2019 Hyundai Tucson Active X Review
Isaac Bober’s 2019 Hyundai Tucson Active X review with price, specs, performance, ride and handling, ownership, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: Hyundai has tweaked the Tucson to improve its competitiveness, comfort and driveability.
2019 Hyundai Tucson Active X Specifications
Price From $31,350+ORC (manual) Warranty five-years, unlimited kilometres Service Intervals 12 months or 15,000km Safety five-star ANCAP Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol Power 122kW at 6200rpm Torque 205Nm at 4000rpm Transmission six-speed manual or six-speed automatic Drive front-wheel drive Dimensions 4480mm long, 1850mm wide, 1655mm high (1660mm high with roof rails), 2670mm wheelbase Turning Circle 11m Seats five Boot Space 488L-1478L Spare full-size Weight 1520-1620kg (automatic) Towing 1200kg (120kg towball download) Fuel Tank 62L Thirst 7.8L/100km
The Hyundai Tucson is Hyundai’s best-selling SUV and the fourth-best seller in its segment and Hyundai believes, nay is hoping, that this new model with its exterior and interior tweaks and improved safety package, as well as the introduction of a new entry-level model, that buyers will flock to it.
What’s the price and what’s in the range?
We’re testing the 2WD Active X variant with an automatic transmission which sits one up from the bottom and is priced from $33,850+ORC. The manual Active X variant lists from $31,350, while the all-wheel drive Active X variant with a diesel engine lists at $35,950+ORC. Premium paint costs $595, a beige interior costs $295 while adding Hyundai’s active safety suite, called Smart Sense, costs $2200 but isn’t available on models with a manual transmission.
Adding to the standard features on the entry-level Go, the Actiive X gets an 8.0-inch infotainment screen (up from 7.0-inches in the Go), native sat-nav with live traffic and lifetime map updates, rear parking sensors, a tyre pressure monitoring system and an Infinity stereo system. Our test car featured the cost-optional SmartSense package.
What’s the interior and practicality like?
The Active X gets standard perforated leather and it looks and feels great with a thickness to it that suggests it’ll stand up to family life. Our test car had the standard black leather interior and I liked it. Some will argue that the interior of the Tucson is perhaps too dark and conservative, I’m not so sure the cost-optional beige interior while lightening the interior significantly, would be the best choice for those with kids.
The updated Tucson is following in the wheel tracks of other Hyundai models with its floating dash and the tablet-style infotainment system. The idea behind the floating dash is that it creates a sense of width across the cabin making it feel wider than it is.
There’s plenty of storage inside the Tucson with door bins accommodating bottle holders that’ll take a 500ml bottle, centre-mounted cup holders of different sizes which I reckon is a nice touch, and a couple of smaller bins at the base of the dashboard; there’s no wireless charging on the Active X. The USB and sundry other power outlets are in this bottom storage bin. The centre console storage is nice and deep too.
The front seats are broad to ensure universal appeal no matter your body type, but there’s enough support in the right places that drives of all shapes and sizes will feel comfortable behind the wheel. There’s good adjustment on the seat in both the back and base for the driver (there’s no height adjust for the passenger seat in anything but the top-spec Elite variant), and reach and height adjust on the steering wheel.
Over in the back of the Tucson and there’s plenty of room for adults to sit comfortably. With the front seat set-up for me, I had plenty of legroom in the back and there’s good foot wiggle room too. You can often get away with a little leg room if you can fit your feet underneath the seats in front. There’s good headroom in the back and even the middle seat, while it lacks the shape of the two outboard seats, would be usable for shorter drives.
There are no directional air vents in the back of the Active X but there are ventilation pipes under the front seats directing hot or cold air into the back. There’s a charging outlet on the back of the centre console, a fold-down armrest with cup holders and net storage pockets on the backs of the front seats.
The boot offers a standard 498 litres of storage space which grows 14678 litres when the back seats (60:40) are folded down. The boot is a good square shape and there’s no boot lip making it a cinch to load and unload items from the boot. There are a couple of hooks and cargo tie-down points and a full-size spare beneath the boot floor. All variants, except the entry-level Go, get an alloy spare.
What are the controls and infotainment like?
The standard tablet-style infotainment system (now in line with Hyundai’s other SUVs) on the Active X is excellent with native sat-nav and live traffic updates as well as audible warnings for things like speed cameras, and more. The system also offers Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity for those who prefer to play in their own smartphone universe. The screen is 8.0-inches and is touch sensitive but also offers shortcut buttons around the outside to make deep diving easy.
