Hyundai Tucson plug-in hybrid review: A pricey power option, but well worth considering

I first tested the Hyundai Tucson[1] a while ago, and it felt like a really good iteration of a brand we've been familiar with since 2004. I wasn't sold on the looks, and I'm still not convinced they've grown on me, but overall the car was a solid performer. I've just spent a week testing the new plug-in hybrid version, and it's the most expensive option for the Tucson,[2] but this is a car that offers good value for money in plenty of areas, so that's not too much of a concern.

Roughly speaking, opting for the plug-in version will command a GBP10,000 premium over the petrol version, and there are hybrid options in between this price gap, but given the economy and tax advantages, it's a price plenty will be willing to pay.

The plug-in architecture is based around the same 1.6-litre engine you'll find across the range, but it offers up more power, so you'll get a healthy 261bhp overall, with the 66.9kw electric motor capable of silently whisking you along for 31 miles thanks to its 13.8kw battery. This version will also offer four-wheel drive as standard, which helps with acceleration and grip, and that alone might be enough for some to justify the cost.

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4. You'll be contacted by the fitting provider to make an appointment That said, the plug-in hybrid is actually slightly slower off the mark than the two-wheel drive hybrid version, with a 0-60 time of 8.6 seconds over the hybrid's 8.0 seconds.

But it's barely noticeable in real terms, it still feels punchy. My test car came in Ultimate trim, which is a bit of a tech-fest. The interior is far more conventional than the exterior, but still a nice place to be.

The central touch screen is a good size, and easy to use, and it's great to see plenty of physical buttons.

Even in the lowlier models, though, the spec sheet is brimming with goodies, which is perhaps one of the reasons the car is proving so popular. It's good to drive, too. The extra weight of the plug-in hybrid system isn't really noticeable, body roll is kept in check nicely, and it's a superb chariot for motorway blasts.

The plug-in system is, obviously better suited to short commutes and you can expect to get at least 20 miles out of a full charge. Exploit this properly and fuel economy will be measured in three figures, but if the battery's empty you should still be able to achieve upwards of 50mpg.

It adds a lot of benefits to the package, then. But does it add enough to justify the price premium?

It's worth bearing in mind it's a much smaller leap up from the hybrid versions and, if you regularly charge it the amounts you could save are obvious. And that leaves it down to personal circumstances. If you can make it work for you, the plug-in version adds plenty into the mix, without really taking anything away.

And that's a perfect reason to choose it, if you can justify the cost.


  1. ^ Hyundai Tucson (
  2. ^ Tucson, (
  3. ^ Clever budget Amazon device turn your car's touchscreen into a smart tablet- I tried a pricier version with extra features (
  4. ^ I tried an Amazon heated massage seat that adds a luxury feel to any car (
  5. ^ Learn more (