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When we talk about performance hatchbacks, words like power, acceleration, exciting design, and handling come into the mind. Due to India being a price-sensitive market, performance hatchbacks are rare to find. Most people want/intend/desire to own a hot hatch but when it comes to shelling out money, they prefer to settle for a seven-seater MPV for the same price due to its practicality. Recently, Hyundai Motor Company launched the much-anticipated i20 N Line in the Indian market this month. It definitely appears a smart compromise to bridge the gap between wanting and actually buying the product. The i20 N Line is the performance version of the standard i20. Besides this, it marks the entry of Hyundai’s N performance division in the country. Now you all must be wondering what this ‘N’ represents in the N Line? Well, N stands for Namyang - Hyundai’s headquarters in South Korea where the car is designed, and Nurburgring - the race track where the company develops and fine-tunes these models. While in the global markets the full-blown N cars are offered with a more powerful engine and a bigger price tag, here, in India, Hyundai i20 N Line boasts of sporty styling enhancements, subtle mechanical upgrades, and a more inclusive driving experience at an affordable price. Having said that, the sporty hatchback falls in the price range of Rs 9.84 lakh - Rs 11.75 lakh (ex-showroom). With this, the i20 N Line is Rs 50,000 costlier than the top-end variant of the standard i20. However, it shares the regular i20’s 119 bhp, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine. We drove the car in the royal city of Udaipur to find out how much muscle it has and how it performs on the road? Does it stay true to its character? Read through our review to find out more.
Hyundai i20 N Line: What it looks like?
In terms of design, the Hyundai i20 N Line comes with a plethora of changes that differentiate it from the standard i20. Talking about the front fascia, the hot hatch features Chequered Flag-inspired grille in piano black color instead of the traditional honeycomb mesh. The bonnet tapers downwards and comes with a lot of creases which gives the car an aggressive stance. The angled LED headlamps pour into the brand’s new wide-set grille. The look of the grille is further enhanced with a Hyundai emblem in dark chrome in the middle along with the N Line branding on the driver’s side headlight. The red highlight on the skid plate accentuates the sportiness of the car.
The side and rear profile of the i20 N Line remain largely the same as the regular i20. However, the highlight here is the N-Line badging on the front wings and on the boot lid. You once again get the red highlight here on the side sills. The ORVMs get a glossy black finish and are accompanied by a sleek indicator. The hatchback rides on 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels with the N logo. The front disc brakes feature red calipers while the rear disc brakes come with dark chrome calipers. The car further flaunts body-colored door handles. Moving towards the rear end, the standout elements turn out to be the dark chrome inserts on the boot lid, twin-tip muffler, and the roof spoiler coupled with winglets flanking the windshield. Hyundai has equipped the i20 N Line with Z-shaped LED tail lamps and these do look better than the regular i20. The tail lamps are connected by a dark chrome strip. Besides these, you will also see the Hyundai badge, i20, and N-Line branding on the boot lid. Talking about the twin-barrel double-walled exhaust pipes that are seen peeping out of the faux diffuser, they roar a bit loudly when in sport mode. However, it is a tad bit difficult to figure out when sitting inside the cabin unless you do not switch off the air conditioning and the music. Talking about the color options, the car is offered in four single-tone colors - Fiery Red, Polar White, Titan Grey, and Thunder Blue (new color), and two dual-tone color options.
When we talk about the overall design of the hatchback, it is quite modern and attractive. The red highlights on the front skid plate and side sill garnish entice me the most as they perfectly compliment the overall body color. All in all, the Hyundai i20 N Line looks perfectly balanced and proportionate.
Hyundai i20 N Line: What it offers inside?
As you step inside the cabin of the i20 N Line, the first thing that you will notice is the N Line logo on the seats, gear knob, and steering wheel. The cabin boasts of dual-tone interior theme, black leather seats with Chequered flag design, and red inserts which further accentuate the sportiness of the hatchback. They come with great fit and are extremely comfortable. The driver and co-driver seats get adjustable headrests while the ones present on the rear passenger seats are in-built. The dashboard is quite spacious and its plastic quality gives a premium appeal to the cabin.
Hyundai has certainly equipped the i20 N Line with a lot of premium bells and whistles. The entry-level N6 trim comes loaded with first-in-segment features and hence you can easily imagine what all features the top-end N8 trim boasts of. The multiple advanced and leading technologies create a futuristic and intuitive experience in the cabin. Starting with the advanced digital instrument cluster with TFT display, one can easily get access to features like speedometer, trip meter, tyre pressure monitoring system, parking distance warning, turn by turn navigation, and many more.
