Hyundai Tucson -Vs- Kia Sportage: Which is more thirsty on fuel?

Hi John,
Thank you for your website – very informative and helpful. We are in the market for a Hyundai Tucson Active X. We've been comparing it to a Kia Sportage SLi but my husband prefers the Tucson. I am concerned about the fuel (petrol) usage for both of them - is one much thirstier than the other? I suspect that they are similar, but I would be grateful for your opinion.


Hello Janie,

Hyundai and Kia are flip sides of the same corporate coin. Both brands are owned by the same parent company. They share engineering R&D - meaning they really differ only in terms of their hair and makeup (styling) - they roll on the same platform, have the same major body panels, and many of the same major mechanical components.

Hyundai Tucson Active X has a direct injection 2.0-litre petrol engine (newer tech) while the Sportage has a 2.0-litre petrol with multi-point injection (older tech). The outright engine performance of the 2.0 Tucson Active X is slightly better but in normal driving you’d never pick it. (It has 6% more peak power and 6% more peak torque - but it doesn’t go 6% better for real-world driving, because most people never use the peak power and torque of their engine. I mean: Who drives around routinely in an SUV with the foot flat to the floor at 6000rpm? That’s what peak power is.)

Fuel - they both weigh the same, they both have similar engines. If you drive them the same, they will return very similar fuel economy. Certainly the very minor difference in fuel use will not be a determining factor in which one to buy.

The official fuel figures result from laboratory-standardised tests that are good for comparing Vehicle A with Vehicle B, but they are not really representative of driving in the real world. This means consumption will generally be 25-30% higher than the official lab-tested combined cycle fuel figure that by law carmakers must quote. Read more here:

Frankly people blow this out of all proportion. a) if you have $30k to spend on a car, the cost of the fuel is largely irrelevant to you, b) Australia has the 4th lowest fuel price in the developed world, and c) if you want fuel economy, don’t buy an SUV - physics 101: it takes a lot of energy to move a big, heavy vehicle about, so if you want economy, buy a small, lightweight car. (Remember that even if you save 20% on fuel the saving per week is going to be somewhat trivial in the context of first-world spending here in Australia.) 

John Cadogan