2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ CRDi Review
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2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ CRDi Review

We take the 2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ CRDi for a spin to find out how this crossover SUV stands out in a crowded segment.

The compact crossover SUV segment may not be the biggest in the Philippines in terms of sales, but in terms of variety, it’s one of the most diverse. With various options from various brands at different price points, where does the 2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ fit in? Next to vehicles like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Honda CR-V, or Mazda CX-5, the Tucson simply blends in with the crowd–at least on paper. Take it for a drive, however, and you start to understand its appeal.


2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ CRDi Philippines Review

2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ CRDi Philippines Review

But to me, it’s not just in the drive where the Tucson is appealing. In a sea of crossovers, SUVs, and even MPVs that mostly follow the same two-box design format, standing out is becoming ever-so-difficult. Thankfully, Hyundai’s designers are currently on a roll and managed to pull off a crossover SUV that stands out. It seems every angle of the 2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ that we have here has been styled, whether it’s the satin silver window trim pieces, the smoked grille that hides the Parametric Hidden Lights that act as the daytime running lights, or even the body panels that have been cut and sewn to a tee. There are so much words I could use to describe the Tucson’s looks. While it may not be to everyone’s tastes, I applaud the effort to make the Tucson stand out in a sea of same-same crossovers.


2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ CRDi Interior Philippines

2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ CRDi Interior Philippines

Step inside the Tucson and that same sense of stylishness carries over. There’s a generous use of soft-touch plastics, nice leather, and a balance between physical and digital controls. Unfortunately, the obsessive use of gloss black in high-touch points means that this is an interior that you’ll frequently clean. Ditto the optional white interior of this GLS+ variant, which already has minor stains on the seats with only 3,000 kilometers at the odometer. On the upside, the visual drama the interior provides is great, helped by the visual separation created by the scalloped dash separating the driver and front passenger. It also must be noted that the horizontal dash lines also hide vents that can softly blow air if you want it to. Neat!

Features and Infotainment

2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ CRDi Interior Philippines

2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ CRDi Interior Philippines

Thankfully, the interior isn’t all just style because it’s also high on functionality, whether it’s in terms of tech or storage. The former in particular is impressive because everything we’ll mention is standard across the range. This includes the 10.25-inch fully-digital gauges and the easy-to-use 8-inch infotainment with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with wireless charging. While there’s a high amount of capacitive touch functions, the climate controls are separate from the screen and it comes with toggle switches, so no complaints from me on that aspect.

Space and Practicality

2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ CRDi Interior Philippines

Regardless of where you’re seated, there’s plenty of space to enjoy. The driving position is excellent, and legroom in the back is insanely good, enough for a 5′ 11″ dude to even cross his legs. It’s also a genuine place for three adults because of its width. Unfortunately, I’m not sure why I’m seeing a two-point lap belt for the middle passenger in 2023 when even budget cars have three-point seat belts for the middle passenger. That’s something I hope that’s ditched altogether in the next update. Lastly, the 2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ comes with a powered tailgate, and once that whirrs up, you’ll be greeted by a cargo area that’s genuinely massive at 539 liters. This even increases to 1,860 liters with the second-row seats folded down.

Driving Experience

Powering the 2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ is a 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine that produces a strong 183 horses and 413 Nm of torque, with power being sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic. The great thing about this is, it’s one of the absolute best drivetrains in its segment, and one that makes the Tucson such as stand out the moment you press the engine start button.

That said punchy diesel engine is very refined, smooth, and linear in terms of power delivery. Its torque band is at a broad rev range, making this engine very usable in the city and even more so when overtaking slower vehicles on two-lane provincial roads. Equally impressive is the eight-speed automatic. There are simply no complaints here. The transmission is so smooth, decisive, and quick-witted, it just fades into the background minding its own business.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first. The Tucson is not a sporty crossover SUV by any measure. The light steering feels precise, but it does not provide any road feel to create a sense of driver connection. The suspension skews on the comfort side of things though body roll happens in a controlled manner. But it doesn’t mean that the Tucson is not a pleasurable experience. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Where it lacks in sportiness, it makes up for offering one of the most refined driving experiences I’ve ever come across in the segment.

The highly-rigid structure feels rock solid, almost as good as German luxury cars. Surprisingly, the Tucson somehow feels more European than any of the Peugeots sold in the Philippines. The rigid chassis is matched by plenty of sound deadening to the point that the Tucson feels more right at home on the German Autobahn instead of SCTEX. The suspension tuning is also excellent–firm enough to avoid being floaty when going over multiple undulations yet it’s supple enough to deal with big and small bumps with delicacy. You know what, though this isn’t sporty crossover SUV, I genuinely enjoyed it more than the Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, and Honda CR-V, solely for its outstanding stability and refinement that feels German rather than Asian.

Another aspect where the Tucson GLS+ shines is its fuel economy. Despite being powerful and very torquey, it managed to do 16 km/l at its best and 10 km/l at its worst in the city. This is an engine that lets you have all the power you more than need whilst being friendly when it comes to fuel bills.

For all its excellence in driving though, there’s one area where the Tucson lacks–advanced safety. As it stands, no Tucson variant is offered with the Hyundai SmartSense suite of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). Yes, a more affordable Creta and Stargazer have automatic emergency braking and blind spot warning, but not the more premium and globally-sold Tucson. Insiders and industry colleagues say that adding ADAS to the Tucson will raise the price by around P50,000. If true, we think Hyundai Motor Philippines should’ve still added it since buyers in the Tucson’s segment aren’t a price-sensitive bunch.


Lack of ADAS aside, the 2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ diesel may not seem outstanding on paper, but take it for a drive, and you’ll realize that it feels more European than some of its true European competitors. It certainly helps that the Tucson also stands out in a sea of compact crossover SUVs. Though being a diesel crossover SUV, one might cross-shop this over a seven-seater pickup-based SUV such as the Ford Everest. As great as the Everest is, the Tucson’s with its highly-rigid monocoque body is still far superior when it comes to on-road performance versus a truck-based chassis.

And that’s probably what will happen here. We’re sure the Tucson will sell in great numbers, but as we’ve seen in the past, these regionally-developed pickup-based seven-seaters will sell in higher numbers versus similarly-priced SUVs that have been developed for a global audience. Practicality trumps all, after all. But if you don’t need seven seats and want the absolute best in terms of comfort and refinement, then this diesel-fed Tucson is my current top recommendation.

More Photos

2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ CRDi Review Philippines

2023 Hyundai Tucson GLS+ CRDi Interior Philippines

Pricing and Rating

Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★★
Features: ★★★★☆
Safety and Driver Assistance: ★★★☆☆
Acceleration: ★★★★★
Handling: ★★★☆☆
Comfort: ★★★★★
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★★
Value For Money: ★★★★★

Price: P1,250,000*

Overall: 4.4 out of 5

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