Hyundai Tucson N Line revealed with stiffened chassis, sportier styling

Hyundai has revealed the new Tucson N Line, its first performance-honed SUV that previews a possible full hot N version.

The Tucson N Line is due to go on sale in the UK later this year and follows on from the i30 N Line launched in 2018. Tweaks to the standard Tucson, Hyundai’s best-selling model in Europe, include a stiffened chassis, revised bumpers, new black-painted 19in alloy wheels and a sportier interior.

“This is an understated sporty car with some subtle improvements inside and out, so it brings the N Line character to a Hyundai SUV for the first time,” says Thomas Buerkle, Hyundai Europe’s design chief.

Buerkle’s team has created a more muscular-looking Tucson with time-honoured changes such as a new front bumper, new grille, revised headlights and twin exhausts. New in the front bumper are distinctive ‘boomerang’ daytime running lights, while the headlights feature standard LED illumination and black bezels to emphasise the lamp shape.

The dominant design theme is to remove all the brightwork from the exterior, replacing it with black trim or black finishes to add some sporty menace to the Tucson.

The window frames are finished in black – as is typical on Audi, BMW and Mercedes sports models – and the grille gets a dark chrome treatment, while the rear spoiler has a glossy black finish.

Inside, the dark theme continues with bucket-style seats trimmed in breathable microfibre cloth, while red stitching for the steering wheel, dashboard and gear selector provide visual highlights.

But the Tucson N Line isn’t just about styling. The front suspension is 8% stiffer and the rear is 5% stiffer, while software changes in the electric power steering are claimed to “give a slightly more direct, linear feel at the wheel”. Suspension development was carried out by engineers at Hyundai’s technical centre at Russelsheim, Germany.

The European N Line range is built around three engines: a 135bhp 1.6-litre diesel equipped with 48V mild hybrid technology, a 175bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol unit and a 183bhp 2.0-litre diesel 48V mild hybrid. Hyundai says the new 1.6-litre mild hybrid diesel has an WLTP-rated combined fuel economy of between 51.3 and 47.1mpg, with CO2 emissions that range from 110 to 118g/km.

The UK range will be limited to the two 1.6-litre engines, both with front-wheel drive; these currently make up 95% of Tucson sales. Both will have the choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. UK pricing has yet to be finalised but the N Line is expected to sit between the £25,445 SE Nav and the £27,945 Premium trim levels.

With UK demand for the 2.0-litre diesel, only available with four-wheel drive, making up only 5% of sales, Hyundai UK says it can’t justify launching N Line trim with that power unit.

Keeping the 2.0-litre diesel out of the N Line range also creates room for Hyundai to slot in a full Tucson N, although Hyundai refused to comment on the possibility.

One engineering challenge will be to find an engine that isn’t as peaky as the i30 N’s 271bhp 2.0-litre turbo four; that may be exciting in the low-riding hatchback, but an SUV will need a wider spread of torque.

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