Hot on the heels of the launch of Hyundai's impressive new Tucson SUV comes the sporty version - the Tucson N-Line. Is it really sporty, though, or does it simply look a bit sporty? Well, we'll get to that in a tic...
Dramatic styling, only more so
First off, and most obviously, the N-Line ramps up the Tucson's already-dramatic styling with some new additions. The grille (with its ultra-cool 'Parametric' lights) which was already pretty big on the standard Tucson, is taller and wider on the N-Line. The shapes cut into the grille have also been sharpened up for a little more definition, and there's an N-Line badge as well.
There's a new bumper, a bigger front air intake, and black surrounds for the headlights. At the side, there are mouldings designed to give the Tucson a slightly slimmer look, while the 'Day Light Opening' (DLO in designer-speak, side windows to you and I) is now surrounded with a black trim finish, rather than chrome, and the side-mirrors get the same treatment.
There's a bigger rear spoiler than on the standard car, a 'diffuser' under the rear bumper, which also gets a new red rear reflector band, and twin-exhausts which - praise be - appear to not be fake. There are also 19-inch alloys, an optional 'Phantom Black' contrast roof, and an N-Line specific paint - 'Shadow Grey'.
Red stitching, big screens
The interior isn't much changed from that of the standard Tucson, although Hyundai does claim that it's "accentuated by sporty N-Line interior styling and an exclusive colour pack." Those touches include N-branded sports seats with black suede and leather seat coverings, as well as red stitching. Red stitching is also woven on the door trim and armrest, while the grey cloth dash pad is garnished with red accents. A dedicated N-steering wheel arrives complete with an N-logo, of course. Other N-design elements are to be found on the leather gear shift knob or shift by wire console cover, depending on the chosen transmission. Meanwhile, a black headliner gives the interior an extra sporty touch. Further N-Line enhancements include metal pedals, a foot rest and door steps.
There's a standard 10.25-inch central infotainment screen, and another 10.25-inch screen for the instruments, along with three-zone climate control and ventilated seats. The rear seats get heaters, too. There's also an extensive safety package that includes the Blind-spot View Monitor (BVM) system, which flashes up a blind-view camera image in the instrument panel when you flick the indicator.
Back to the question of just how sporty the Tucson N-Line will really be. The answer appears to be: 'slightly, actually.' Hyundai says that the N-Line version 'has been developed and tested in Europe.' There's an optional adaptive Electronically Controlled Suspension (ECS) system, and Hyundai says that all of the suspension settings have been tweaked to make the N-Line feel a little more dynamic than the standard model.
The Tucson N-Line will be available with the full line-up of existing Tucson engines including the 1.6 turbo petrol mild hybrid in 150hp and 180hp forms; the non-hybrid 1.6 turbo petrol in 150hp form; the 230hp hybrid; and, later this year, the 265hp plug-in hybrid.