Before we even get started, please note: this is not the full-fat, swivel-eyed i20 N model. What you’re looking at now is a mildly modified 1-litre turbo-petrol derivative. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing…
You should know: The proper i20 N has a 150kW 1.6L turbo engine but is not for sale in southern Africa. Without even researching it, I can guarantee that it has painted-on tyres, solid suspension, considerable traction issues and a hefty price tag. OK, maybe it’s not that awful but I’d like to champion this lesser N-Line model for the following reasons.
More info: It looks half-sporty with twin exhaust tips, shiny alloys and sporty seats. However, none of them produce an uncomfortable ride or sizable holes in the owner’s wallet. I shudder to think what a real i20N would cost because this one already requires R412,000. On the upside, it’s incredibly well-spec’d and has hardly any optional extras.
Why you shouldn’t: Performance may be a deal-breaker to serious speed freaks as this 1-litre 3-cylinder turbo-petrol only puts out 90kW or 172Nm through a 7-speed DCT. That means 0-100km/h in 9.9 seconds (we managed 9.79) and a top speed of 187km/h. Compared to the proper i20 N’s 6.2 seconds and 230km/h, that’s rather pedestrian.
Why you should: However. Power delivery is very eager and the chassis responds in a beautifully lively manner so all our testers remarked that this i20 N-Line felt much faster than its numbers suggest. It pops and burbles between gears, has excellent brakes and headlights, while claiming to use just 6.9L/100km from the 37L tank.
If you behave yourself…
What else? We’re probably not making friends with the following statement but this i20 N-Line felt more exciting than a new Polo GTi we also tested recently. Of course the VW has far superior performance (in fact, close to the real i20 N’s numbers) but if you’re 100k short of a Polo GTi’s price… we can highly recommend this cheeky little Hyundai!
|999cc i-3 turbo-petrol
|7-speed DCT, FWD
|90kW @ 6000rpm
|172Nm @ 1500rpm
|9.79 seconds (claimed 9.9)