After petrol and diesel, the Hyundai Tucson is now also available as a plug-in hybrid, which is intended to convince fleet operators in particular with its low CO2 emissions and subsidy premium. How does it fare against the Audi Q3 Sportback, Peugeot 3008 and VW Tiguan with similar technology and 250 to 300 system horsepower?
How about the environmental bonus? It runs until the end of 2025, and from a leasing period of twelve months applies to plug-in hybrids: With the manufacturer's share, the subsidy is EUR 3,375 (net) with a net list price of up to EUR 40,000, for the price range up to EUR 65,000 it is EUR 2,812. There is nothing more than that, when buying or leasing from 23 months more - leasing is the rule.
Unlike the company car tax, only the price of the model without special equipment is relevant for the premium. According to the BAFA list, the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 300 e GT Pack and the Audi Q3 Sportback S line 45 TFSI e fall into the lower subsidy, the Hyundai Tucson 1.6 T-GDI plug-in hybrid and the VW Tiguan eHybrid Elegance into the higher.
The financially most attractive part of the e-subsidy for company car drivers remains the tax for private use, halved to 0.5 percent of the gross purchase price, and the 0.03 percent per kilometer driven is also halved. The prerequisite is CO2 emissions of no more than 50 g/100 km or an electric range of at least 40 kilometers, with the value increasing to 60 kilometers in 2022 and 80 kilometers in 2025. This tax break does not expire until the end of 2030, and in some places there are other advantages such as free use of public parking spaces.
The popularity of plug-in hybrids is massively fueled by taxpayers' money, but not without public criticism: the batteries require rare earths, green electricity is not a requirement, and there is no check as to whether they are being charged at all. In any case, these compact SUVs also meet the range requirements in our test, and their CO2 emissions according to WLTP are a maximum of 38 grams.
At 52 kilometers, the Tiguan lags behind the Q3 (65 km), although both fully tanked up exactly 1,789 kg and uses the same powertrain used by other VW Group brands (Cupra, Seat, Skoda). Peugeot shares the drive components of the 3008 with the Opel Grandland and manages 67 km in the test. With a larger battery, the new Tucson even has a range of 79 km and charges a range of 20 kilometers in 29 minutes, which is the fastest (Audi: 69, Peugeot: 46, VW: 83).
Tucson: more than range
The drive of the Hyundai corresponds to that of the larger Kia Sorento: a 67 kW electric motor between the six-speed automatic and the 1.6-liter four-cylinder, plus a battery with a net capacity of 13.8 kWh . The 265 system hp are enough to surpass the manufacturer's specification of 191 km/h: According to the speedometer, it manages 210 with a little start-up and a charged battery and also keeps the pace.We measured the speedometer deviation at a speed of 180 with only 2 km/h.
Although its electric motor has a performance deficit in this group, it accelerates smoothly and quickly enough to 50 km/h in 4.8 seconds - the others, however, only need 3.6 to 3.8 seconds. At country road speed, however, a long 17.6 clicks pass, which means that it is five to seven seconds behind its rivals.
While in E-mode they only fire up their petrol engines when the kick-down button is pressed, the Tucson doesn't entirely leave control to the driver. Depending on the load, the turbocharged petrol engine kicks in from a good half of the accelerator pedal travel, without the process being communicated by pedal resistance, for example. You quickly find out how much you can accelerate without activating the combustion engine, but the behavior is not understandable. Because why else is there an automatic mode next to the electric and hybrid?
With the radio at room volume and the rev counter view inactive, you won't even notice when the petrol engine starts. This happens with the Hyundai quieter and smoother than with the others, and its interior insulation also keeps many disturbing influences out. Because although there is moderate wind noise on the freeway, you don't hear a large frequency component of a high-revving two-stroke scooter at all.
Comfort is also offered by the well-tuned optional chassis and the seats, although they only offer manual standard settings in addition to electric lumbar supports. Also – or mainly – because the door and center armrests are positioned high: put your elbows on both sides, grab the steering wheel with bent arms between the spokes, relax. This is possible in all test cars, but only here does it look like it was explicitly designed.
The materials also make a good impression; even if you turn the non-bassless standard music system louder, there are no additional vibrations. The "wrap" doors, which extend over the door sills and sills, are also practical so that they do not get dirty in slush.
