Hyundai's N division is set to expand.
We loved our time with the sporty Hyundai Kona N crossover when we drove it recently. It is another superb product from Hyundai's increasingly respected N high-performance division. But as great as models like the Kona N and Veloster N are, it's Hyundai's warm-but-not-hot N Line models that deserve a second look. For less money than a full-fat N, you're getting more than enough power and a few racy trimmings. So far, Hyundai's N Line variants have been limited to models like the Tucson and Elantra, but it seems that one of the brand's biggest vehicles is getting the N Line treatment too. It's none other than the midsize Hyundai Palisade.
In fact, the Palisade might be getting both an N Line and an N derivative. Australia's CarsGuide spoke to Hyundai's Guido Schenken about a potential N-badged Palisade, and he said: "N Line would come first. [Australia is] one of the biggest per capita (N) markets in the world. We're all for more Ns." Saying the N Line would "come first" leaves the door open for an even hotter Palisade N.
Schenken was referring to the Australian market specifically, where almost a quarter of new Hyundais sold are either N or N Line models. While a performance variant of a three-row family-sized crossover might seem odd, it would give the Palisade an edge over rivals like the Kia Telluride and Honda Pilot. Ford has also seen success with its Explorer ST, a three-row SUV that makes 400 horsepower.
In 2020, Hyundai published images of a Palisade N as an April Fool's joke, but fans were so keen on the concept that they began a petition to get it produced.
Currently, every version of the Palisade makes 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque from a 3.8-liter V6 engine. It's unclear what powertrain Hyundai would use for the Palisade N Line or N, though. The Palisade's V6 is already one of its most powerful engines, although models like the turbocharged Elantra N produce considerably more torque. Perhaps an uprated version of this turbo engine with around 350 hp could power the Palisade N Line or N - what we don't expect is a three-row SUV as insane as the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat.
As we saw with Hyundai's April Fool's joke, a Palisade N could look great with the customary red detailing, blue paint, aggressive grille, and larger wheels. Whatever the engine is, the Palisade N would benefit from a fast dual-clutch transmission, and the cabin should come with all the trimmings from N models like sporty gauges and microsuede upholstery.
With the 2023 Palisade topping out at just over $50,000 for the Calligraphy model with all-wheel drive, the N Line would presumably cost about the same with less of a focus on luxury, while the Palisade N could be priced closer to $60,000.