The weather during the week I had the Tucson ranged from rain to brilliant sunshine and in all conditions the screen was easy to read, with a resistance to both blowing out in glare and fingerprint smudges.
Beyond the infotainment system, other controls for air-con are easy to use and require no familiarisation time. There are buttons to switch off the lane keep assist and more and these too are easy to use. All the switch gear is well laid out and within easy reach of the driver.
What’s the performance like?
The Active X is available with either 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. Our test car was a petrol variant. There’s 122kW at 6200rpm and 205Nm of torque at 4000rpm. Granted, these aren’t the sort of numbers that get you feeling tingly but for a family-oriented SUV it always feels like there’s ‘enough’ grunt and while the six-speed automatic can be a little sluggish with its shifts at low speeds it smooths out once you hit a steady speed.
Loaded up with the whole family and some small bags proved trouble-free for the Tucson and only on some of the steeper hills around my place did it struggle to maintain the desired speed, needing a thump of a gear change to get the revs back up.
Fuel consumption is okay at a claimed combined 7.8L/100km. On test, we realised 8.1L/100km across a mix of driving and after travelling almost 600 kilometres.
What’s the ride and handling like?
Hyundai is rightly proud of its local tuning program, with all vehicles, except iMax and iLoad, receiving extensive testing and tuning Down Under. This new Tucson was no different with Hyundai not only using its local team for tuning work, but working alongside an engineer from ZF Sachs.
Hyundai says it was already happy with the way the old Tucson rode and handled but this new one gets faster steering (2.51 down from 2.71), redesigned front strut tops, redesigned rear assist arms and bushes, thicker rear forward locating arms with redesigned bushes. In addition, the local engineering team assessed 14 front and 35 rear damper setups. The spring rate was increased for the new Tucson.
But the proof is in the pudding and the Tucson doesn’t disappoint. Across the PM road loop which is a mess of dirt roads, twisting country backroads, highway sections and some of the worst pock-marked roads you’ll find the Tucson proved comfortable and quiet. Body control through corners is good with little body roll and the thump control is excellent with out-of-nowhere holes smothered without fuss – you don’t feel them but you almost don’t hear them either because of the extra insulation in the wheel arches. The steering is light but the action is direct and consistent in its response.
Across dirt the front-drive Tucson proved comfortable and grippy with a traction and stability control system(s) designed to keep you moving rather than killing progress clumsily. Sure, if you are doing a lot of dirt road work then the all-wheel drive variant would be the best way forward but for the occasional dirty jaunt then the 2WD Tucson will be fine.
What’s it like to park?
A cinch. With the cost-option SmartSense package you get front and rear parking sensors as well as a bunch of active safety systems. Vision is good all around the vehicle and the reversing camera has dynamic guide lines. The side mirrors, at first glance, seem a little small but in practice are excellent. The steering, as mentioned, is now faster which manoeuvring in tight spaces even easier.
Does it have a spare?
Yes, a full-size alloy beneath the boot floor.
Can you tow with it?
Yes, but not a lot. The sticker says it’ll tow a maximum braked 1600kg but the towball download on our Active X tester is only 120kg. The GVM is 2090kg but Hyundai doesn’t list the GCM although it does the list the ‘permissible’ axle load for the front and rear as 1280kg and 1150kg. The roof rack load limit is 100kg.
What about ownership?
Hyundai’s five-year unlimited kilometre warranty is one of the best on the market, but other makers, like Peugeot, Ford and Holden have caught up. It also offers a pre-paid service plan for three, four or five years but you’ll need to have your vehicle serviced by the dealer for this to count, pricing for the Active X automatic we tested runs from $825 for three years, $1230 for four years and $1505 for five years.
What about safety features?
This updated Tucson continues the old car’s five-star ANCAP rating and, you’d imagine, with the SmartSense suite the vehicle would realise that if it was tested under the new ANCAP/EuroNCAP regime. Moving on, as standard there are six airbags, traction and stability controls, downhill brake control, hill-start assist, reversing camera with dynamic lines, three top tether anchors and ISOFIX latches.
Our Active X had been fitted with the cost-optional SmartSense pack which adds Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop & Go, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) System, Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW) and High Beam Assist (HBA).