• Hyundai Gives the 2020 Tucson a Stiffer Chassis, Sportier Styling with an N-Line Badge

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This is what the Tucson looks like if you give it some personality

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The Hyundai Tucson becomes the third model to receive the N Line treatment, following in the footsteps of the i30 and i30 Fastback that came before it. The launch of the Tucson N Line marks as a coming-of-age for the Korean automaker’s resident compact SUV. A unique appearance package bolsters the more aggressive-looking SUV. Hyundai also added some subtle interior upgrades and improved the SUV’s driving setup, ensuring that the Tucson N Line can live up to the performance billing that comes by having the “N Line” name attached to it. The Hyundai Tucson N Line arrives to European markets later this year. Unfortunately, the U.S. market isn’t getting it.

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson N-Line is Hyundai’s First Step into the World of Performance SUV’s

2018 Hyundai i30 N High Resolution Exterior
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2019 Hyundai i30N shown here

The Hyundai Tucson is probably one of the last Hyundai models I’d consider to receive an N Line treatment. That said, there’s a reason why I don’t work at Hyundai. I’m ready to eat crow on this one because the Tucson N Line looks like an absolute treat.

With respect to the i30 and i30 Fastback that laid the foundation for the N Line division, the Tucson N Line is probably the best example on why Hyundai started the performance-driven division last year.

Hyundai managed to give the Tucson a sportier identity without adding too many upgrades that could have bordered on excessive. That’s what it’s all about.

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Note: standard 2019 Hyundai Tucson vs 2020 Hyundai Tucson N-Line

Let’s start with the aesthetics. The first thing you’ll notice is the dark mesh pattern on the front grille. It’s a clear departure from the horizontal bars that populated the grille of the standard SUV. If anything, Hyundai’s taking a page from Mercedes-AMG with the grille-swapping shenanigans. You won’t catch me complaining, though. I think the mesh pattern front grille looks better on the Tucson. Give it the polished black treatment and it looks even better.

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Of course, that’s not the only distinctive upgrade you’ll see. Hyundai’s also using a redesigned bumper on the Tucson N Line. It’s more aggressive than what the standard Tucson has, and Hyundai even threw in boomerang-like daytime running lights on the outer edges of the bumper.

A pair of sports car-oriented intakes help drive home the Tucson N Line’s new and more aggressive appearance, as do the side mirror caps and the roof-mounted rear spoiler that are now finished in black.

Even the window frames are dressed in black, proving that, if for nothing else, Hyundai isn’t bashful about stealing some tricks from the Audi, BMW, and Mercedes’
respective playbook.

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Outside of the new grille and bumper, this is still the same Tucson. That goes to show how carefully curated the Tucson N Line is, at least from the perspective of its exterior. Hyundai managed to make meaningful changes to its aesthetics without completely robbing the Tucson of its identity. In many ways, it’s also what Hyundai did to the i30 and i30 Fastbacks when they were treated to the N Line Experience. Remember how the mesh grille on the i30 Fastback made it look like a hot hatch? I still think about it to this day.

The Hyundai i30 N Line Isn't A Hot-Hatch, Yet It Looks Stimulating Like One Exterior
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2019 Hyundai i30 Fastback shown here

The interior also received a good chunk of upgrades, but most of the upgrades are what you’d expect. The seats are covered in N-branded leather-suede. The steering wheel and the seats have red accent stitching. The N gear shift lever gets dressed in leather, as well. These are all solid addition to bolstering the Tucson N Line’s identity.

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Note: Interior comparison between the 2019 Hyundai Tucson an the 2020 Hyundai Tucson N-Line

2020 Hyundai Tucson Performance

Hyundai Gives the 2020 Tucson a Stiffer Chassis, Sportier Styling with an N-Line Badge Drivetrain
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The real treat when it comes to the Tucson N Line is its performance capabilities. To be clear, Hyundai didn’t provide any power upgrades to the Tucson N Line. It’s still powered by the same engine lineup, including the 1.6-liter turbocharged gas engine that produces 175 horsepower. None of the engine options received any power bumps, which makes what Hyundai did even more impressive. It managed to improve the Tucson N Line’s performance capabilities without touching the engine.

Instead of taking that route, Hyundai turned its attention towards the steering and suspension setups of the Tucson.

In particular, Hyundai used software adjustments to make the SUV’s steering more direct and responsive, and it stiffened the suspension — by eight percent in the front and five percent at the back — to give the Tucson N Line a more nuanced ability to handle the roads it travels on. Simple adjustments like this go along way in improving the overall driving experience of a particular vehicle. Granted, it’s going to be a while before I get my hands on a Tucson N Line, but I do imagine these upgrades to be significant enough to go unnoticed.