Hyundai cars generally come with feather-light steering which is quite unsuitable for enthusiastic driving. To give you a smooth driving experience, the hatchback gets a 3-spoke steering wheel wrapped in leather and embossing an ‘N’ logo. The steering wheel is a lot heavier in comparison to the standard i20. The grip is firm with just the right thickness. The added weight certainly decreases the vagueness that one experienced in the regular car. It also increases the driver’s confidence, especially during steep turning points. The alignment of the buttons gives it a premium touch. Talking about the centre console, it is dominated by an 8-inch HD touchscreen infotainment unit with touch buttons. The UI layout is user-friendly. The unit is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It further gets a navigation system and Bluelink connectivity. The Blue Link connected car technology here comes with 58 new features including 16 free OTA map updates. This means that you will stay connected to the world even on the move. The hatchback also gets an electrochromic mirror that comes with Telematics buttons that can be utilized for functions like SOS, RSA, and Blue Link call centre. How can one forget the premium 7 speakers system from Bose? The sound system definitely ensures an unrivaled acoustic indulgence. The gear knob too comes finished in high-quality leather and flaunts an ‘N’ logo. It is quite handy and the grip is also firm. All four doors, on the other hand, feature red inserts. Besides this, the door pockets come with piping for red ambient lighting which further enhances the ambience of the cabin. However, since we drove the car in broad daylight, we did not feel the ambient lights much.
Hyundai has tried its best to make the cabin of the i20 N Line as spacious and accommodating as possible. When we look at the legroom, shoulder room, and headroom space, two 6-feet individuals can sit one behind the other with wiggle room for both of them. However, the seats are too upright. The rear seat passenger gets access to a host of features like the phone charging port, AC vents, centre armrest, and co-driver’s rear seat pocket. The seats definitely come with amazing under-thigh support. And when we talk about the seat adjustment, you surely get a sporty driving position here. All in all, the i20 N Line offers more room than most hatchbacks in this segment. The steering wheel and the seats really complete the feeling of being in a sportier version of the i20. Rest, the aluminium pedals and the N-Line floor mats give a complete look to the ‘N’ themed cabin.
Hyundai i20 N Line comes with a spacious boot. It can easily accommodate four pieces of luggage. In case you want to fit in more, you can easily fold the rear seat and remove the parcel tray. These days, most automakers are stressing about including top-level safety features in their products due to the stringent regulations by the government. And the i20 N Line is no different! Here you will get 6 airbags, All 4 Disc Brakes, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill Assist Control (HAC), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), and many more.
Hyundai i20 N Line: How powerful it is at heart?
As you drive the Hyundai i20 N line, you will be able to extract more from the motor. It gets the 1.0-litre turbo GDI petrol engine that has been carried over from the standard i20. However, it generates more power here due to the capable N Line chassis. It offers a top power of 119 bhp at 6000 rpm and a peak torque of 172 Nm between 1500-4000 rpm. As you drive at a high speed, you can hear the new twin-tip muffler emitting an aggressive and sporty note. Coming to the transmission, the new i20 N Line gets a choice between a 6-speed iMT and a 7-speed DCT gearbox. The one that we drove was the 6-speed iMT variant. The iMT variant gets a proper manual shifter. However, it does miss out on the clutch pedal. Sadly, Hyundai has not equipped the hatchback with a manual gearbox and this can surely be a disappointment for most Indian buyers. But a 6-speed iMT gearbox will give you the taste of both manual and automatic. So, it's basically for those who want to avoid the use of a clutch pedal in crawling traffic but still want to operate the gears manually. Also, the best thing here is that the engine is more responsive with the iMT majorly due to the better-spaced gear ratios. While driving, we felt that due to the absence of a clutch pedal, the shift quality of the gear was a tad bit hard on most occasions. Especially, while reversing the car, we had to apply some amount of force while parking the gear in reverse mode. All in all, iMT isn’t a transmission that allows quick shifts.
Hyundai has worked on the steering, the suspension system, and the brake setup of the i20 N Line in order to provide a smooth driving experience. The steering wheel is not feather-light as it used to be in other Hyundai models. The brand has added some weight to it which keeps the car stable both at low speed and high speed. Furthermore, it provides a firm grip for better handling quality. Talking about the tweaked suspension setup, Hyundai has worked on the damping force of the struts. While driving at a relatively low speed, we felt noticeably firmer but not stiff. As we all are aware of the Indian road conditions, you get to see potholes and bumps here and there even if it is a highway. So while driving we did get a few potholes and bumps and the suspensions of the car were smoothly able to absorb them. Moreover, at turning points, the car was easy to control. In terms of brakes, the hatchback gets disc on all four wheels. Not that the brake setup on the standard i20 gave any kind of trouble but having discs on all four wheels gives an extra dose of security.
Verdict ( Droom Rating 8.5/10)
Hyundai i20 N Line is offered in a total of two trims - N6 and N8. The N6 trim is offered with only an iMT gearbox while the N8 trim comes with a choice of an iMT and a DCT gearbox. We drove the entry-level N6 iMT variant of the i20 N Line. What really grabs the attention is that this variant comes packed with first-in-segment features and is priced competitively at Rs 9.84 lakh (ex-showroom). It clearly justifies the price tag. For instance, even though it features a smaller 8-inch touchscreen infotainment unit, it gets the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The top-end N8 trim, on the other hand, flaunts the 10.25-inch unit and gets wired connectivity. Hyundai has literally made an honest attempt to transform a regular hatchback into a sporty proposition. The extravagant design, first-in-segment features, and color options of the i20 N Line will definitely garner a lot of attention. However, a three-pedal manual gearbox setup would have enhanced the driving experience. So, in all, it is a product that the Indian market badly needed, and now that it's finally here, we feel that it's here to stay and stay for long!