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Hyundai bosses all but confirm full-fat Tucson N

N family: going by recent comments made by HMC officials, the Tucson is in line to get the full fat N makeover into a blistering performance SUV.

Hyundai executives drop massive hints that the Tucson N performance SUV is a go

15 Sep 2020

HYUNDAI Motor Company (HMC) bosses have all but confirmed the existence and or development of a full fat N Performance version of its all-new Tucson mid-sized SUV.


Speaking to international media at the global launch of the new Tucson, the possibility of a flagship Tucson N was far from ruled out by HMC global product management boss Lorenz Glaab and head of global design SangYup Lee when questions on the subject were raised more than once.


“Everything’s possible, we do monitor the market very attentively … we don’t look so much at what others do, we look at the customer, we look at the market not only today, but in three, five years out, that is what’s important,” Mr Glaab said.


“So maybe other OEMs just don’t see an opportunity in this performance space (core market), we do, and we are very active not only on-road but also off-road with our racing activities.


“So all this combined means that our heart beats for N, and we will not only keep the N story alive, but we will build on that and well, watch out for exciting news.”


Rumours of a Tucson N have been circulating around the industry for months now with various leaked documents and figures surfacing in recent weeks only serving to help the whispers gain traction.


As alluded to by Mr Glaab, none of HMC’s direct rivals (in the context of the Tucson) currently offer a performance flagship in their SUV ranks, with the closest thing to a ‘hot’ mainstream SUV being the slightly warmer than most Ford Escape ST-Line (183kW/387Nm and sports suspension) due later in the year.


In terms of a powertrain, the general consensus surrounding the Tucson N is that it will be powered by a new turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine good for at least 250kW of power and an undisclosed amount of torque.


For reference, the same engine is tipped to feature under the bonnet of the semi-skim N-Line model – a variant that has officially been confirmed – as well as the looming Sonata N-Line with expected outputs of around 215kW/420Nm.


If these rumours prove correct, the Tucson would be catapulted a long way up the market – in terms of outputs and performance – and could actually outstrip or at least rub shoulders with far more premium offerings from the likes of Mercedes-AMG, Audi, Jaguar and BMW.


For the meantime though, HMC is keeping its cards close to its chest with Mr Glaab refusing to give up even a rough timeline for upcoming N models, let alone the hot Tucson.


“We do have a current portfolio of N models, and our clear intention is to build on that portfolio,” he said.


“Now what models exactly, when exactly, is a little early to tell and a little early to discuss.


“Anything’s possible … if we believe that in that particular segment for SUV body type, makes sense, so we can move very quickly I would say.”


The final titbit of information pointing towards a Tucson N was actually given up by the MC of the media event, HMC communications senior manager JH So, who told journalists to “please stay tuned until you hear more from us” following on from Mr Glaab’s comments.


In the meantime, the new Tucson is expected to touch down in Australia in the first half of 2021 with the sporty N-Line variant also due here within the same timeframe.


The local line-up, specifications and pricing are all yet to be announced with the confirmation due closer to the new model’s arrival.


HMCA has sold 9335 Tucsons so far this year ending August, accounting for a healthy 9.6 per cent share of the sub-$60,000 mid-sized SUV segment.

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