Their success proves them right: Compact SUVs have been the most popular choice for families for years. Cleverly designed interiors suit everyone who finds the golf class too small and a real station wagon too big. Two good examples are Hyundai Tucson and Opel Grandland X as young used cars.
Some say they are not fish and not meat, others sit in front of the menu and simply cannot decide - after all, ideally the whole family should be happy. If a compact five-door is too small and a mid-range station wagon is too big, a compact SUV usually meets all the space requirements and also fits into any terraced housing estate in a highly fashionable way. Former SUV virtues such as traction, ground clearance or all-wheel drive are not needed for this, instead the trump card is efficiency in the use of space and drive. Sounds strange, but it also sells like hotcakes on the used market. If you want to travel well and cheaply, you can use the outdated versions of the Hyundai Tucson or the Opel Grandland X.
The Opel Grandland X (Type A, Generation 1) in detail:
After the appearance of the smaller Crossland X in 2017, the significantly larger Grandland X is the second model in the Opel portfolio that was created entirely under PSA aegis. That is clearly noticeable. On the one hand, the occupants enjoy a more airy space concept than was ever the case with comparable GM Opels, on the other hand, the five-seater compact SUV lacks a little engineering spirit, which has upgraded many an Opel model to date. Where once there was almost always a sophisticated, finely tuned driving impression, the Grandland feels like any other Peugeot at a cursory glance. The tuning of the chassis was usable overall, but also a bit indifferent. The pleasantly direct steering conveys the most feeling. Sporting spirit is more foreign to him (but also to the Tucson) than the comfortable gliding along. Here the occupants benefit from good seats, adequate materials and acceptable solutions in terms of clarity and ease of use. Incidentally, since the summer of 2021, the Grandland has lost the X in its name, but has a heavily modernized front end. It is still being built in this form today, while the Hyundai has had a successor ready since September 2020.
Strengths of the Opel:
The popular combination of diesel engine (always with Euro 6, by the way) and the eight-speed automatic converter is the clear recommendation here. The drives, whether 1.5, 1.6, or 2.0 liters, run pleasantly quiet and, depending on the power level, deliver the predominantly sovereign impression than the diesel in the Tucson. In addition, they are pleasingly economical: with almost the same performance, the Opel often manages over 100 kilometers with less than a liter. Depending on the drive, this is due to the weight advantage. The Opel is sometimes up to 200 kilos lighter than the Hyundai.Even if, in contrast to the Hyundai, a toothed belt is always installed in the diesel, which has to be changed after a maximum of 180,000 kilometers, the compression-ignition engines are considered robust and reliable.
Otherwise, the strength of the Opel clearly lies in the space it offers - even if the Hyundai almost keeps up here. Instead of 513 liters in the Tucson, it still packs 540 liters with five seats. If you fold down the bank, you end up with 1,652 instead of 1,503 liters. In both rows of seats, the room layout in the Grandland goes hand in hand with a comparatively more upright seating position.
If you like to drive electrically at times, you can also use the Opel. Only he has offered a well-functioning plug-in hybrid system since summer 2019. Only in this way (that is, with an electric motor in the rear) does the Grandland have the option of all-wheel drive.
Weaknesses of the Opel:
As already mentioned, here and there it lacks the finesse that some earlier Opel models delighted us with. The petrol engines usually include the Pure-Tech three-cylinder with a displacement of 1.2 liters. We know him from countless other models from France. Although he is busy drumming and has the torque to not appear to be completely underpowered in town, it is not really progressing in view of the approximately 1.5 tons curb weight. The underwhelming impression is reinforced by the lethargic manual transmission, in which gears can only be found on the basis of vague estimates. If you like driving, you won't enjoy it. Why do we punish this drive like this? Well, it would fare better if it could at least be easily preserved. Similar to the Ford Eco Boost three-cylinder, its timing belt runs in an oil bath. Although it does not tend to die immediately if the wrong types of oil are used, excessive condensate (short-distance traffic) or carelessness in terms of time during service is enough to dissolve the outermost layer of rubber. This then collects in the filter of the oil pump, ensures insufficient lubrication and thus gradual engine damage.
