Hyundai i20N a ‘pocket rocket’ setting the benchmark

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A most enjoyable and memorable car.

IF you have a limited budget yet want an ‘interesting’ car, what do you choose? There are many excellent superminis on the market, but arguably many are transport rather than something to raise a smile. Well, Hyundai may have the answer with the i20N. The N range is Hyundai’s sporting line up and as my previous test of the i30 N proved they are incredibly quick, well handling cars, yet retain the practicality needed for workaday usage.
Hyundai’s i20 prices start from €19,706/ £16,500 but the N, it’s a single model, with its 204PS, 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine costs €30,120/£25,220. This pocket rocket will reach 62 mph in 6.2 seconds and is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. No automatic option here. There’s real sporting pedigree to Hyundai’s N range and the i20 makes for a highly entertaining drive. It’s a properly grown-up performance hatchback.
Launch control enables you to set up for the quickest standing start possible, it’s fun but in reality not really of practical use on the road. Enter some track days, which you could with the i20N, and it potentially becomes a much more useable feature. A more on-road performance feature is Rev Matching, which is effectively double de-clutching, that makes smoother, more sporting gear changes.
There’s a limited slip differential to aid quicker cornering, slightly lower ride height and an excellent power to weight ratio. However, even in ‘econ’ drive mode the ride is pretty firm, but you know what you’re buying into with this kind of car.
This is not only one of the most entertaining cars for the money, but one of the quickest cross country hatches money can buy.
Yet unlike many cars of this ilk it’s perfectly comfortable on the motorway and longer journeys. It feels very grown up inside and doesn’t show any sign of budget cuts to fund its performance. There are some hard and scratchy plastics but it’s a much nicer interior than Ford’s Fiesta ST.
Standard equipment on the i20N includes keyless entry and go, heated front seats, high beam assist, auto dipping rear view mirror, heated steering wheel, powered and heated door mirrors, air conditioning, the list is lengthy and comprehensive.
I am fortunate to drive many different cars but this little Hyundai is without doubt one of the most enjoyable and memorable. In terms of equipment, performance and fun for your money it’s pretty much unbeatable.

Facts at a Glance

  • Model: Hyundai i20N
  • Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol
  • Gears: 6-Speed manual
  • Performance: 0-100 kph (62 mph) 6.2 seconds/Maximum Speed 230 kph (143 mph)
  • Economy: 7.0l/100km (40.4 mpg) Combined driving (WLTP)
  • Emissions: 158 g/km (WLTP)

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

Written by

Mark Slack

If you're a petrol head you're in good hands with Mark Slack, whose expert take on the latest car releases will help you make your next purchase.