Hyundai i20 N Line: Five Takeaways From The Review
The i20 N Line proved to be a fun city runabout in our first-drive review. Here are our five important learnings
Hyundai has finally brought the famed ‘N’ badge to India with the i20. And while it is not the full-fledged 204 horsepower i20 N, there is no doubting the balance of sensibility and fun of an N Line, especially in a market like ours where price determines destiny. We got to drive the N Line in Udaipur earlier this month, and here are our five key takeaways from the experience. If you want to read the detailed review, click here. And if you are interested in the video review, that’s embedded at the end.
1. Bragging rights of the N Line
Hyundai’s ‘N’ journey started in 2012 when the Motorsports division was established in Namyang, North Korea. In the following year, they set up a technical centre at the holy grail of all testing tracks, Nurburgring in Germany. This is where the ‘N Line’ cars hone their skills. Hyundai’s i20 WRC is the carmaker’s preeminent motorsports achievement, winning multiple podiums.
The ‘N’ DNA comes from this expertise, and you can hold your head high while flashing the ‘N Line’ badge to your friends, which you will find at 17 different places on the car. And if they ask why Hyundai did not get the i20 N in India, the answer is pretty simple -- the car’s Rs 20 lakh price tag. At that price point, you can get the 1.4-litre turbo-charged petrol Creta.
2. It makes you feel special
The i20 has always been a feature-packed family hatchback. And while it is spacious, gets a lot of tech, and has a plethora of engine and transmission options, it was always a car that appealed more to the head than the heart. The N Line changes that.
As soon as you set your eyes on it, it makes you feel special. The red accents, new grille, and new sporty-looking alloy wheels immediately grab your attention. It’s even better if you are looking at it from behind because it’s there that you’ll find the twin-tip exhaust and the new spoiler. Get closer, and the details -- N Line badges, red front brake callipers, rear disc brakes, and wings next to the spoiler -- keep you hooked.
Step inside, and the first thing you see is the N Line steering with red stitching and paddle shifters (DCT). The fit and finish, mounted controls, and leather wrap are some of the best of all hatchbacks on sale in India. The gear shifter, too, is an N Line shifter with leather wrap and red accents. The better of the DCT and iMT is the latter iMT, which is sporty to the touch and feels like it belongs in a hot-hatch cabin. You get the ‘N’ badges on the seats, while the floormats have the ‘N Line’ badging. All in all, even when it isn’t moving, the N Line still makes you feel special.
And then when you fire it up, the exhaust note is raspy. It’s not loud, and it’s a shame that you won’t hear too much of it from the driver’s seat. But that rumble will be audible at around 4000 rpm, wanting you to keep it there. And for the people outside, this is definitely an attention-grabber in a good way. If you want to hear what it sounds like while driving, check out our first-drive review video.
3. Balance of handling and ride
It’s common knowledge by now that the i20 N Line does not have an engine update. However, it makes up for it by being more agile. The damping has been made 30 percent stiffer to help it change directions more easily, which shows in the handling. The steering’s weight has gone up for higher speeds, and that only adds to your confidence. Still, we wish the rack would have been made quicker for sharper response. Overall, the i20 N Line does have a sporty flair in the way it rides and handles.
In most cars, a sporty ride usually means sacrificing ride comfort. In the i20 N line, this is only partially true. While the damping is stiffer than the standard i20 Turbo (which, in turn, has stiffer damping than the standard i20), it is still suited for Indian roads. At low speeds, you feel the bumps more, and the communication from the surface is clearer. However, the front passengers won’t feel the harshness.
The rear suspension makes life a bit more difficult for people sitting at the back. The good thing is that once you start cruising at 50kmph or beyond, the plushness of the ride returns, and the i20 N Line won’t let you feel the grunt of the surface. If you live in a metro city with good roads, the i20 N Line will keep you happy. If you have bad roads around you, take a thorough test drive. You will need it.
4. It’s missing some feel-good elements
While the i20 N Line makes you feel special, this feeling isn’t quite complete. For example, the dashboard is the same as the i20 Turbo, and an ‘N Line’ badge on the left side or smoked carbon fibre elements around the AC vents would have increased the sense of occasion. The digital driver’s display and touchscreen are running the same theme as the standard i20 and would have been better off with a special red theme or at least a dedicated startup screen. Finally, the key. It’s the same beige unit as all other Hyundais that definitely should have had an ‘N Line’ badge or a different colour. Also, this one could be a little out-there, but would red seat belts have upped the cabin feel?
5. Performance is subjective
What’s performance to you? If you were to call a car fast, what should be its 0-100kmph time? After all, an AMG owner will call a Lamborghini fast while an S-Presso fellow will give that to the Swift. The i20 N Line plays with the same mindset. For an Indian hatchback, it is pretty quick. Not the quickest, but still quick. A claimed 0-100kmph time of 9.9seconds (DCT) makes it tempting, but realistically (from our experience with the i20 Turbo), the time will be close to 10.88s, which is a couple of milliseconds behind the Polo GT TSI. Fun fact: the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo is a 5-speed manual and is quicker to 100kmph than the i20 Turbo by a whole second!
The i20 N Line feels lively when it’s in the 2500-4000rpm range. That is when the acceleration is strong, and it sounds good. Put the DCT transmission in the ‘Sports’ mode, and the throttle response becomes quicker, making it a fun hatchback for the city. A little more performance, and it would have made it feel livelier on the highways as well.
Read More on : i20 N Line on road price
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