It is almost strange to speak, still in 2022, of a small sports city car. Yet the Hyundai i20 N it is a small, rare gem, a bright dot within the automotive universe increasingly destined for standardization and leveling out differences. It is therefore fortunate that in Hyundai – and more specifically in the N department – there are still those who, for passion, for pleasure and for fun, still know how to make (accessible) sports cars. After the good things done with the i30 N and Veloster N, the ‘racing’ department of the Korean manufacturer has got its hands on the small and tasty i20, to make it a real object of pleasure. Simple, direct, fun And concretethese are the pillars of the new Hyundai i20 N.
DESIGN AND DIMENSIONS
The Hyundai i20N makes its intentions clear right from the first glance. Lowered suspension, aesthetic body kit and bright colors with red finishes make it more sporty to the eye. The specific 3D effect grid, the miniskirts side panels with “N” logo, the oval chromed tailpipe and the showy aileron in the back. A rather marked approach, as regards the exterior, which are more extroverted than, for example, a Fiesta ST or Polo GTI, direct rivals of the segment.
However, it is not all the scene, because the small aerodynamic appendages in the lower area and the spoiler in the rear area help to generate a more downforce, especially at high speeds. The new ones circles forged from 18 “, with a matte finish help to reduce the weight of the unsprung masses and have a specific design. Also revised thetrim, without the possibility of electronic control but completely adapted by the N department, with dedicated shock absorbers and other improvements regarding specific angles and, more generally, the work of the suspensions. Unfortunately there is only a system with interconnected wheels at the rear – more than understandable considering the segment to which it belongs – but the adjustment made by Hyundai technicians is surprising.
Then the size compared to the standard i20, with 4.07 meters long for 1.77 in width and 1.44 m in height. Remarkable then the weight, 1.190 kg dry, all in all interesting considering the presence of a “heavy” 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder petrol in the bonnet. Neither does the capacity of the trunkalways 352 litersalmost a record for the segment.
INTERIORS AND TECHNOLOGIES
Small but targeted changes also inside, on the mold of what has already been done previously on the i30 N. We find the light blue (Performance Blue), the typical color of Hyundai N, to give liveliness to the passenger compartment. In fact, blue inserts appear on the dashboard, on the vents but also on the central tunnel, on the manual gear knob and, above all, on the new sports steering wheel N. The typical ones are in fact present N and N Mode keys to select the three standard driving modes (Eco, Normal and Sport) or the two sportier ones (N and N Custom). Do not miss the red button (REV), dedicated to the insertion of the automatic shotgun.
Through the new system of10.25-inch infotainment, in the appropriate menu N you can configure the various parameters for what concerns the solidity of the steering, intervention of the differential, exhaust sound, engine reactivity and automatic side-by-side. It is equipped with all the necessary technologies, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, via cable, as well as bluetooth streaming and DAB radio. Not the most reactive on the market but all in all in line with the segment. There is also a digital instrumentation in front of the steering wheel, with clear graphics and aN mode specific animationvery scenic and satisfying to the eye.
The respondents also present driver assistance systemscapable of going as far as second level, with Adaptive Cruise Control, Active Lane Line Maintainer, Traffic Sign Reader, Blind Spot Monitoring, Automatic Emergency Braking and many more. They work quite well even if, at times, it is necessary to intervene on the pedals because the acceleration and braking are too violent. L’equipment of the new Hyundai i20 N appears then rather richwith heated front and rear seats, two USB ports, wireless charging plate for the smartphone, dual-zone automatic climate control and full-led headlights, as well as parking sensors and rear view camera (albeit with low resolution).
A few corners are enough to enter the special stage of the Rally. On board the i20 N you breathe all his Motorsport DNA gained in the experience of the World Rally Championship, in which the Korean manufacturer has collected several successes including the world title in 2019 and 2020. The car’s controls, therefore steering, gearbox and pedals are calibrated in an excellent way in order to return the right feeling on who sits behind the wheel. Starting right from the gearbox, with dry and quick, precise couplings, able to satisfy those looking for a “male” command. Using the special button on the steering wheel, you can set the automatic shotgun, useful for giving bangs and pops from the exhaust when shifting or downshifting.
The structure is also remarkable, surprisingly rigid, more than other sporty C-segments, but at the same time able to digest the undulations of the asphalt well, thus restoring a phenomenal road holding. He is also helped by the N self-locking differential with limited slip, able to distribute the torque between the two front wheels so as not to lose even a millimeter of trajectory and be damn effective.
