A performance SUV without the extra power

The Hyundai Tucson N Line is a slightly beefed-up version of the company’s popular SUV. However, just like the N Line versions of the i30 and Elantra, this Tucson is more about sporty upgrades inside and out, as the engine remains unchanged compared to the standard model. Introduced at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, the Tucson N Line boasts a sportier appearance and features a few extras inside the cabin. While the bundle is far from impressive, it marks the debut of the N Line package on the company’s SUVs. Not only will this package extend to other haulers, but it also previews a full-fledged Tucson N model. This SUV will have more power and will be able to tackle high-performance SUVs from Mercedes-AMG and BMW M. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the Tucson N Line.

Exterior

  • Tinted headlamps
  • Sportier bumpers
  • New wheels
  • "N Line" badges
  • Diffuser-like element
  • Black mirror caps
  • Black window trim
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The front fascia actually looks very aggressive on this SUV thanks to a new grille with a honeycomb mesh

Just like the i30 N Line, the Tucson N Line is a slightly sportier version of the regular SUV on the outside. The front fascia actually looks very aggressive on this version thanks to a new grille with a honeycomb mesh and a wider vent in the bumper. The latter is flanked vertical, triangular outlets and V-shaped LED lights instead of the standard and more mundane rectangular units. These revisions are complemented by dark-chrome trim for the main grille and dark-tinted headlamps.

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Hyundai took the usual "let’s turn everything black" approach for the SUV’s profile. On top of the specific black cladding around the wheel arches and under the doors, Hyundai also replaced the body-colored trim in the side skirts with a black insert and added black mirror caps. The window frame is also black instead of the usual chrome, while the door handles are body colored. The standard wheels are larger than usual at 19 inches and also feature a unique design.

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The rear isn’t all that special, unfortunately.

Hyundai made minor changes here by painting the tailgate spoiler in black and adding some fake vents to the diffuser-like element.

The Squared off exhaust pipes of the standard model were replaced by sportier looking round outlets. The diffuser is also black.

Interior

  • Leather / suede trim
  • Red accents
  • Red stitching
  • Sportier seats
  • Dark metal inserts
  • Seven-inch display
2019 Hyundai Tucson N Line Interior
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The N Line comes with an all-black interior highlighted by bright-colored stitching

The sporty theme continues inside the cabin, but the N Line’s interior is also a bit more upscale than the regular SUV. This becomes apparent when you look at the front seats, which are wrapped in N-branded leather and suede. The seats are also a bit sportier as they feature bigger bolsters for enhanced lateral support.

The design recipe is pretty familiar and seemingly inspired by the competition. Just like high-performance versions of BMW and Mercedes-Benz SUVs, the N Line comes with an all-black interior highlighted by bright-colored stitching. Hyundai went with red stitching and piping on the seats, gear shift lever, center console, and steering wheel. A set of alloy pedals rounds out the N Line’s interior.

2019 Hyundai Tucson N Line Interior
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Outside these upgrades, the N Line is essentially a regular Tucson.

This isn’t a bad thing though, as the SUV was revised for the 2019 model year and it’s still fresh compared to its rivals. The seven-inch infotainment display provides access to a wide range of apps and features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The instrument cluster still has analog gauges, but it includes a small display in the center. Just like the standard Tucson, you can equip the N Line with options like a USB charger for the second-row seats, a Qi wireless charging pad, and a Blue Link system.

Drivetrain

  • Standard engines
  • Includes 48V mild hybrid
  • Up to 182 horsepower
  • Stiffer suspension
  • Michelin tires?
2019 Hyundai Tucson N Line Drivetrain
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The stiffer springs and the revised steering system give the Tucson N Line a more dynamic feeling

Although it looks sportier, the N Line doesn’t feature drivetrain upgrades. Just like the i30 N Line, the Tucson N Line is offered with the SUV’s standard engines. In Europe, the SUV comes with a choice of three drivetrains. There’s the 1.6-liter gasoline mill with 130 or 175 horsepower and the 1.6-liter diesel with 113 or 134 horses. Hyundai also offers a 2.0-liter diesel with a 48-Volt mild hybrid system. This setup generates 182 horsepower. The N Line package isn’t available on all five models, but you can order it with the turbocharged, 175-horsepower gasoline engine for decent performance.

