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 will likely remain unchanged compared to the standard model. I say "likely" because the Tucson N Line is not yet available. It will make its debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, and until then we only have a couple of teaser photos. Although a Tucson with a sportier appearance isn’t hugely 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
2019 Hyundai Tucson N Line
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Needless to say, the N Line looks almost like a high-performance SUV

The only teaser photo of the exterior shows a few features that we’ve already seen on the i30 N Line. The headlamps feature black bezels, while the front bumper has a sportier design. In this case, the rectangular foglamps and horizontal side vents were dropped in favor of triangular, vertical outlets and V-shaped LED lights. I can also notice a darker metal trim on the grille and a honeycomb-style mesh. Needless to say, the N Line looks almost like a high-performance SUV, even though it’s not more powerful.

So how do we know this Tucson is an N Line vehicle and not something else. Well, the teaser shows an "N Line" badge on the front fender. The final hint is a dark-tinted, multi-spoke alloy wheel in a design that you can’t have on the regular Tucson. Other highlight should include a revised bumper with a diffuser-like element and black mirror caps.

Interior

  • Leather trim
  • Red accents
  • Red stitching
  • Sportier seats
  • Dark metal inserts
2019 Hyundai Tucson Interior
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Note: standard 2019 Hyundai Tucson pictured here.

The second teaser gives us a glimpse at the interior and focuses on the gear shifter. The stick looks a lot like the one on the i30 N. It’s wrapped in leather from top to bottom, it has red accents, red contrast stitching, and a metallic insert with the letter "N." The photo also shows black leather seats with red contrast stitching on the bolsters. The seats are sportier than the ones in the standard Tucson and should be exclusive to this model. We should also find leather inserts on the door panels, an "N Line" badge on the steering wheel, dark metal inserts, other red highlights, and a black headliner.

Drivetrain

  • Standard engines
  • Includes 48V mild hybrid
  • Up to 182 horsepower
  • Stiffer suspension
  • Michelin tires?
2019 Hyundai Tucson Exterior
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Note: standard 2019 Hyundai Tucson pictured here.

Hyundai also offers a 2.0-liter diesel with a 48V mild hybrid system

Just like the i30 N Line, the Tucson N Line should be 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 won’t be offered on all five models though. Most likely, you won’t be able to order it with the 130-horsepower gasoline and 113-horsepower diesel engines.

So do you get anything new in this department with the N Line package? Hyundai will probably add a sportier, stiffer suspension setup, just like it does with other N Line cars. Sportier tires could also be on the table, but don’t expect to get the high-performance Michelin rubber available with the smaller vehicles.

Pricing

2019 Hyundai Tucson N Line
- image 824724

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
- image 822307

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
- image 683871

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
- image 824725

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. And based on what the i30 N Line has to offer, the Tucson N Line should be interesting to say the least.

  • Leave it
    • No drivetrain upgrades

Further reading

2019 Hyundai Tucson Exterior
- image 775648

Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Tucson.

2019 Hyundai Veloster N Exterior
- image 761352

Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Veloster N.

2018 Hyundai i30 N Exterior High Resolution
- image 723387

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai i30 N.

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