This car was bought in response to the awful winter we had in the UK this year, and I finally got fed up of several near death incidents in my 2WD Skoda Fabia.
I tried several 4x4s before settling on a Tucson, including a Jeep Cherokee, a Jeep Patriot and a Kia Sportage.
I deliberately set out to find a 6-speed manual 140bhp engined one after trying the Kia Sportage (it's mechanical twin), but with the earlier, less powerful 110bhp engine, which was underpowered.
I think the Tucson's a great bit of kit, especially for the money. Mine was 10k from a Hyundai dealer, had a full service history and nearly 2 years warranty left, and as a Limited model has privacy glass, heated leather, decent alloys, a tailgate spoiler, cruise control, climate control etc etc, and looks, to my mind, way more expensive in Black with everything colour coded than it was.
I find the engine nice and torquey, and though quite growly on start up and under acceleration, quiet enough at cruising speed. I've had it reading 115mph on the speedo, which I'm more than happy with for a 1 3/4 ton 4x4!
My only complaint is I get no more generally than 33mpg, which is OK, but not great, and no-where near the 39 odd Hyundai quote as the average mpg figure. That's doing an average 75-80mph for half my journey to work on dual carriageways, and the rest on country roads at about 60 odd.
Handling wise it's a bit barge like, which goes with its looks I think, and ride wise it has I think a fairly soft ride, and very comfy, big seats. Only annoyance is that the steering wheel only adjusts for rake, not reach.
It never got caught out in the snow. I went out some days where neighbours definitely didn't bother. I love the fact the 4x4 cuts in below about 35 mph or so automatically, or you can lock it in 4x4 for even better traction and it's got the ESP to keep you out of trouble.
From what I've read and seen online, these things are pretty capable off-roaders and only really lack a low range, with good approach and departure angles and an average wading depth (I knew nothing about any of this til I bought a 4x4!).
If you want a cheap 4x4 with a good kit level, reasonable performance and fuel returns, then this or maybe a Kia Sportage is the road to take.