Our resolution this year has been to do even more together as a family; to take every opportunity for adventure and embrace ever chance to try something new.
We don’t actually have a family car, instead tending to rent whenever we need one, so when Hyundai loaned us their 2016 Hyundai Tucson SE diesel model – a compact SUV aimed very much at the family market – we made the most of it, putting it to use for everything from trips out and about, to the typical shopping trips and general errands you’d expect as part of day-to-day family life.
Here are the highlights what we got up to…
Visit family and exploring Lincolnshire
Both Mark and I have family in Lincoln, so that was a no-brainer for our first stop, but Mark had to work for the first part of week, so my mum took on driving duty and we took the Tuscon back to Lincoln, dropping in to see Mark’s lovely mum (or Nan as the kids call her).
It always feels lovely to catch up with family, and the kids had an especially lovely time, running around in her garden, playing with her dogs, bringing her up to date on what they’d been up to at school and nursery, and generally just enjoying their visit.
Before heading back to my mums, we took a drive around the villages surrounding Lincoln. It’s a famously flat county, but it really does have some pretty fields and woodlands, so I really do recommend you visit.
We even stopped off to have a chat with some sheep – this one was particularly friendly!
Petting horses in Bransby
In the morning, we rose early and took the Tucson to Bransby Horses Rescue and Welfare in Lincoln.
Bransby Horses is entirely funded by public donations, and aims to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.
Alongside Bransby Horses’ other site in Herefordshire, the charity has over 450 animals in its care. The staff are all really lovely, and all of the animals are beautifully well cared for.
The Lincoln site is open to the public every day, and it’s a lovely, educational place to visit with children.
The charity runs an adoption scheme to help support their running costs, so I helped JD and Jay to adopt a donkey each, so we are now proudly supporting Domino and Nipper.
We stopped off for a quick drink and snack in the cafe, and then headed home, with the kids already demanding to know when we’d be visiting again.
Having arrived home from Lincoln just as Mark returned from his work trip, we decided to spend the weekend a little further afield, and so took the Tucson on a day trip to Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire, just 25 miles from our home in Nottingham.
Twycross is a great venue for a family day out. It’s not too big, but there’s more than enough there to keep you entertained for a full day. It’s a specialist primate zoo, with a huge variety of monkeys and apes, but there are also lots of other mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates to meet, with daily talks at each of the main enclosures.
Many of the animals at Twycross are part of Conservation Breeding Programmes, which help protect species on the brink of extinction.
As well as the zoo, there are lots of other fun things to see and do at Twycross. There’s a multi-level soft play (perfect for bad weather days), a nature reserve, outdoor play areas, indoor and outdoor picnic areas, and plenty of food and drink available onsite.
We really enjoyed our trip to Twycross Zoo and since it’s such an easy journey to get there, we’ll be going again soon to enjoy another fun family day out.
Thoughts on the Hyundai Tucson
Buying a new car can be a significant investment, so naturally we all want to find the one that best suits our needs. If it’s a family car you’re looking for, those needs can add up to a pretty long list.
Because we have kids, we’re generally interested in practical features such as comfort, boot capacity, safety and of course any clever technology that makes family journeys easier.
However, that doesn’t mean we no longer want our car to look good, feel great to drive, and perform efficiently. Ideally, we want all of these features packed into one clever car.
So does the Hyundai Tucson live up to all those demands? Well it’s is a Compact SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle), which in practical terms, means it’s a high-riding car, built on a rugged chassis, with four-wheel-drive which allows it to drive comfortably off-road.
Compact SUVs have become a popular choice for families, as they combine lots of practical features with great safety records, good looks and impressive performance.
From the outside, the Tucson looks pretty great – not at all like your average family car. There are lovely curving lines, sleek alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and tinted windows. The whole thing has a solid but sporty feel.
The good looks continue inside, and we got the impression that attention to detail was a key consideration in the development of this model. The cabin feels nice and spacious, with plenty of room in the back for the kids. The instrument panel isn’t too cluttered, and the controls are arranged ergonomically, so everything is literally at your fingertips. The steering column is adjustable, as is the driver’s seat height, lumbar support and head restraints – great for those days out when the adults share the driving.
Now obviously, with a family car, it’s not just the driver who needs to feel comfortable, and the Tucson has plenty of features which really focus on the other passengers in the car. All the seats are heated, which was brilliant when we returned to the car after a chilly walk.
There’s also dual zone climate control which allows you to maintain the perfect temperature, this is a particularly great feature for us as J always feels ill in hot, stuffy cars and no one wants to have to pass the sick bowl!
I was really keen to see if the Tucson would measure up from a practicality point of view, for me this is an area where a family car can either make travelling so much easier, or so much harder!
For the kids, there are cup holders in the rear arm rest, storage pockets on the back of the front seats, Isofix child seat anchorage points, and childproof rear door locks.
For the adults, you’ve got rear parking sensors, remote control boot, arm rest storage, bottle holders, DAB digital radio with MP3 compatibility, bluetooth and USB connection. There’s even a cooling function in the glove compartment, perfect for picnics and keeping baby food chilled on the go.
With two young kids we don’t really travel light, so the boot is a really important part of the car for us, and practicality is particularly important here. The Tucson has a generous boot (not always the case with Compact SUVs), which is perfectly big enough for the family’s cases. You could easily fit a buggy in there too.
There’s a light, a 12V power outlet, and luggage hooks and net which stop things rolling around if the boot isn’t full. And should you need to transport something seriously big, the rear seats fold down to create a huge space.
Safety is top of our list for a family car – I’m sure I’m no exception, so it’s good to see that Hyundai have recognised this when designing the Tucson, with loads of safety features built in.
There are the obvious things like airbags (front, front seat side and curtain), height adjustable front seatbelts and anti-lock brakes (ABS), and the four-wheel-drive system gives you improved grip in slippery conditions. But there are also some really clever features that I hadn’t come across before. When cornering at night, the headlights project a beam of light in the direction you want to travel. The tyre pressure is constantly monitored, so you can adapt your driving should a puncture occur. There’s even a warning system which alerts you if you stray across a lane without indicating. Reassuring stuff.
So what’s the Tucson like to drive? Pretty great. It’s so comfortable, and the controls are accessible with minimal effort. There’s cruise control too, great for those long motorway journeys, not that you get much chance to use it on UK roads.
The Tucson comes with five years unlimited mileage warranty, and ten years anti-perforation warranty. You also get an annual vehicle health check for the first five years, which will no doubt appeal to families looking for peace of mind without incurring additional cost.
We really liked the Tucson. It’s practical and safe, but it also looks great and is fun to drive. It makes clever use of technology to improve your driving and passenger experience, and in our day-to-day family life it coped really well. Would it tick all the boxes for your family?
Hyundai loaned us the car for the purposes of this post. The features mentioned are specific to the Hyundai Tucson SE model we reviewed, other models are available and features vary according to model.