Hyundai Tucson 30th anniversary road test and review
WHERE were you in 1986?
It was the year the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after take-off, disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station and Mad Cow Disease carved a path through the United Kingdom.
Bob Hawke was the Prime Minister, Crocodile Dundee was playing at the movies and Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love was on the airwaves.
It was also when Korean motor company Hyundai first dipped its toes into the Australian market.
Thirty years on they celebrated their arrival with a special edition of the Hyundai Tucson, one of the country's best selling mid-size SUVs.
The 30 Anniversary Edition Tucson is based on the entry level Active X with a new engine choice and spruced up exterior.
Only 300 examples of the $37,750 Tucson have been produced, while there are a further 300 similar specials for its seven-seat Hyundai big brother, the Santa Fe.
There is little to distinguish the anniversary edition from the Active X on the inside, in fact nothing really.
There is the same attention to detail, good finishing and practical placement, but no commemorative badging or fancy funky colours.
The seats are a mix of real and fake leather and are more comfortable up front than in the rear but you can't fault their spaciousness.
The boot starts at a decent 488-litres and can stretch to 1478-litres with rear seats folded should you need it.
Two ISOFIX anchor points add to the practicality as does good in-cabin storage options and door bins that are deep enough to be useful.
On the road
The Tucson 30 sports a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine borrowed from the Tucson Elite, partnered with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
It has just 9kW more power than the Active X but 62Nm more torque and it is the immediate delivery of the latter across the rev range that makes the real difference here.
The Tucson is an accomplished drive: quiet, confident and smooth despite its inevitable SUV weight.
Handling is good, the all-wheel-drive inspiring sportier driving and there is little understeer unless you get a tad over-enthusiastic.
As is often the case, the dual-clutch automatic is better once the Tucson is well under way rather than in slow moving traffic, but otherwise feels very well mated to the engine.
What do you get?
The fare here is identical to that of the Active X with cruise control, reversing camera, rear sensors, LED running lights featuring on the list of standard inclusions.
There is no satellite navigation though, which is cheeky, but there is CarPlay and Android Auto so you can hook in your own Smartphone to access maps.
Styling-wise you do get some goodies as part of the 30 year celebration.
There are matte grey sidesteps, black 19-inch alloys and a new rear bumper with twin exhausts gives this anniversary edition Tucson some seriously sporty allure.
It complements the appeal of the Tucson's already appealing flowing lines and works well with the paint choice too: blue metallic in this case, which looks beautiful with the dark rims.
Official figures stand at 7.7l/100km but we were closer to 10l/100km for most of our week.
The Tucson comes with a five year unlimited kilometre warranty, 12 months roadside assist and a fixed lifetime service plan.
The Tucson makes perfect sense for a family of four or couples looking to downsize but still want height and space.
The 30's offerings of a smarter exterior, all-wheel-drive and a more powerful engine for around $4,000 more than the entry-level Active X is pretty compelling.
The Hyundai Tucson 30 is a suitable marking of an important milestone for the brand in Australia.
It has matured from a cheap wannabe to an undertaking that offers value-for-money, technological savvy and eye-catching design.
This celebratory Tucson is a decent reflection of all that's making Hyundai so popular in Australia today.
Model: Hyundai Tucson 30 Anniversary Edition.
Details: Five-door all-wheel-drive medium SUV.
Engine: 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol generating maximum power of 130kW @ 5500rpm and peak torque of 165Nm @ 1500-4500rpm.
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto.
Consumption: 7.7 litres/100km combined.
Bottom line plus on roads: From $37,750.
Driving experience 17/20
Features and equipment 16/20
Functionality and comfort 18/20
Value for money 18/20
Style and design 17/20
What matters most
What we liked: Dynamics and handling, stunning styling, value for money.
What we'd like to see: Sat nav and a bit more active safety equipment.
Warranty and Servicing: 5 year unlimited kilometre warranty with lifetime capped-price servicing.