On the other hand, the glossy black plate around the touchscreen for the many infotainment and air conditioning functions has proven to be a collection point for finger grease. Despite the sensible arrangement, the operating ergonomics would increase significantly with real buttons and rotary controls. As with Peugeot, there are also no knurled wheels for precise regulation of the air vents, which have to be pushed to the side to close them.
You can still get along properly, also with the infotainment and the navigation, whose additional display on the speedometer display only shows arrows. Even cloud-based voice input often only understands train stations. Another shortcoming is the mute function via the steering wheel button, which only does that – pausing (podcasts) is only possible via the touch field under the monitor.
Q3: Dynamics and comfort
The Audi is better there and is even best positioned in this round - not least because of the high-quality and functionally grandiose climate control with buttons plus three rotary controls. In other words, just like the Tiguan used to have, although not quite as elegantly packaged. Now VW has switched to a much harder to use but (presumably) cheaper touch unit. After all, it works even better than on the 3008, where the settings are entirely on the touchscreen.
Back to the Audi, which also has a few other buttons and an infotainment system that allows you to arrange the direct selection symbols on the side in your own way. The passenger is happy about a rotary volume control, which changes the songs with the tilt function. Unfortunately, nobody here has a rotary pushbutton, but the Q3 has the best child safety device: the windows and doors are locked using two buttons on the driver's side. With the others you have to work on the doors.
It is also distinguished by its quite sporty chassis design for this segment. With the optional adaptive dampers (only in the package with upgraded LED headlights) it springs supple, but slightly tightened and with the slightest body movements.
However, like the Tiguan in the slalom on the test site, it is slowed down by its ESP and tends to understeer even at cornering speeds, where the Tucson is still following the course it has taken. But these areas are probably of little relevance for the plug-in SUV, and up to this limit the Audi feels the sportiest with its direct steering and matching steering impulses.
In everyday life, the fact that its hybrid components take up some volume from the luggage compartment should prove to be more of a nuisance. Because of the 530 available with the normal Q3, only 380 liters remain with the TFSI e - about as much as with the Peugeot, while Hyundai and VW are over 500 liters.
VW and Audi use a six-speed dual-clutch transmission with an adjacent electric motor, which shifts up to fifth in urban areas, even in electric mode. For intermediate acceleration, the DCT has to shift down two or three gears, which takes a moment despite quick changes. In this scenario, the Hyundai's six-speed automatic selects a maximum of third, with only the Tucson not displaying the current gear on the speedometer. But he has standard shift paddles on the steering wheel - like the 3008 with its eight-speed automatic transmission that is just as good, while the paddles on the Tiguan and Q3 cost extra.
Even outstanding quality no longer seems to be part of the basic Audi equipment, because in terms of material and workmanship it is on par with the good Hyundai - slightly higher quality than the VW, noticeably better than the 3008.After all, the Q3 impresses with many nice details such as the lighting for the door sills of the S line and the brand logo above the glove compartment or the great climate control.
It remains to be clarified how well the plug-in hybrids are suitable for long-distance journeys. Under constant full load, sooner or later their performance is reduced to that of the combustion engine, which is confirmed by the performance data in the vehicle registration documents. But even with an empty battery, the 150 hp of the 1.4-liter engine from the VW group shelf is enough to drive reasonably quickly on the motorway. In winding areas there is always enough juice in the batteries to boost from the corners without any noticeable turbo lag. This is even more true of the 3008 and the less energetic Tucson.
Tiguan: the practical one
In the Q3, the current charge level can be maintained or increased with a combustion engine. Only in the Tiguan and 3008 can a specific charge level be reserved or aimed at when charging. The Tucson doesn't work either, and it also lacks the B mode with stronger recuperation that the others offer.
What's only in the Tiguan? So much leg room under the front seats. Without a doubt, the best place to sit is in the rear, because with the rear seat that can be moved and tilted (the Q3 also has it), there is plenty of headroom for this class and, at 770 mm, as much legroom as in the Tucson (Q3: 705, 3008: 710 ).
In the front it has extensively electrically adjustable seats that are only available with expensive Vienna leather. The longitudinally and height-adjustable center armrest, on the other hand, is standard, as is the case with the Audi, which also scores with strong lateral support, a tilting function and extendable leg rests on its manually adjustable sports seats.
The door pockets offer another Tiguan exclusive function: 1.5 liter bottles fit perfectly upright and do not protrude into the interior, you only have to squeeze them very slightly on the rear doors. In addition, there is a three-part folding rear seat bench as in the Q3 and Tucson (3008: through-loading). However, the VW Group cars lack a space under the luggage floor for the charging cables, which reduces the luggage space through the associated bags.
