In what is surely the first sign of spring, Hyundai will offer its redesigned 2022 Tucson N Line model, followed by a Plug-in Hybrid variant come summer, the company announced Tuesday. The 2022 Tucson N Line joins the Veloster, Elantra, and Sonata in Hyundai’s N and N Line line-up.
Hyundai’s N performance brand is made up of models that receive performance upgrades and visual enhancements (N) and those that merely receive the latter (N Line). Consider it extra show, not extra go.
Still, the N Line isn’t merely a trifle. For starters, all N Lines come equipped with the SEL and Convenience packages, dolloped with a heavy dose of sporty exterior trim that includes a N-Line front and rear fascia, special grille, black headlamp bezels unique 19-inch wheels, black side mirrors and window trim, a dual tipped exhaust and an N Line rear spoiler.
Cheery on the inside
Inside, you’ll find the N Line logos on the steering wheel, shifter and seats, just to remind you of the additional cash you spent. The leather and fabric seats feature red accents that are carried into the door trim as well. There’s a black headliner – just to cheer things up – as well as metal pedals and door sill plates and a Bose “premium” audio system.
Exterior colors include Ash Black, White Pearl, Titan Gray, and an N-Line exclusive Red Crimson. Inside, everything looks black, offset by interior accents.
Being an N Line, there wasn’t any mention of engine upgrades. So it’s assumed that buyers will get the same 2.5-liter double-overhead-cam 4-cylinder engine used in most of the line-up. It generates 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and shift-by-wire are optional.
Of course, given the Tucson’s 7.1 inches of ground clearance (8.3 inches with all-wheel drive), this package is more about the illusion of sportiness than true sportiness.
The real power’s found in the hybrids
Given the N Line’s specs, the Tucson’s new plug-in hybrid and hybrid models might be of greater interest. For starters, you get more power: 261 hp from its 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct-injected hybrid powertrain coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Its hybrid battery pack provides 13.8 kWh of power, providing an all-electric range of 32 miles and estimated fuel economy of 70 MPGe, dropping to a combined city/highway rating of 30 mpg in standard Hybrid mode. Hyundai says recharging takes less than two hours using the 7.2kW on-board charger.
And it packs a towing rating of 2,000 pounds when equipped with trailer brakes — the same as the rest of the Tucson line. All-wheel drive is standard. Hyundai didn’t elaborate on its standard Tucson Hybrid model, beyond saying its battery pack isn’t as large as the plug-in model’s, so one can assume that otherwise, the driveline is identical.
Hyundai says both hybrids incorporate “e-handling,” which uses electric motors to apply incremental braking force to the front wheels when entering a corner and supply torque to the rear axle when exiting.
So, how much does it cost?
Prices for the 2022 Hyundai Tucson start at $24,950, with the N Line front-wheel drive starting at $30,600. Adding all-wheel drive brings the price up to $32,000. Hybrid prices start at $29,050 for the Blue trim level, $31,600 for the SEL Convenience model, and $37,350 for the top-of-the-line Limited.
Prices do not include an additional $1,185 in destination and delivery charges.
The widening array of choice in the Tucson line-up reflects its growing importance to Hyundai’s American fortunes. It has proven to be a bright spot for the brand, outselling every other Hyundai model in the U.S. for 2020, after finishing second behind the Elantra in 2019 and 2018, and third prior to that.
An expanding electric vehicle portfolio
Clearly, Hyundai is intensifying its electrification efforts with an ever-expanding line of EVs and EV-owner benefits.
The company also announced Wednesday that 2021 Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric owners can access 250 kWh of complimentary charging at more than 2,400 Electrify America fast-charging stations. That’s enough to provide approximately 1,000 miles of driving range.
“We know EV interest and sales are expanding, nationwide and more people are adding chargers to their homes every day,” said Olabisi Boyle, vice president, product planning and mobility strategy for Hyundai Motor North America. “Our Kona and Ioniq EV owners are getting additional peace of mind when heading out on longer trips.”
As with other charging networks, Electrify America’s accounts are managed though a smartphone app.
The 2021 Kona Electric is Hyundai’s first compact electric crossover for the U.S. market, and is powered by a standard 64 kWh battery pack that provides an EPA-estimated 258 miles of range. The company says that it recharges to 80 percent charge in as little as 54 minutes using a 100 kW DC fast charger.
In contrast, the Ioniq Electric’s 38.3 kWh offers a total of 170 miles of EPA estimated range and boasts the same recharging time with a 100 kW DC fast charger. Where the Kona delivers 201 horsepower, the Ioniq EV delivers just 134.
There’s a difference in price as well. The Kona starts at $37,350; the Ioniq EV, $33,245.
But the added benefit should help new EV owners overcome their range anxiety fears, since 96% of the population live within 120 miles of an Electrify America charger.
“With more than 500 charging stations in the U.S., Electrify America’s network gives EV owners range confidence traveling across town or across the country,” said Wayne Killen, director of automotive and fleet business development at Electrify America.