What is it?
Here we have another example of Hyundai’s halfway-house sporting trim line, applied to the brand’s big-selling family SUV. We first sampled the delights of N-Line last year in the i30, bridging the market gap between the fizzing heat of the i30 N and the stark tepidity of the regular hatchback.
This doesn’t apply to the Tucson, however - at least for the time being. Word on the street is that a full-fat Cupra Ateca rival is in the works, but that’s a good year away at the very least. So, if you want a sporty Tucson, here’s your lot for now. Think Volkswagen’s R-Line and Ford’s ST-Line trims to understand the intention.
However, perhaps even 'sporty' is an adjective too far for the particular variant we’re testing here: the fleet-friendly 1.6-litre diesel, which is boosted by a recently introduced 48V mild hybrid system. Thankfully, you can also have a 174bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine.
Most of the appeal here is visual, then. There’s black detailing everywhere, black 19in alloy wheels, a unique LED daytime running light design and bespoke bumpers. As well as some familiar N brand touches inside, including red leather stitching, there are more supportive seats and the same gearknob as the i30 N.
Hyundai claims a bit of dynamic substance here, though; the suspension is lightly tweaked for tighter body control, while the software calibration of the steering is revised with the aim of giving “a more direct, linear feel”.