The more powerful 1.6 liter four-cylinder petrol engines are also belt-driven, but at least they have a better reputation. In comparison, however, they don't necessarily shine with panache - at most with optional hybrid support. So it's only really good as a diesel with an automatic, even if it occasionally needs a reset or an update to ensure harmony when shifting.
The Hyundai Tucson (type TL, generation 3) in detail:
When the Tucson was called the Tucson again, i.e. after the predecessor ix35, which was built until 2015, it already earned a lot of deserved praise for its debut. As with hardly any Koreans before, the test reports did not include the hitherto frequent relativizations "for a Hyundai". The Tucson was and is a consistently good car that pleases with high build quality and solid construction.If he parks next to the Opel Grandland X, this quickly becomes clear from the more self-confident look, and even more so from properties such as a rich door noise, narrow gaps or the usually more extensive equipment. Inside, on the other hand, it is more angular, perhaps more squat. Nevertheless, it also offers tall people ample space in the front and rear in a relaxed sitting position, with an airy feeling of space.
The strengths of the Hyundai:
Hyundai knows how to build cars that appeal to buyers and testers alike. For the most part, this is not achieved through innovative highlights or emotional special models, but through the simply good, practical execution of relevant areas. The logic of instruments and infotainment is absolutely clear, the ergonomics fit well, and all controls provide quality feedback. The materials are of high quality where it matters. At most, one would wish for a somewhat finer carpet in the trunk. The car exudes quality.
The drives can also be described with the above. There is no temperament bolt hidden under the quiet-running engines, but without exception they are considered solid, durable and, thanks to robust timing chains, not too maintenance-intensive. All-wheel drive is available as an option for most engines. If you get a younger copy, you can still enjoy a considerable remainder of the five-year Hyundai manufacturer's guarantee, even as a used buyer.
The weaknesses of the Hyundai:
The Tucson is rarely the most economical choice among compact SUVs. The broad-shouldered two-liter diesel with 185 hp was optionally available with a six-speed automatic converter until the summer of 2018. Although it works pleasantly gently, it always ensures consumption in the range of a good eight liters. It doesn't have to be. The more sensible choice are the smaller 1.6s, which come with both a pleasantly precise manual transmission and a dual-clutch automatic. Although it is more durable in old age than the equivalents of the VW Group, it is sometimes just as stumbling. Occasionally one hears of manual transmissions that initially become stubborn and ultimately unusable due to defective synchronizer rings. Here better Hyundai but accommodating. This leaves us with a recommendation of all 1.6-liter four-cylinders - also because hybrid friends will get nothing from the Tucson.
In terms of driving dynamics, the Tucson relies entirely on safety. Well-behaved, but it also starts to understeer quite early on, while the rear, which stays on course, shows no initiative whatsoever. Of course, a family SUV like this isn't there for weaving wildly, but at least some steering feedback would be desirable. At least he drives comfortably.
Purchase comparison: Which one to take?
As is so often the case, this question can only be answered by considering the buyer or their intended use.In most scenarios, however, the Hyundai has the edge. This already starts with buyers who rely on a petrol engine. The Crossland has nothing to offer here that can hold a candle to the Tucson in terms of durability or set-up. Even those who prefer to switch gears themselves should take the Hyundai. The deaf switchability of the PSA gearbox is enough to spoil the otherwise good driving impression of the Crossland.
Automatic fans with annual mileage in the diesel range can very well look for a good Opel offer. Because of the very good reputation of the Hyundai, there is also a certain price difference that can make the Grandland a smarter purchase, depending on the offer.
By the way, both cars are good for towing smaller trailers. The Hyundai swings up to a trailer load of up to 2,200 kilograms. After all, there are 2,000 at the Opel. The latter always offers the "stronger" torque converter automatic transmission, while most Tucson drivers have to think about the wear and tear of their double clutch in the traffic jam at the Brenner Pass from time to time.
Those who approach the purchase of the next used family car very soberly now know which points to pay attention to and can find the best offer in this way. If emotions do play a role - we know that only too well - then a test drive of both cars is urgently required before you buy them, because they have very different characters. For some, the Opel Grandland X is a relaxing feel-good zone, for others just an unambitious test-tube car from the PSA/Stellantis conglomerate. Of course, Hyundai-Kia is also a large corporation, but they manage to build a car that is more coherent overall.