The hot hatchback segment is a popular category in international market. In India however things are quite different. Many manufacturers have tried introducing performance cars and hatchbacks in the affordable segment but, for various reason all of them failed. This segment currently has no products and has a lot of potential too. With i20 N Line, Hyundai is planning to enter this segment. It is their first product under the N Line category and we got a chance to experience the same recently. Here is what we think about the all-new Hyundai i20 N Line hatchback.
What’s it like on the outside…
Hyundai has gone for a lot more aggressive with the styling on the i20 N Line when compared to the regular version. The front gets the same dominating grille but, the chequered flag design inside the grille differentiated it from the regular i20. N Line badge is also seen on the grille with Hyundai logo in the center. The headlights in the N Line version are projector unit instead of an all LED unit.
The next differentiating factor at the front is the gloss black insert on the lower part of the bumper which forms a lower bumper lip. The front lip has a Red accent on it. The lip extends to form a C shape surround around fog lamps which are projector units. The fog lamp gets a dark chrome garnish around it which completes the front look.
Moving to the side profile, the main difference here are the wheels. It now comes with a much more sporty looking 16 inch alloy wheels. The i20 N Line gets disc brakes on all four wheels and the front brakes gets Red brake calipers too. N Line badging can be seen here on the fenders too. The side skirt on the i20 N Line is finished in black with red accent and the other than that no major changes are seen here.
Moving to the rear, it gets the same all LED tail lamps with a dark chrome strip running all across the boot. There is a gloss black spoiler and a shark fin antenna on the top as well. Coming down, the bumper gets a gloss black diffuser at the lower part with the twin tip exhausts popping out from one side. N Line badge is there on the boot as well. With all these minor cosmetic changes, the i20 N Line has become a lot more aggressive and sporty looking car.
The design of the cabin has not changed when compared to the regular version. I20 N Line is available in N6 and N8 trims and both these trims offer decent amount features. The cabin gets an all black theme which is broken with the red accents at places. These accents are seen on the AC vents, AC buttons, door trims and on the gear knob.
It gets an N Line steering wheel which is different from the regular version. It is a lot chunkier and comes with control switches for the touchscreen infotainment system and the fully digital instrument cluster on it. The seats and the steering are all wrapped in leatherette material. The car seats gets red coloured piping and stitching along with N badge and chequered flag design on it.
The steering wheel also has red stitching on it. There is no change in the amount of space that it offers. It continues to offer BlueLink connected car features, electric sunroof, voice recognition function, wireless phone charger and many more features.
The gear knob in the N Line version is exclusively designed for this version. It even comes with Red coloured ambient lights and the top end N8 trim offers 6 airbags, Bose premium speaker system, 10.25 inch touchscreen infotainment screen and many more features.
What does it drive like..
Coming to the driving part, we’ll start with the engine first. It is still powered by the same 1.0 litre turbo petrol engine which is available with regular i20 and many other Hyundai cars like Venue and even of regular i20. It generates 120 Ps and 172 Nm of peak torque. In terms of performance, the N Line does 0-100 kmph sprint in 9.9 seconds. This engine is available with a 6-speed iMT and a 7-speed DCT gearbox option. The one we drove was the 7-speed DCT and we’ll be talking about that only.
Now, in order to make things different from regular i20, Hyundai has made some mechanical changes. For example the steering, in the regular version you get a light steering which is great for city driving conditions but, at higher speeds a light steering does not give you confidence. Hyundai corrected this in the N-Line version and it now gets a well weighted steering which is comfortable in city as well as on the highways.
The revised steering gives you confidence at higher speeds as you feel connected to the road. The other change they have made here are the suspension. In comparison to the regular version, N-Line gets a stiffer suspension setup which lets you attack a corner without being thrown around. The suspension is both a positive and negative about the i20 N-Line. This stiffer setup is something that an enthusiasts appreciate but, your family won’t. But, if you are a person looking for a softer suspension setup, you have the regular turbo petrol version of the i20 on offer.
NVH levels are pretty good. Some amount of sound does filter in at higher speeds but, that is something you will like as it sounds quite sporty. The paddle shifters do their job pretty well and Hyundai has also played with the timings of the DCT gearbox to make it a lot responsive. The rumbling exhaust note is something that you will notice at lower speeds in city limits. As you build up speed on a highway, the note becomes subtle. The sporty character is still there but, the growling note is missed.
With disc brakes on all wheels, the braking performance of the i20 N-Line has also improved. Hyundai says the braking distance has improved by almost 1.8 meters and we believe them. There is ample bite from the brakes and that offers a lot more confidence to the driver. The seats offer good amount of support and overall, it does feel a lot sportier and fun to drive when compared to a regular i20.
Price and Conclusion
Hyundai is offering the i20 N Line in N6 iMT, N8 iMT and N8 DCT variants. Prices for these variants are Rs 9.84 lakh, Rs 10.87 lakh, Rs 11.75 lakh (all prices are ex-showroom) respectively. It Is available in six colour options out of which two are dual tone and the other four are mono tone. When compared with the top end Asta (O) DCT i20, the N Line N8 DCT is almost Rs 50,000 more expensive. Hyundai says that they have made changes to the car that are roughly around Rs 1.25 lakh. If that is true, then it is actually a good deal for many. For Rs 50,000 what you are getting here is a sporty looking hatchback that rides and handles well. The best part is that you don’t have to compromise on any of the premium features. It still offers pretty much everything that a buyer would want in this segment.
Instead of bringing the full blown N variant to India, Hyundai launched the N Line and we feel that it is a wise decision by all means. By launching the N Line, Hyundai made sure that the price is kept in check. The N Line version will have more appeal among young buyers who are looking for a sporty looking car without compromising on the premium features and also not spending a lot. This car can still be used as a daily driver and will also bring a smile to your face whenever you want to have a bit of fun on the empty roads and corners.