Meet a Hyundai Tucson. It’s the best selling car here, having dethroned the Golf. Not because of dieselgate so much as everybody, but everybody, wants a crossovery kind of car plus extensive marketing, long guarantee, competitive pricing and a good reputation.

But that’s not the Hyundai I’m reviewing.

I’m reviewing the slowest selling Hyundai. Just 63 have been sold here and the last was in 2012. Nonetheless, this Hyundai has more than the Tucson. Much more.

More wheels (32 as reviewed)

More money ( a couple of million apiece)

More engines (four)

More gears (twelve, four firsts, four seconds and four thirds. I’ll get back to you about the thirds)

Advertisement

More seats (262 as reviewed)

More power outlets (about one per two seats)

More volts per outlet (230)

More free wifi

Here we go. It’s a Class 22000 diesel multiple unit.

Advertisement

I’m not in the habit of taking to the rails when at home and I haven’t done so in years so today was by way of an adventure.

The 22000 is a multinational effort, as it was supplied by Mitsu in Japan but built by Hyundai Rotem (bodies) and Tokyu (bogies), engined by MTU and transmissioned by Voith who supplied three speed hydrodynamic gearboxes. Remind me to get back to you about third gear.

Advertisement

Performance

The review was carried out on a single track branch line with a limit of about 110 kmh so not much opportunity for using the full potential of the unit. It goes well enough though. Even with 16 wheel drive a train doesn’t have a great deal of traction (or adhesion, as the railways call it) so acceleration is modest. There’s an impressive roar from under the floor as you get going followed by a steady but muffled whine. Sounds like a CVT as there’s no change in the engine note until you hit about 90 kmh when you hear a gradual drop in revs as second gear is engaged. Gradual, because changing gear involves draining a torque converter and filling the second gear fluid coupling. Having reached second that’s where you stay because you hit the speed limit shortly after. So to get back to you about third gear: never experienced. You only get a few minutes in second at a time anyway because branch lines have numerous level crossings which have a lower speed limit and so you’re back to a whining first gear again.

Advertisement

Ride comfort


This is a function of the line but generally good. A little shaking over points but not enough to dislodge the fillings.

Advertisement

Toys

No entertainment provided but you do get wifi so you can provide your own. Then again, you get what the Americans call “rest rooms”. None of those on your Tucson. Trolley service for refreshments too.

Advertisement

Roadholding

As if on rails.

Ease  of driving

Very easy because you don’t have to. The guy who does gets a bit of exercise which is a bit of a surprise. How so? Because one of the intermediate stations is on a little branch off the line. The driver proceeds into the station which is a dead end so he has to decamp to the other end of the train, go out backwards (except that it’s the new forwards because trains don’t care about front and back) to the main line and then walk back through the train because it’s in the middle of nowhere and he’s not allowed walk on the track unless it’s an emergency and proceed to destination in the original direction.

Advertisement

Value for money

Quite good at €22 for a day return. Whether actually buying the unit would be good value depends on your needs and how long your private rail network is.