Hyundai has revealed a new variant of their popular Tucson small SUV, the second vehicle to be included in the South Korean manufacturer’s expanding umbrella of N Line, which you can think of akin to the sportier motif of BMW’s M Sport, Benz’s AMG-Line, or Volkswagen’s R-Line. The more aggressive exterior portends a more engaging drive, but is it even folly to expect such a thing?
Rumours of a full fledged Tucson N continue to swirl, possibly powered by the Stinger’s 3.3-litre turbo’d V6, but despite the majority of tweaks here being cosmetic, there are some welcome changes that run more than skin deep, if not dramatically so.
First of all, the Tucson N Line does come with a new 48V electric architecture that technically classifies this as a mild hybrid, able to accommodate more technologies that bump its efficiency points, leveraging its 0.44kWh lithium polymer battery and integrated starter/generator and inverter, Hyundai claims fuel consumption and carbon emissions by up to an estimated 11 percent on the NEDC cycle.
In this European spec, the Tucson N Line can be had with 3 engine options starting with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder CRDi diesel with 100kW or a 2.0-litre CRDi with 136kW. Splitting them is the sole petrol option, a 1.6-litre TGDi four-pot with 130kW - all with the aforementioned 48V mild hybrid system.
All variants of the N Line so far have been announced with a front-drive configuration and mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission regardless of engine choice or a 6-speed manual. Performance, we imagine, is therefore adequate, as it was with last year’s Tucson.
However, the look of the new N Line is what carries the most intrigue as it could be the most accurate preview yet of a properly hotted up performance Tucson should Hyundai decide to entertain the notion all the way to production. Just as the i30 N Line mimics the i30N, there’s plenty to glean here.
A distinctive black on red theme is at play here, kicking off with the new 19-inch wheels, new bumpers front and rear, twin exit exhausts, a new grille at the nose, a revised headlight cluster, and a rear spoiler and wing mirror combo finished gloss black.
To improve dynamics, the Tucson N Line’s suspension has been tweaked 8 percent at the front and 5 percent so at the rear. Power delivery from either one of those engines is remain indistinguishable from the standard version, but the electric power steering system has been recalibrated to deliver more immediate response and better directness.
“With the New Tucson N Line, Hyundai now provides the sporty feeling to customers who also want the versatility and comfort of an SUV,” says Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, Vice President Marketing and Product at Hyundai Motor Europe. “Tucson is our best-selling model in Europe and it is positioned right at the heart of our brand, so we are excited to introduce the N Line character to our customers in this segment.”