Crossovers

Hyundai Tucson N Line is a sharper, sportier SUV

It's only been announced in Europe so far, but hopefully the US gets a crack at it, too.

Hyundai

America's first taste of Hyundai's new N Line trim came at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, by way of the Elantra GT N Line. Europe had the similar i30 N Line before that, and now, there's a second addition to the stable on the other side of the Atlantic.

Hyundai this week unveiled the Tucson N Line. Available just in Europe for the time being, the Tucson N Line is the first Hyundai SUV to sport this package of appearance and performance upgrades. Think of it as a stepping stone on the way to a proper N badge, which ramps performance up even further.

On the outside, the Tucson N Line sports more aggressive bumpers with a dark grille pattern up front and dark chrome scattered about. The 19-inch alloy wheels are also dark, as are the mirror caps and the rear spoiler. Heck, even the headlights have a darker appearance than usual, but they also carry a unique running light design.

It doesn't make any more power than usual, but that's not the point of the N Line trim.

Hyundai

The interior is a little less gussied up. There are sport seats covered in leather and suede and marked with N Line branding. There's red accent stitching on the seats, as well, which extends to the steering wheel. The gear lever has red accents and leather wrapping, and there's also a set of alloy pedals.

Just like the Elantra GT N Line, the package isn't entirely about aesthetics. The power steering and suspension have been adjusted to provide a little sportier feeling for drivers and passengers. The top two trims have front springs that are 8 percent stiffer than before, as well as rear springs that add 5 percent more rigidity. The steering hasn't changed physically, but it was retuned to feel more direct, Hyundai says.

Three powertrains are available on the Euro-spec Tucson N Line. Two of those happen to be diesel engines tied to a 48-volt mild hybrid system -- a 1.6-liter setup that puts out 134 horsepower, and a 2.0-liter setup that's good for 182 horsepower. If you'd rather not rock diesel, there's also a 174-horsepower, 1.6-liter gas I4 on offer. Front- and all-wheel drive are both available, too. The 1.6-liter setup represents the "base" Tucson N Line, so it doesn't receive the stiffer setup that the other two trims do.