphone app allows owners to locate, lock and unlock their Tucson, as well as checking fuel levels and integrating their Apple or Google calendar onto the centre touchscreen.

Added space and comfort

Otherwise, the attempt to go premium extends to the textured stalks on the steering wheel column, hinting at the exterior’s design cues, while ambient lighting can be found in the door bins and on the lower centre console with 64 colours to choose from.

In terms of trim, customers can choose from teal, black or two-tone black and beige colour schemes finished in fabric or leather. For the first time, rear passengers can have their own climate control setting as well as heated seats, while those up front can choose between heated or cooled.

Hyundai Tucson 2020 interior ambient lighting

There’s also a Rear Sleep Mode function that turns off the rear speakers to prevent those sat in the rear from being disturbed while those up front continue to listen to audio. However, we're struggling to see how this differs from adjusting the Fade levels in the sound settings menu in every other car, so we’ll have to find out when the Tucson arrives.

Is it practical?

The slightly larger proportions result in boot space increasing by 33 litres and rear legroom by 26mm, while the driver can also remotely adjust the front passenger seat to allow the rear-seat passenger to spread out a little more - a feature normally found on more expensive luxury cars.

The battery in the hybrid models is placed under the rear seat to minimise intrusion, with boot space claimed to be 546 litres for the mild hybrid diesel. However, for maximum load-carrying capacity, the conventional petrol engine betters this with 620 litres.

Safety equipment includes lane-keeping assist, rear cross traffic alert, driver attention warning, navigation-based adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking that can detect a car, pedestrian, cyclist or animal.

Mild hybrids for most

In terms of size, the engine range is very simple - they're all 1.6-litres. Kicking off the range is a T-GDI petrol producing 150hp (with optional four wheel drive available), and a 115hp diesel – both of these come with a six speed manual

If you want a 48v mild hybrid system, you can choose from a 150hp with two-wheel drive, or a more powerful 180hp with optional four-wheel drive. Both are available with a six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed DCT automatic.

If you want a diesel MHEV, then there’s the 136hp version strictly with a seven-speed DCT and optional four-wheel drive.

Hyundai Tucson 2020 wheel

Three drive modes named Eco, Normal and Sport are available, but the four-wheel drive models also come with Mud, Sand and Snow.

A hybrid with 230hp and 350Nm will be available, with either two- or four-wheel drive. The system is mated to a six-speed auto along with a 44.2kW electric motor and 1.49kWh battery.

A plug-in hybrid will be available at the beginning of 2021, along with the sportier-looking N-Line trim.

What this means for you

The days of dull-driving Hyundai SUVs are over. Hyundai mentioned the Nurburgring when it came to explaining away the Tucson's improved road manners over the old one. But we shouldn't automatically expect this SUV to be compromising comfort for sporty handling.

What’s perhaps more interesting for buyers will be the option of adaptive dampers, which should improve comfort, while even the conventional ones have been revised to improve on-road behaviour. Whichever one you choose, the new Tucson should be a little more polished than the outgoing one.

Hyundai Tucson 2020 rear

Stay tuned for full pricing and spec details as well as an on-sale date in the UK.

Further reading

>> How does the outgoing Hyundai Tucson fare against rivals?

>> Best hybrid SUVs

>> Best new cars coming in 2020