Driving impression: Hyundai Tucson N-Line makes a bold statement

The new Hyundai Tucson has now gained the N-Line treatment and sees the addition of all-wheel-drive to the range. As a result of its added kit it features an even more striking exterior, as well as an interior to match, to set it apart from the sea of SUV rivals writes Mark Keohane.

Hyundai has done well to not drop the ball on the outside of a car that ticks all the boxes internally. Striking 19-inch wheels and prominent exhaust exits add a touch of aggressiveness, while the N-Line badging and distinct grille further enhance its overall sporty appeal. I’ve heard a few complaints of “over-styling”, but I enjoy the bold exterior, especially given the fact that the car comes with no needed optional extras and retails for R799 000. In today’s money that’s impressive for a flagship family SUV.

Step inside the Tucson N-Line, and you’ll find a modern cabin that exudes class and sophistication. The use of materials is top-notch, with even the harder plastics exhibiting a solid high-quality feel. The interior design strikes a balance between modern aesthetics and functionality, creating a visually appealing and comfortable environment. I’m not usually one for suede, but Hyundai has made it work in this application.

The infotainment system is highly responsive and intuitive to use. The touchscreen interface is well-designed and offers seamless integration with your smartphone, thanks to the support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Navigating through menus and accessing various features proved easy, and the fact that I didn’t have to fiddle with the system at all made the driving experience that much more enjoyable.

Both the steering wheel itself and the feel it provided were standout features for me, especially within the context of the comprehensively positive ride quality that the car provided. The steering offered a good level of responsiveness and precision, and the grippy leather feels great in hand, making you feel well connected to the road. It was clear from this first drive that Hyundai has paid attention to detail, ensuring that every aspect of the driving experience is refined and enjoyable.

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Under the bonnet, the Hyundai Tucson N-Line boasts a powerful and efficient engine that perfectly complements its driving experience. Equipped with, you guessed it, a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine, it delivers an impressive 137 kW of power and a robust 416 N.m of torque. This powertrain provides ample acceleration and responsiveness, making overtaking effortless and highway cruising enjoyable.

The engine’s relatively refined nature is right in line with the distinguished design of the car, and allows for a smooth and enjoyable ride, with minimal noise and vibration entering the cabin. Coupled with an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system, the Tucson N-Line delivers seamless gear shifts and reasonable fuel efficiency, which is especially noticeable driving around the steep roads of Vredehoek where I’ve often found automatic transmissions struggle to find the right gear during short uphill bursts and sharp turns. The powertrain in the N-Line bridges the gap between urban runs and longer journeys well, delivering a good blend of performance and efficiency.

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One aspect of the package that definitely deserves praise is the Tucson N-Line’s all-wheel-drive system. This feature is noticeably present, especially when driving in challenging road conditions, as has been the case in rainy Cape Town every day for the last two weeks. The system ensures optimal traction and stability, allowing you to maintain control even on slippery surfaces and you can feel it deal with the rain-soaked tarmac with equanimity.

What I really took away from my time with this model is Hyundai’s commitment to quality. The attention to detail extends to the choice of cabin materials, which are not only visually appealing but also feel durable. The interior exudes sophistication and refinement, making it a pleasure to spend time in the vehicle, while the exterior exudes a sense of occasion found with vehicles costing significantly more.

The Hyundai Tucson N-Line offers a responsive and engaging driving experience. The handling is precise, the steering is delightful, and the all-wheel drive system instils confidence on any road surface. Inside, the cabin impresses with its classy use of materials, even extending to the plastics. The infotainment system is both responsive and user-friendly, ensuring seamless connectivity and entertainment during your journeys. If you’re in the market for a practical and reliable family SUV that doesn’t compromise on driving enjoyment, the Hyundai Tucson N-Line is definitely worth considering.

Hyundai Tucson N-Line at a glance:

  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Power: 137 kW
  • Torque: 416 N.m
  • Fuel Economy: 6.5 L/100 km (claimed average)
  • Price: R799 000

All photographs taken by Peet Mocke. Follow him on Instagram: @peetmocke_