The i20 N marks one other spectacular step for Hyundai’s efficiency division, mixing a enjoyable chassis set-up with robust efficiency. It’s near touchdown a knockout blow on the Fiesta ST on driving dynamics, however in its personal means it matches the Ford for attraction – after which goes on to outscore it on different attributes like house, normal equipment and worth for cash. We’d say that makes it a reasonably stellar scorching supermini total.
Hyundai is a model casting a large internet in the mean time. The Korean agency is getting actually severe about its electrical Ioniq sub-brand, however on the similar time it’s nonetheless making an attempt to ascertain N as a efficiency division.
It’s been making strong progress in each areas; the i30 N was a good first effort as a scorching hatch, and we have been impressed by its smaller stablemate, the i20 N, once we tried it in left-hand-drive kind earlier this yr. Now we’ve had an opportunity to drive the completed right-hand-drive automobile on UK roads.
Whereas the i30 N was conceived and developed after the bottom mannequin had been launched, the Fiesta ST rival was stitched into the unique design of this era of i20. That meant enter from day one from Albert Biermann, the previous head of BMW’s M division who’s now liable for all of Hyundai’s car dynamics. How has his group used this start line? Fairly properly, it seems. On paper not less than, the i20 N has all of the elements of an incredible small scorching hatch.
There’s a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing 201bhp and 275Nm of torque – sufficient for a 0-62mph time of 6.2 seconds and a prime velocity of 142mph. The transmission is a six-speed handbook, outfitted with a rev-matching operate in case you don’t wish to heel and toe your self, and there’s additionally a mechanical limited-slip differential. The suspension is revised too, with sturdier knuckles on the entrance finish and a beefed-up torsion beam on the rear. There’s extra bracing throughout the chassis, in reality, and revised springs and dampers, plus extra unfavourable camber.
The brand new i20’s styling additionally will get a sharper focus too, with totally different bumpers that assist to widen the automobile’s stance, and a outstanding rear spoiler. Aspect skirts and 18-inch alloys full a dramatic look, particularly if the automobile is completed in N’s trademark blue paint.
Inside, there’s a few bucket seats that aren’t fairly as supportive as you may want, however loads of helpful tech, together with a normal 10.25-inch digital instrument panel, a touchscreen infotainment system that’s among the many finest within the class, wi-fi cellphone charging, a reversing digital camera with parking sensors, and local weather management. It’s totally laden, then – however as within the common i20, the end of the supplies is a bit hit or miss.
No less than it’s spacious, with 352 litres of boot capability and rear seats that adults gained’t complain about an excessive amount of. It’s provided solely with a five-door physique, too, so entry to the second row is simple sufficient.
However it’s on the street the place the i20 N actually has to ship, and the excellent news is that Hyundai has produced a compelling providing. It has a barely totally different mixture of qualities to the Fiesta ST, maybe, however that is nonetheless a automobile with actual fanatic enchantment.
The engine produces its most torque throughout a good unfold, between 1,750rpm and 4,500rpm, and also you’ll take pleasure in revving the unit out. It’s not probably the most characterful tone, and the unreal enhancement doesn’t enhance issues, however there are not less than little rally car-style gargles as you carry off the throttle.
That flexibility means you don’t should flick between gears on a regular basis, however when you do select to take action, you’ll discover the shift gentle and exact. And the rev-matching operate – activated by way of modes that may be chosen and customised on a pair of steering wheel buttons – does exactly what this form of system ought to, by making you are feeling a real hero as an alternative of a little bit of a cheat.
The actual star of the present, although, is the chassis. The entrance finish has a colossal stage of grip, providing you with the arrogance to hold prodigious velocity into corners. That intelligent differential’s influence additionally provides a bit enhance to the nostril’s response as you apply energy mid-corner. And sure, there’s a little little bit of torque steer on cambered roads, however it’s gentle. The general impression is of a diff that’s been tuned to offer help with little trade-off.
The suspension has been arrange in line with the identical rules, it will appear. you’re in a efficiency automobile, however on bumpier again roads the i20 exhibits admirable compliance at decrease speeds that evolves into high-quality physique management on the quicker stuff.
Total, the new i20 feels each bit as enjoyable as a 1,200kg automobile with 201bhp ought to. It’s extra civilised than the i30 N, but extra pleasurable. We’d like a bit extra really feel by means of the steering, admittedly, however it’s fast and direct sufficient so that you can throw inputs on the chassis – which, in flip, provides you suggestions about what’s taking place at every wheel.
Throughout the board, then, there’s not a lot to separate the i20 N and the Fiesta. However spec the Ford to the identical stage and it’ll value nearly £1,000 extra – and whereas the hole will undoubtedly ebb and stream if sellers play with reductions and deposit contributions, even on normal PCP phrases the Hyundai shall be about £250 cheaper over three years.
|Mannequin||Hyundai i20 N|
|Engine:||1.6-litre 4cyl turbo petrol|
|Transmission:||Six-speed handbook, front-wheel drive|