Like everyone here, the Tiguan relies too much on the often unnecessary touching. The infotainment system is commendably well sorted, and there are also some real buttons. In addition, the navigation map can be displayed large on the speedometer monitor and offers a zoom function using the steering wheel button (also Q3). However, there is no mute button on the steering wheel, so there is only one touch surface on the monitor, which at least pauses.
The adjustment of the head-up display via a rotary control to the left of the steering wheel has been solved in an exemplary manner. It's just stupid that it's a small extending pane that isn't nearly as easy to read as a projection on the windshield (which isn't available to anyone).One advantage of the digital speedometer is the charge display, which also shows when the car is being charged using the combustion engine instead of recuperation.
Although the VW allows a little more body movement with its adaptive dampers, it also handles high cornering speeds safely and, above all, is the most resilient: a mixture that perfectly suits a plug-in SUV.
3008: mighty strong
When it comes to suspension comfort, the conventionally damped 3008 comes off the worst overall. It lets short bumps through the most, which is even more noticeable on the back seat. "Worst" in this case still means "properly" because it doesn't expect its occupants to be overly shaky or subjected to unnecessary hardship. In addition, the leather seats with massage function show that comfort is still in demand among the French.
When it comes to steering, it's not just a question of taste. Clearly: its three competitors have harmoniously running and informative steering systems, only the 3008 not so much. He gives himself as much feedback as possible, while small course corrections are often necessary on the mini steering wheel. The power assistance, on the other hand, works, and most drivers get used to the rest after a short time. And unlike the flatter Peugeot models, each comparison driver could easily read the high-positioned speedometer on the steering wheel.
A real plus is by far the most powerful drive here: 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 200 hp, plus an electric motor with 81 kW at the front and another on the rear axle (83 kW). Unlike the Tucson with conventional all-wheel drive, there is no mechanical connection between the front and rear axles on the 3008 (Q3, VW: front-wheel drive only). In 4WD mode, however, enough battery charge is always stored so that the rear axle can always be switched on when required. Based on our experiences last winter, we can report that a 3008 in this mode curves absolutely safely and quickly over closed layers of snow.
In E mode, the 3008 starts from a standing start with only the rear axle motor. Because this also applies to full load, regardless of the mode, you first move forward comfortably until the front motor suddenly increases the system torque a second later. There is a different way to achieve harmony, but this is hardly ever the case when driving off normally.
When it comes to full power in hybrid mode, the Peugeot makes the rivals look old here: 5.6 seconds to 100 km/h, the rest takes around seven seconds. Its top speed is 240 km/h, the Audi in second place manages 210. With the Peugeot we could not verify whether it could reach and maintain the speed even with an empty battery.
With an empty battery, the test consumption is 8.3 l/100 km, which is in the range of the VW (8.0) and Hyundai (8.5). The Q3 is the most economical with 7.6 liters. The power consumption in E mode is 21.2 kWh for the VW, while the others need just under 18 kWh per 100 kilometers.
Aside from the operation with graphic buttons that are often far too small, the steering and the diffuse brake pedal feel, the 3008 plays well in many disciplines and cannot be left behind when it comes to assistance. For this he loses points in terms of space (trunk and rear leg room) - and the rest is just lapping up.
In addition, it costs the most as a GT pack, even with the same equipment, after the significantly more expensive Audi. The Tiguan is in between, the Tucson is configured noticeably the cheapest.
It should be noted that we compare the purchase and not the leasing prices because this is hardly possible in general. Sometimes there are tempting offers even with private leasing, but sometimes long delivery times even before the chip drought.
79 kilometers electric range, good comfort and the cheapest price together with the decent drive and the cleanly tuned steering bring him the overall victory. But: far too much touching in the operation.
A sporty driving experience for the segment with good comfort characteristics, the best operation in comparison and an electric range of 65 kilometers. Because he's on the money, he only manages the trait win.
All in all, it is as good as the Hyundai, but costs significantly more and only drives 52 km electrically. But it has the most relaxed chassis, a decent drive and the best space with the highest variability.
With two e-motors and the most powerful combustion engine, it drives away the other, bounces properly and manages 67 e-kilometers. However, it is not cheap and its service is clearly in need of renovation.