Getting the once over this time was the range topping Hyundai Tucson Highlander with a diesel engine and All-Wheel Drive.
With all the mod-cons, power, handling and styling, it’s high regard amongst buyers is justified.
From the outset, the Tucson is an attractive machine with just the right proportions for this size SUV.
With nice curves and not too blocky, the body sits on large 19” alloy wheels enhancing the robustness of the Highlander, not to mention the vehicle I had came in a striking blue colour.
As a whole the drive was comfortable, a combination of the plush leather seats and stable solid chassis.
Car-like manoeuvrability provides a dynamic drive experience and makes you forget you’re in an SUV.
The 2.0 litre turbo engine has a lot of power to burn and while there is some lag, this doesn’t hinder the overall drive.
Sport mode can be a little jumpy and not so necessary in my opinion with enough oomph in the normal drive mode.
Even if you drive it in the performance mode with a bit of lead foot, the diesel Tucson still produces great fuel economy at only 9.3kL/100km.
The inside is equally appealing with powered, vented and heated leather seats, a touch screen with sat nav and simple, straightforward switchgear.
To say the dashboard is bland would be unfair, rather it’s understated, but then again so are many European cars.
One minor point that brings down the appeal is the hard black plastic adorning the dash and doors does give it a more based model feel.
Being the top of the range spec it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention a couple of fancy inclusions like the fantastically large panoramic sunroof and powered tailgate.
Open the blind fully and it not only lets in more light but provides an air of spaciousness.
It’s not fixed so you can open the front half like a standard sunroof for more ventilation.
The powered tailgate is a great convenience easily opened or closed with the push of a button on the door, key or from the driver’s dash.
But if you’re carrying an armful of stuff, standing behind the vehicle with proximity key in your pocket and the door will rise by itself.
The highlander is also built for harder work, fitted with a 4WD lock and hill descent control button plus a tow bar at the back.
With 400Nm worth of torque, the Highlander is capable of towing the biggest of loads up to 1600kg braked.
Hyundai is testing a trailer brake control module option but we’ll let you know if it becomes available.
A couple of handy tools in this grade of Tucson are the tyre pressure monitor and a compass in the corner of the auto dimming rear view mirror.
This is great if you want to know which direction you’re facing like I do.
Storage is always great in a Hyundai, especially the centre console tray where I like to chuck my sunglasses, phone, remote etc. with no care.
The boot is a satisfactory size and comes with a cargo blind, though the lack of seat release switch in the back to lower the rear seats to increase the space is a letdown.
And the Tucson comes with a five star ANCAP safety rating and a five year unlimited kilometre warranty.
The Hyundai Tucson Highlander is priced from $47,450.
Next time we look at the Hyundai Tucson Elite.
NUTS and BOLTS 2017 Hyundai Tucson Highlander
Engine: 2.0L turbo diesel producing 136kW and 400Nm
Transmission: Six-speed Sports Automatic
Warranty: 5 Year/Unlimited km
Safety: Five Stars
Origin: Czech Republic
Price: From $47,450