A track ready hot hatch that is bearable to live with on a daily basis, does such a vehicle exist? Well in the Hyundai i20 N it does!
With Namyang and Nürburgring-honed suspension that applies lessons learned from i30 N, a high-performance front brake package featuring 320mm front rotors, which are a full 40mm larger than those fitted to the regular i20 sold in Europe and 215/40R18 Pirelli P-Zero tyres that were developed in collaboration between Hyundai N and Pirelli, you will be ready to hit the track at a moment’s notice in the i20 N.
Lucky then that Hyundai have programmed into the infotainment system a comprehensive list of track maps so you can do just that. The Track Maps feature will even automatically alert you when you’re near a compatible race circuit and will automatically run the lap timer as you cross the start/finish line.
But back to the real world where you will be spending most of your time with the i20 N it is good to know that the ride quality on this track focussed hot hatch is not too firm at all being even bearable to live with in N Mode and the clutch is nicely weighted as well.
There are actually three different N modes to select from with standard N Mode engaged by pressing the N button on the right-hand side of the steering wheel. When you engage N mode the Forward Collision warning can be turned off and the ESC switches to Sport mode. Finally, the large central taco on the digital dash emblazes with flames, a feature I particularly liked.
The other two custom N modes are engaged by pressing the N button on the left-hand side of the steering wheel, Hyundai call this the N Grin Control System and I could not think of a more apt name for it! Under the customisation settings you can select between Normal, Sport or Sport+ for the Engine, Steering, Rev matching (this can be turned off by pressing the Rev button on the steering wheel as well), ESC and Exhaust sound. The other three drive modes available are Eco, Normal and Sport and the digital dash varies depending on the mode selected.
The ignition source for this hot hatch is an all-new 1.6-litre turbocharged N powertrain with the SmartStream G1.6 T-GDi unit featuring a bespoke turbocharger, intercooler and water pump system for i20 N, with drive sent to the front wheels. The maximum power of 150kW achieved between 5,500 to 6,000rpm so you will be rewarded for chasing the 6,700rpm red line and if you are in N mode while doing this the central taco will light up orange at first as the revs rise, then red and finally it flashes to tell you to shift up the next gear in the six-speed manual transmission. ‘Flat Power’ tuning is applied to give the four-cylinder broad torque, with 275Nm produced from 1,750 to 4,500rpm, and 304Nm available on overboost. The official combined fuel economy is 6.9L/100km and for my week of fun I used 8.5L/100km.
The exterior styling of the i20 N emphasises its hot hatch status with an aerodynamic front bumper design, side skirts and dual level spoiler. The i20 N is offered in Performance Blue, Polar White, Sleek Silver, Dragon Red (Premium colour + $495) and Phantom Black (Premium colour + $495), with a choice of a single-tone scheme or a contrasting Phantom Black roof (a $1,000 option).
The racy elements carry on into the interior of the i20 N with the premium, cloth-trimmed sports bucket front seats with bolstering that hugs your waist. The driver’s seat has manual adjustment for height, recline and forward back and the passenger’s seat has recline and forward/back only. Even though there is no height adjustment on the passenger seat I did not feel like I was sitting up too high in it. The front seats have N logoed fixed headrests and Performance Blue stitching complete a sporty theme.
The rest of the cabin is a bit sparse with hard plastic covering most of the surfaces and rigid cup holders in the centre console. At the front of the centre console is a cubby with wireless phone charging, two USB ports and one 12V outlet. The i20 N only has single zone climate control, but you do get an 8-speaker Bose premium audio system with a front centre channel and a subwoofer in the boot and keyless entry/start.
The 10.25-inch widescreen multimedia unit in i20 N includes all the features and functionality found in Hyundai’s most premium products, including multi-Bluetooth capability, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, digital radio, USB multimedia and satellite navigation. Plus, under N mode you can view throttle percentage, oil temperature, engine temperature, brake pressure percentage, and a lap timer on the main screen. Voice control can be accessed by pressing the button on the steering wheel with the masculine looking silhouette on it, but only operates when Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is connected via USB.
I found that leg room in the rear seats was adequate, but head room was tight. There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but only enough room for two car seats due to the seat width. There is no fold down arm rest in the centre seat and no rear air vents, but you do get good sized drink bottle storage in the door cubbies and on central USB port.
The tailgate is manually opened with some power assistance and the boot would fit a small stroller and a small shop in it and if more space is required the rear seats have a 60:40 split fold mechanism. The cargo net is secured by four plastic tie down points, and the boot also has one hook and an elastic strap that would hold a small fire extinguisher and I liked that the parcel shelf could be slid down and stored out of the way. Under the boot floor there is a space saver spare tyre.
The current Hyundai i20 does not have an ANCAP safety rating but the i20 N comes with six airbags and a long list of active safety features that include standard cruise control, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Following Assist, and High Beam Assist. In addition, the i20 N also has auto lights, auto wipers and a standard rear-view camera with front and rear sensors.
All new Hyundai’s come with Hyundai iCare that includes a Lifetime Service Plan so customers can enjoy exclusive service pricing with no hidden fees, Roadside Support Plan and Sat Nav Update Plan, both available up to 10 years. Plus, a suite of other owner benefits like, access to myHyundai, an online portal designed to help Hyundai owners get to know their new car and access to special offers, and the support of our dedicated customer care experts, always on hand to help with any questions or issues that customers may have. All that and the reassurance of Hyundai’s 5 Year Unlimited Km vehicle warranty.
I had so much fun driving the Hyundai i20 N, it is such an enjoyable little hot hatch with a great engine that really picks up and goes when you plant your right foot. The i20 N has one hotter feature, the price, as it starts at $34,990 excluding on-road costs! Visit your preferred Hyundai dealer for more information or build and price your i20 N online.
|It’s a lot of fun to drive!||No rear air vents|
|The race track menu||Only comes with cloth seats|
|Competitively priced||No ANCAP safety rating|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.