Hyundai enters the performance segment - i20 N Line
i20 N Line Review
If you wanted to look sportier and cheerful, wear sportier attire and be energetic. Similarly, Hyundai wanted to bring their sports variant and they have chosen its hot-selling premium hatchback the i20 and launched Hyundai i20 N Line. For Hyundai, N means Namyang, which is the R&D centre for the company and of course, the legendary Nurburgring circuit. N brand will be Hyundai’s version of AMG or M from Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The i20 N Line is not the full-blown N range, but it’s the N Line, that doesn’t mean that it’s just a cosmetic job. The changes in the N Line run deeper than cosmetics, and there are a fairly significant number of mechanical changes as well.
So, what is the difference in terms of driving experience? Is it sportier as Hyundai claims or not? Motor Vikatan tells you how the new car looks and feels like. In terms of design, the N Line i20 looks a little sportier and a little more energetic compared to the standard i20. The immediate change you notice is the new grill, which has got a checkered layout to it, and it gives it a bit more sportiness. Of course, there’s also the N Line batch placed in the grill and you’ve got the nice sporty looking red insert in the bumper.
Hyundai has priced the i20 N Line very competitively. If you look at the top variant, the difference between the standard i20 and the N Line is just about Rs 50,000. And for the incremental price that you’re paying, you get quite an amount of kit. You get a better-looking body on the outside.
On the sides, you get different sets of 16-inch alloy wheels, which are much nicer looking than the kind of stuff we have been seeing from a lot of automakers these days. The car also gets red inserts in the lower portion of the doors similar to the front bumper. The N Line also wears a lot of black inserts across the car especially the spoiler, which is much larger than the standard car. The rear also gets a sportier bumper and a very good looking twin layout exhaust pipe. So all of these changes give the N Line i20, a much sportier design than the standard version.
Once you step inside the cabin of the N Line, the changes just like the exterior are subtle yet evident. And that lets you know, that this car is a little bit sportier than the standard i20. It has got an all-black interior and red accents that run across the cabin like the red stitching on the seats, red piping, red stitching on the steering wheel and red chequered flag motif and the N logo on the leatherette seats as well. So all of these things add to the sportiness of the cabin and let you know that it’s a bit more than your standard i20. In terms of space, nothing has changed. It’s still the same as the standard i20. So you get the same amount of space and that means it is still a comfortable place to be in with a good amount of legroom, knee room, and headroom in the rear.
In terms of features too, it’s a well-loaded car as the N Line is positioned above the top variant of the standard i20. It’s a fully connected car and more importantly, there’s a lot of safety and convenience that you get with it.
So now with the appearance is done, let us get into the meat of the N Line, where the performance comes into play. Like I said earlier, the changes are not cosmetic. There are some mechanical changes as well. So what are those? The first big change that you can see is the rear disk brakes, which means, it brakes a lot better than the standard car. It also has an updated suspension, a very slightly tuned one to have that little bit better feel. The suspension damping rate has gone up by about 30% and that means you get lesser body roll and better control through corners. The steering is also responsive in the N Line as the torque has been upgraded and as a result of which now you get much more weighted steering which is more engaging and that is something that the standard i20 missed out on.
Once you step inside the cabin of the N Line, the changes just like the exterior are subtle yet evident. And that lets you know, that this car is a little bit sportier than the standard i20.
You might think, earlier I said let us get into the performance part but still not talking about the engine performance. Yes, I don’t have anything to say on that, since there are no changes to the powertrain, it remains the same. But if you look at it in a nutshell, the N Line is a fast car. It is a quick car with the same one-litre turbocharged engine. You get the 120PS and 172 Nm of torque. You get a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, or the IMT to choose from in terms of transmission. And as a result of that, both the versions are pretty quick.
So what is there in the performance plate? The exhaust note has been improved. And as a result of that, it’s now a little louder and peppier. From the moment you start the car, it is evident that it’s a louder exhaust, and that’s a good thing. Even when you’re driving, it’s quite audible. But once you cross 4,000 RPM, that’s when the exhaust just fades out beyond that.
With the overall cosmetic change and mechanical tweaks except for the engine, i20 N Line is much more fun and more importantly, it is now a much more engaging car to drive. And that is precisely what the i20 was missing but the i20 N Line now brings that back.
So that brings us to the most important bit and that’s surprising if you look at the pricing. Hyundai has priced the i20 N Line very competitively. If you look at the top variant, the difference between the standard i20 and the N Line is just about Rs 50,000. And for the incremental price that you’re paying, you get quite an amount of kit. You get a better-looking body on the outside. Yeah. A good set of changes inside the cabin as well. But more importantly, you get a car that has been mechanically tuned to be more fun and more engaging. And for the amount that you’re paying, I think the N Line offers very good value for money.