Hyundai’s N performance sub-brand got off to a decent start with the Veloster N, but the Korean automaker may soon take things in a very different direction. Hyundai is considering an N performance version of the Tucson crossover, reports British car magazine Auto Express. The Tucson N will reportedly arrive in two years, packing 340 horsepower.
The report, which cites an anonymous “insider” familiar with the matter, claims Hyundai is also aiming for zero to 60 mph in under six seconds. That would put the Tucson N within spitting distance of hot hatchbacks like the Veloster N, despite the fact that the Tucson will likely weight substantially more. Averaged across all trim levels, the current-generation Tucson weighs about 400 pounds more than a Veloster N, which has 275 hp and did zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds in a recent Car and Driver test.
Hot hatchbacks are fairly common, but hot crossovers are rare. Because they are heavier and taller than conventional cars, crossovers are not the ideal performance platform. Lightness and a low center of gravity are important in making a car go fast, but crossovers head in the opposite direction in order to maximize interior space and provide the jacked-up driving position customers love.
Most performance crossovers are luxury models like the Mercedes-AMG GLC63, Audi SQ5, and Porsche Macan Turbo. Ford has its Edge ST, and will soon launch an Explorer ST, but both are larger vehicles than the Tucson and aren’t as extensively upgraded as the more expensive German models.
That means if Hyundai introduced a Tucson N, it would essentially have the field to itself. The Tucson competes against compact crossovers like the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5. While some of these vehicles can be satisfying to drive, none has any real performance pretensions. Hyundai would be bringing a bazooka to a knife fight.
The Hyundai Tucson N hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, but its anticipated arrival date of two years from now would be close to the end of the current-generation Tucson’s life cycle. The current Tucson dates back to the 2016 model year, so it will likely be due for a redesign in two years. That means the Tucson N could be a limited-edition model, helping to drum up interest in an aging vehicle.
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