Final Thoughts

Hyundai Gives the 2020 Tucson a Stiffer Chassis, Sportier Styling with an N-Line Badge Exterior
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The Hyundai Tucson N Line is, in many ways, a sign of things to come for Hyundai. As important as the i30 and i30 Fastbacks were in laying the N Line’s foundation, the Tucson N Line is the model that’s going to give the performance group its platform to the world. Trust me, the Tucson N Line is going to sell, and it’s going to sell a lot. The model’s inevitable success will drive Hyundai further in showcasing the N Line on other models. Do you think the Tucson is the only Hyundai SUV to get this treatment? Think again. Eventually, the Santa Fe will receive it, too, and don’t be surprised if the all-new Palisade gets in on the fun, as well.

Hyundai still has a long way to go in building a solid foundation for its N Line division. There will be some hiccups and missed opportunities along the way. Those are inevitable when you’re building something as important as this. But for now, Hyundai can proudly stand stall, puff its chest, and strut to its heart’s content. The Hyundai Tucson N Line not only looks like a vehicle I’d want to buy, but it also wears its N Line digs proudly and impressively.

Who knows, there could be a future where a Hyundai Tucson N Line with actual power upgrades exists. That “future” might even arrive sooner than we think.

Further reading

Hyundai Gives the 2020 Tucson a Stiffer Chassis, Sportier Styling with an N-Line Badge Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Tucson N Line.

2019 Hyundai Tucson Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Tucson.

2019 Hyundai Veloster N Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N.

2018 Hyundai i30 N High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai i30 N.

The Hyundai i30 N Line Isn't A Hot-Hatch, Yet It Looks Stimulating Like One Exterior
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The Hyundai i30 N Line Isn’t A Hot-Hatch, Yet It Looks Stimulating Like One

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
About the author

With the New Tucson N Line, Hyundai Motor offers European customers a growing range of attractive N Line choices – and its first SUV with the sporty N Line look and feel.

The new model combines the iconic strength, safety and comfort of Tucson with the dynamic styling and attitude of N Line. After successfully launching N Line in 2018 with i30, Hyundai is expanding its dynamic trim level.

New Tucson N Line
With the New Tucson N Line, Hyundai now provides the sporty feeling to customers who also want the versatility and comfort of an SUV. 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.

Andreas-Christoph Hofmann
Vice President Marketing and Product at Hyundai Motor Europe

In addition to the 2.0-litre CRDi 48V diesel engine introduced in the New Tucson in 2018, Hyundai has now combined its efficient and responsive 48V mild hybrid technology with the 100 kW/136-PS 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engine, offering reduced fuel consumption up to 11%.* (*NEDC 2.0)

The mild hybrid powertrain contributes to Hyundai’s global efforts to improve fuel efficiency. The technology comprises a 0.44 kW/h 48-Volt lithium-ion polymer battery, a Mild Hybrid Starter Generator (MHSG), an LDC converter (Low Voltage DC/DC) and an inverter.

Offering an output of 136 kW/185 PS, the 2.0-litre CRDi 48V mild hybrid engine is the most powerful in the New Tucson’s powertrain line-up. Another well-balanced option is the 130 kW/177-PS 1.6l T-GDI petrol powertrain. All engines meet the new Euro 6d Temp emission standards.

More than a new look: N Line sporty feel with updated suspension and steering
Tucson N Line is a unique combination of a family SUV and N-inspired sportiness. The new trim features exterior and interior elements inspired by N, Hyundai’s high-performance range. The dynamic design features are complemented on the turbocharged petrol model and the strongest diesel model by refined MDPS (motor driven power steering) and adjusted suspension settings so customers can experience a more sporting drive. Suspension springs on these top Tucson N Line trims offer 5% greater rigidity in the rear setup and 8% more in the front, while software changes in the steering give a slightly more direct, linear feel at the wheel.

Redesigned bumpers and a dark mesh-pattern grille framed by dark chrome provide a strong first impression. Furthermore, dark 19” alloy wheels as well as side mirror housings and a rear spoiler in glossy black emphasize the car’s sporting attitude. Black-bezel headlamps, unique daytime running lights and LED design and darkened window frames in combination with body-coloured door handles also create a more dynamic look for the Tucson N Line

Inside the car, consumers can enjoy N-branded leather-suede sport seats and red accent stitching on the steering wheel and seats. Alloy pedals and the leather-wrapped, red-accented N gear shift lever are also part of the N Line enhancements.

The New Tucson N Line is designed, tested and built in Europe and it is available across Europe in nine different body paint options.

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