Even when entering the curve, we notice how the inner wheel is slightly braked to help pivot around it, thus generating a sort of angular momentum and making it easier for us to set the curve in the best possible way. The rear faithfully follows the direction imprinted with the front, which is always precise and never understeer. Leaving the gas in the middle of the curve you can thus appreciate a slight oversteer behavior, essential to close the trajectories, but never invasive or dangerous. On certain occasions, the i20 N is also able to lift the rear inner wheel at the bendit is so rigid and well ‘planted’ on the ground.
Note of merit for thebraking systemreally powerful and tireless, even after long sessions of aggressive road driving. At the front there are two-piston floating calipers with 320 mm self-ventilated discs (262 mm in the back). We have not had the opportunity to take it to the track but the feedback obtained is definitely positive. Immediate, modular and well able to manage even the high summer temperatures without problems. The handbrake with the lever is also a treat for those who love to attack tightly the tightest corners, just like a real rally driver.
And finally we arrive at the motor, perhaps the least exciting aspect of the car, despite being a very sophisticated mechanics. His 1.6 TGDI 4-cylinder turbo petrol it would be perfect, if only there was no direct rival called the 1.5 Ecoboost of Ford origin. The surplus of the 4 cylinders, with 204 CV And 275 Nm of maximum torque makes it decidedly full-bodied and full of “back” at half speed (already from 2,250 rpm), up to giving a considerable extension over 4,000 rpm, where it is surprising for its ability to touch the limiter without being affected in terms of thrust. It almost looks like a VTEC for the delivery mode.
However, the great explosiveness at the highs is paid for in the low area, where more reactivity and promptness would be required, with a mixture of turbo-lag (more than normal) and perhaps slightly long ratios for the manual gearbox. Not that it ever appears slow, indeed, with solos 6.2 seconds declared on 0-100 km / h And 230 km / h of maximum speed, the data is truly remarkable. It is more a matter of sensations, where more tenacity and elasticity would be required in the slower phases, as if it had too much inertia in the rotation or as if it were slightly electronically throttled.
- ENGINE: 1.6 TGDI, 4-cylinder turbo petrol
- DRIVEN BY NEW DRIVERS: no
- POWER: 204 CV (150 kW)
- TORQUE: 275 Nm between 1,750 and 4,000 rpm
- Front-wheel drive
- GEARBOX: manual, 6 gears with automatic double
- SUSPENSIONS: Front MacPherson, rear torsion beam
- LENGTH: 4.075 mm
- WIDTH: 1,775 mm
- HEIGHT: 1,440 mm
- PITCH: 2,580 mm
- LUGGAGE: 352 liters
- RIMS: 18 “
- TIRES: 215/40 R18 89 Y
- WEIGHT: 1,190 Kg (1,265 in running order)
- MAXIMUM SPEED: 230 km / h
- ACCELERATION 0-100 Km / h: 6.2 seconds
- CONSUMPTION: 6.9 l / 100 km (combined WLTP)
- CO2 EMISSIONS: 158 grams per km (combined WLTP)
- STEERING RADIUS: 5.2 meters
PRICE: from 28,700 euros;
CONCLUSION AND PRICES
A car energeticsparkling and robust the i20 N, capable of instilling a sense of solidity and safety not taken for granted for a car in this segment. It clearly excels in driving sensations, with a gearbox capable of making us appreciate every gear transition, an impressive road holding and a rather masculine steering, capable of imparting great directionality to the front. It would take a little more twitch from the engine, powerful and capable of great thrust especially at high revs, but we do not complain, in the end, of the about 11 km / l recorded with rather cheerful gaits and not like an “old man with a hat”. Too bad that the digital petrol indicator often works in an unclear way, rising or falling in a way that is not proportional to the liters in the tank or to the liters supplied.
Perhaps the quality of the rear-view camera and the responsiveness of the infotainment system could be improved, as well as the sensitivity of the steeringsometimes too heavy in N mode, but then she recovers (with interest) as soon as you hit the gas pedal, with a sound and sensations now rare to find on new cars. A perfect car for those looking for this type, capable of entertaining and, if necessary, to reinvent itself as an everyday city car, never too extreme and binding – if you can live with a slightly rigid set-up and a gearbox / clutch unit not really designed for city traffic.
The price? Let’s go from 28,700 euros including VATfrom the price list, a figure consistent with its performance, the standard equipment with the N Performance package (the only one available in Italy) and the current automotive context. Better than the Fiesta ST? It is difficult to find an objective answer: it often goes to personal tastes, sensations and opinions. The Fiesta is perhaps more ‘playful’, with a set-up that allows it more corrections, a more incisive differential and a more sparkling engine. The i20 N recovers with extremely immersive sound, phenomenal roadholding and a high-rev boost that the Fiesta lacks. To you the arduous sentence.