2019 Hyundai Tucson N Line Exterior
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So do you get anything new in this department with the N Line package? The good news is that the suspension system was updated with stiffer springs. The setup enables five-percent greater rigidity in the rear and an eight-percent increase in the front. Software changes to the steering system also give the SUV a slightly more direct feel. If you want more than this, you’ll have to wait for Hyundai to release the full-fledged Tucson N version.

Pricing

2019 Hyundai Tucson N Line
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There’s no word as to how much the Tucson N Line will cost, but we can look at the i30 and work out an approximate sticker. The i30 N Line starts from £21,255, which accounts for a £530 premium over the SE Nav model with the same engine. The most expensive version, the N Line +, comes in at £24,255, a £3,530 increase. It’s safe to assume that the Tucson N Line will also slot between the SE Nav and Premium trims. With the former priced from £22,975 with the 1.6-liter engine, the most affordable N Line could fetch around £23,600. Opt for the more powerful 1.6-liter engine with DCT, and it will probably set you back around £27,400. Should Hyundai offer the N Line package on diesel models too, expect to pay between £26,200 and £28,300, depending on output and transmission.

We don’t know yet if the Tucson N Line will be offered in the U.S., but if it does, expect it to cost at least $26,500 before options.

Competition

Kia Sportage

2020 Kia Sportage
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Kia doesn’t have a performance brand, but it does have the GT-Line trim, which is somewhat similar to Hyundai’s N Line. The Sportage is also a solid competitor for the Tucson, especially because it rides on the same underpinnings. What’s more, you get solid performance. While the Tucson stops at 175 horsepower on the gasoline front, the Sportage comes with 181 horsepower on tap when selected with the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine. If you pick the top SX Turbo trim, things become even hotter thanks to a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-banger rated at a whopping 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. So while the 2020 Sportage doesn’t look particularly sporty, it’s definitely quicker than the Tucson N Line. U.K. pricing for the Sportage starts from £20,305, but the GT-Line comes in at £25,510, so it should be similar to the N Line. Go with the GT-Line S and pricing jumps to £31,645 before options. In the U.S., the Sportage comes in at $23,750, while the hot SX Turbo trim retails from $33,100.

Read our full story on the 2020 Kia Sportage.

Ford Kuga ST-Line

2017 Ford Kuga ST
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Ford is currently working to extend the ST badge to its crossover, but the Kuga is only available with an ST-Line package for the time being. But this trim is perfect against Hyundai’s N Line, as it adds similar features. Highlights include black exterior details for a sportier appearance, sportier seats, and darker materials on the center stack and dashboard. Just like the GT-Line and N Line models from the competition, the ST-Line is offered with the Kuga’s standard engines. There’s the 1.5-liter EcoBoost with either 180, 148, or 179 horsepower on the gasoline front and the 1.5-liter diesel that churns 118 horses. Ford also offers a 2.0-liter diesel that delivers 148 horsepower in base trim and 177 horses in range-topping form. The upgraded chassis, new suspension bits, and retuned steering are supposed to make the ST-Line the sportiest Kuga yet. The bad news is that the ST-Line is only offered in Europe. In the U.S., where the Kuga is sold as the Escape, you can get a similar equipment line by ordering separate options, but no ST badge yet. British prices start from £28,210.

Read our full review of the 2018 Ford Kuga ST-Line

Final Thoughts

2019 Hyundai Tucson N Line Exterior
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Although it’s not a full-fledged N vehicle, the Tucson N Line is a good addition to the lineup. With Kia and Ford already selling similar models, Hyundai is joining a growing market for customers that want the sportier looks but not the significantly more expensive sticker of a high-performance SUV. The good news here is that the Tucson N Line looks almost like a proper N vehicle. Its front fascia is downright aggressive, while the interior has plenty of premium and unique features to stand on its own. If Hyundai manages to keep pricing low, the Tucson N Line could become a hit.

  • Leave it
    • No drivetrain upgrades
    • Equally interesting vehicles from the competition

Further reading

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

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