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Driven | Hyundai i20 N Line

Quick Facts:

  • Price: From R405 900
  • Engine: 1.0-litre turbo
  • Transmission: 7-speed DCT
  • Power/Torque: 90 kW/172 Nm

We recently spent time sampling the new Hyundai i20 N Line which brings the sportier styling of the N with a flavour of the hot hatchback’s sharper drive, without sacrificing comfort or usability.

The Hyundai i20 N Line makes use of a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that’s also found in the regular i20 however, on startup, there is a throaty burble that owners will love.

On the exterior, the i20 N Line gets ample enhancements. The front bumper gets minor tweaks which look a bit more aggressive while the side skirts look phenomenal. The all-black front grille sports an interesting chequered flag-inspired design, you also find diamond-cut 16-inch alloys and red front brake callipers. The rear gets a new bumper, twin exhaust tips, as well as a roof spoiler with side wings finished in black. And just to ensure you don’t mistake it for the standard i20, you will notice ‘N Line’ badges on the front grille, side fenders and tailgate. Automatic LED headlights also make a feature.

Inside, splashes of red on the seats as well as the cabin to further enhance its sportiness. The seats feature a very sporty red stitching and the ‘N Line’ branding, as does the new steering wheel which does feel a bit heavier than that of the standard i20. There are some red highlights on the air vents, door handles and gear lever while red ambient lighting sets up the mood a night. You’ll also find a 10.25-inch touchscreen that has android and apple CarPlay functionality which can be used wirelessly however it glitches a lot when used wirelessly. The digital driver's display looks like that of the automakers that are based in Munich, however, displays vital information clearly. There is also a sunroof which brings in some light while the standard sound system sounds crisp. Overall, the seats are comfortable and spacious, and storage and practicality are aplenty too.

The drive is quite engaging, albeit a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that’s at the helm, it tries its best to ensure that the driver is always having fun. Couple that with the throaty exhaust and you have a winner. Fuel consumption can be low when driven economically, however, spirited driving automatically turns into nightmares as far as fuel is concerned. We do feel that some extra power could’ve been added to match the looks as well as the sound that comes from the dual exhaust pipes, especially for the South African market that does not get the full-fledged i20 N model. 

We felt like this motor lets you down in its delayed power delivery below 2,000rpm, which can get annoying at low speeds, leading to sluggish off-the-line responses. So, does the i20 N Line feels as sporty to drive as it looks? And the answer would be yes and no. And here is why; Besides the obvious sportier styling bits, the i20 N Line features three crucial mechanical upgrades over the standard i20, and the good news is that these do enhance its sportiness, however, that’s where it all ends, the fact that there aren’t any power upgrades means that you are left with a “sportier” looking car that just doesn’t go anywhere while emitting loud sounds. It begs you to drive it fast and hard but when you eventually do, you are left wanting more power.

Overall, the i20 N Line is a great package, it looks good, drives fairly great and it has a lot of standard equipment to make your daily life easier. It’s also worth noting that Pricing is a bit on the high side.

The Hyundai i20 N-Line comes with a seven-year or 150 000km mechanical warranty.

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