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Hyundai Tucson goes plug-in for the first time

Hyundai to introduce PHEV version of Tucson SUV in spring 2021

Hyundai is expanding the range of electrified powertrains for the latest version of its mid-sized SUV, the Tucson. Joining the range in spring 2021 will be a new plug-in hybrid version, joining the mild and regular hybrid versions already available and offering an emissions-free option for buyers.

It's the first time Hyundai's medium SUV has been made available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, but it's a natural progression given that many rivals have now gone down that route. With the brand's new design language, a long spec list and low emissions, the PHEV version is likely to bolster the sales of what is already Hyundai's best-selling SUV.

Powertrain

At the heart of the Tucson Plug-in Hybrid is a powertrain shared with the car's big brother – the forthcoming 2021 Santa Fe. It's based around Hyundai's latest-generation 'Smartstream' 1.6-litre T-GDI turbo petrol engine which employs a number of features to maximise efficiency. Alongside the petrol motor is an 89.7bhp electric motor to give a total system power of 261bhp and 258lb-ft of torque.

Electricity is stored in a 13.8kWh lithium polymer battery which should be good for 31 miles on the WLTP cycle – though the Tucson is yet to be fully homologated for Europe. A 7.2kW on-board charger should see a full charge restored from a home wall box in around 1hour 45 minutes.

Power is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed auto transmission, which is standard across the PHEV range. Hyundai's HTRAC four-wheel drive management technology is also standard, and should allow for a decent level of off-road capability. Aiding the HTRAC is an optional electronically controlled suspension (ECS) system which uses adaptive damping alter the car's driving characteristics depending on the situation, or driving mode (Eco or Sport).

All-new exterior design

From what we've seen so far, the new Hyundai Tucson will be one of the better looking SUVs in its class, bringing with it the latest iteration of Hyundai's design language. Sharper lines, new angles and a front-end which is both more exaggerated and more ostentatious than the previous car make it stand-out among the crowd.

New signature parametric hidden headlights are a nice touch and are eye-catching whether the lights are illuminated or not. Also up-front is a new active air flap that adjusts the flow of air depending on the engine temperature and vehicle speed. This not only improves warm-up times and overall cooling efficiency, it improves the Tucson's aerodynamics for better range and more miles to the gallon.

Interior features

Placing the Tucson’s battery underneath the body ensures that space isn't detrimentally impacted. Boot space is up by nine per cent compared to the previous generation car, offering 558 litres with the seats up, or 1737 with them folded – a 15 per cent increase. Rear seat passengers get more leg room, too, with almost a metre available.

Up front there's a 10.25 inch digital cluster as well as a 10.25 inch touchscreen display which houses Hyundai Bluelink connected car services – which includes battery management and car settings on the plug-in. A range of driving assistance and safety systems make the Tucson best-in-class in this area and include hands-free parking, lane keep assist with adaptive speed based on navigation, parking collision avoidance and numerous others.

Price and availability 

Update 10.03.21: Hyundai has announced the prices of its Tucson Plug-in Hybrid. Two trim levels are available, with the Premium version priced from £39,330 and coming with 18 inch wheels, LED front and rear lights, 10.25 inch touchscreen with nav plus Bluelink connected car services. The Ultimate version is priced from £42,030 and adds 19 inch wheels, leather seat facings, a panoramic glass sunroof and an electric tailgate. It is due to go on sale shortly.  

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