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Hyundai Tucson SUV gets sporty N Line treatment

Hyundai Tucson gets the brands sporty N Line treatment, while a second diesel unit becomes equipped with a 48 volt mild hybrid setup

This is the Hyundai Tucson N Line: the second model in the Korean brand’s range to be offered with a performance-inspired trim level. First seen on the i30, the N Line offers buyers of the Peugeot 3008 rival a sporty look which imitates its hot N lineup but without the outright performance or expense. The launch also coincides with a new addition to the SUV’s engine lineup: a 1.6-litre diesel with mild hybrid technology.

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From the outside, the N Line gets a host of sporty styling additions which, according to Hyundai designers, aim to “offer something more special to the people who like Tucson. For those who want something customised.”

Exclusive images preview hot Hyundai Tucson N

At the front, there’s a unique bumper design which gains more aggressive air intakes, boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights and ‘shark tooth’ elements sticking up at the outer edges and flow into the dark plastic cladding.

Much of the car’s brightwork has also been removed: the front grille (whose mesh design matches the i30 N Line and three small indentations along its lower edge mimic the hottest i30 N) is finished in dark chrome, and the headlights feature black bezels. Around the sides, the window surrounds are now black and the door handles are body coloured.

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The N Line rides on 19-inch alloy wheels which, along with the door mirror caps, roof and extended rear spoiler, are painted black. Around the back, there’s a gunmetal grey skid plate and a pair of real tailpipes.

Inside, the black interior is perked up with a range of red highlights. There’s bright red stitching on the dashboard, steering wheel, and seats, which also have red piping. While the front seat design is the same as other Tucsons, N Line models are trimmed in a mix of faux leather and mock-suede upholstery. The red stitches extend the gear selector, which in manual models share their design with the i30 N.

Aluminium pedals aside, the Tucson N Line’s cabin loses all of the silver trim found in other variants; the vent surrounds, door handles and infotainment surround are all black. Standard equipment includes an uprated nine-speaker Krell sound system, and a panoramic glass roof will be optional.

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On its release in the UK, the Tucson N Line will be offered with one petrol engine and a new diesel option. Based on Hyundai’s existing 1.6-litre turbo diesel, a 48-volt electrical system updates the unit with a mild hybrid setup. While it’s not able to operate in a full EV mode, it allows the Tucson to engage its stop/start system before coming to a complete stop, and a brake regeneration system can be fed back into the driven wheels, reducing load on the engine. 

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The changes, according to Hyundai, result in an 11 percent reduction in CO2 emissions relative to the conventional 1.6 diesel. It will be offered with both a six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Though Hyundai officials would not give a time frame, they confirmed to Auto Express that the 48v system will soon find its way into petrol-powered Hyundais, too.

The current petrol choice is a familiar one: the 175bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged unit is already available in other Tucsons, and can accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.9 secs when paired with a dual clutch automatic gearbox.

WLTP figures for the Tucson N Line show that it will emit just 118g/km for 1.6-litre turbo diesel when coupled with the dual-clutch auto and only 117g/km for the manual. Figures for the standard 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol are higher with a figure of 175g/km for the manual and 163g/km for the automatic.

Hyundai’s N Performance division has been involved in a couple of modest chassis tweaks to sharpen up the handling of the petrol. Revised dampers are slightly firmed up relative to regular models, while the electronic power steering software has been tweaked to give a sportier feel. These changes will not be applied to the 1.6 diesel, which will share its settings with the rest of the Tucson range.

While the Tucson is the second Hyundai to gain the N Line trim, it looks likely that other models will follow suit. Hyundai insiders wouldn’t be drawn into confirming which would come next, but said, “we will see how successful this model is before a full roll-out [of N Line].” Should other models receive the N Line treatment, expect similar exterior styling tweaks and a black and red interior theme.

The Tucson N Line is due to be released in May. While prices are still to be confirmed, expect a starting figure above the existing SE Nav trim.

Do you like the Hyundai Tucson N Line? Let us know in the comments below...

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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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