The name of Hyundai Motor Company is getting more and more famous in Europe, where competition for eco-friendly SUVs is fierce. The Tucson PHEV took first place in the plug-in hybrid SUV comparison test conducted by Auto Bild, a traditional German automobile magazine. The Tucson PHEV scored high in various categories such as powertrain, driving performance, and eco-friendliness. Here is the detailed story of how the Tucson PHEV won in this comparison test.
The European automobile market is highly interested in plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) that have the advantages of electric vehicles and internal combustion engine vehicles at the same time. With both consumers and automakers interested in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, people are particularly interested in plug-in hybrid SUVs. Hyundai Motor Company is also strengthening its eco-friendly SUV lineup by adding a plug-in hybrid model to the compact SUV Tucson.
Since plug-in hybrid SUVs are popular in Europe, automakers from Germany, England, France, and Japan are fiercely competing in the market. Auto Bild also carried out comparison tests with various models with high competitiveness in the global market, such as Hyundai Tucson PHEV, Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV, Peugeot 3008 PHEV, and Toyota RAV4 PHEV. Tucson and its competitors are urban SUVs of similar size, all combining a plug-in hybrid system and a permanent all-wheel drive (AWD) system, with a four-cylinder gasoline engine or less.
For a systematic and professional test drive, Auto Bild evaluated in detail such as body, comfort, powertrain, driving dynamics, connectivity, eco-friendliness, and price. Then they added scores through actual measurement for accuracy of the test. Here, the Tucson PHEV received good reviews in most categories. Especially when it comes to the body, the Tucson PHEV and Discovery Sport PHEV were rated as having a well-made cabin.
Auto Bild praised the huge cabin and cargo space of the Tucson PHEV, which improved space utilization based on a long wheelbase. In addition, the center fascia design, which created a future-oriented user environment using a 10.25-inch display, received positive evaluations. Thanks to this, the Tucson PHEV evenly obtained high scores in passenger space in the first two rows, vision, openness, practicality, and payload among body details.
In the comfort category, the Tucson PHEV received good reviews. By getting the highest score in the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), it not only widened the gap with its competitors, but also acquired scores in various areas such as ride comfort, passenger comfort in the first two rows, easy operation, ride comfort, and convenience. In this regard, Auto Bild praised the first-row seat of the Tucson PHEV, which has excellent comfort and body support, saying, “The side bolsters are moderately thick.”
In fact, this comparison test was never advantageous to the Tucson PHEV. Because it was equipped with a 1.6T engine with a slightly weaker system power among competitors, it was expected that the ranking would drop in the powertrain category, which focuses on power. Nevertheless, Auto Bild left favorable reviews about the Tucson PHEV, saying, “The powertrain that combines the engine with 1.6T engine and the 6-speed automatic transmission exceeds expectations.”
In this comparison test, the Tucson PHEV made the biggest impression on people in terms of driving dynamics. It has been highly evaluated regarding driving safety, straight-ahead motion, agility, steering performance, and traction, demonstrating the highest level of skill in detailed items representing the vehicle's dynamic driving performance. In particular, in the braking test to make the car come to a complete stop at 100 km/h, it recorded the shortest braking distance in both cold and hot conditions, indicating that it has strong braking power compared to competitors. In addition, Auto Bild mentioned a balanced driving performance and a steering system that enables precise steering as characteristics of the Tucson PHEV related to driving dynamics.
As this comparison test is a place to verify the competitiveness of plug-in hybrid vehicles, people paid attention to eco-friendliness. For reference, the eco-friendliness category comprehensively evaluates body size, weight, carbon dioxide emissions, fuel efficiency, external noise, and the level of green technology. Here, the Tucson PHEV scored the highest for its relatively light body, similar to that of an internal combustion engine vehicle, despite being equipped with both an internal combustion engine and an electrified powertrain system such as an engine, transmission, motor, and battery. The Tucson PHEV weighs 1,854 kg, which is about 380 kg lighter than the heaviest Discovery Sport PHEV. In addition, the Tucson PHEV received high scores in areas such as voice recognition, audio system, and navigation in the connected category that examines the completeness of the infotainment system.
As a result of various evaluations of Auto Bild, the Tucson PHEV was overall excellent in most items including 96 points for the body, 112 points for comfort, 85 points for powertrain, 78 points driving dynamics, 54 points for connectivity, 55 points for eco-friendliness, and 63 points for price. It was ranked first with a total score of 543 points.
Another notable thing is that the Tucson PHEV was ranked as the best car after competing with the expensive vehicle Discovery Sport PHEV in almost all categories. The Tucson PHEV is about 20% cheaper than the Discovery Sport PHEV, earning a good score in the price category. However, setting aside the price category, the Tucson PHEV scored 480 points, still three points ahead of the Discovery Sports PHEV. Auto Bild referred to the Tucson PHEV, which ranked first in the comparison test, as “a versatile all-rounder” and said that it was excellent in many ways without any major drawbacks.
Since its launch in 2004, the Hyundai Tucson has marked more than 7 million cumulative global sales. Last year, it became the automaker's best-selling model, establishing itself as a signature model of Hyundai Motor Company. In the case of the 3rd generation model, not only was it ranked as the ‘2016 Spain Car of the Year’, but it was also named as the best in its segment twice by the Initial Quality Study conducted by J.D. Power, a representative market research company in the United States (2015, 2020).
The 4th generation Tucson gets the praises in the global market as well. The British automobile magazine Auto Express evaluated the 4th generation Tucson as “having the qualities to be a leader”, and the British automobile magazine Autocar said it was “a very reasonable and recommendable family SUV”. Meanwhile, the Tucson 1.6T 48V mild-hybrid was recently selected as the best vehicle after the compact SUV comparison test conducted by the German automobile magazine Auto Zeitung, beating out the Ford Kuga, Seat Ateca, and Mazda CX-5. In the hybrid SUV comparison test, Tucson was chosen by Auto Bild, beating Ford Kuga FHEV and Mazda CX-30 e-SkyActive Hybrid its level of competitiveness were surely recognized. Hyundai Tucson is expanding its presence in the eco-friendly SUV segment in major global markets. And positive feedback about Tucson still continues.
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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