New Hyundai i20 N Line 2022 review
The new Hyundai i20 N Line hatch offers fun without the hot N car’s compromises
The Hyundai i20 N Line is a good halfway house, offering not just racier looks inspired by the full-on N division hot hatchback, but a slightly sharper drive compared with regular i20 models, and this without any real drawback to ride or refinement. We’d like a bigger boot and a higher-quality cabin (although the N Line touches do help here), but passenger space is sound and the i20’s technology is excellent.
Halo models like Hyundai’s i20 N draw buyers to the brand, yet if you want the looks of the brand’s hot supermini but don’t quite want the firmer ride or to pay the higher price tag for the performance model, cars like this i20 N Line are a great option.
It brings the sportier styling of the N with a flavour of the hot hatchback’s sharper drive, without sacrificing comfort or usability – or at least that’s the theory.
For your £22,395 outlay, in N Line trim you get a 118bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine assisted by 48-volt mild-hybrid tech, just as you do in the regular car. However, start it up and there’s a relatively throaty burble to this version’s exhaust note.
It doesn’t quite have the performance to match the soundtrack, accelerating from 0-62mph in 10.1 seconds, but with 172Nm of torque available there’s enough pull so that progress isn’t frustratingly slow.
In fact, the powertrain is as flexible as in any other i20. The mild-hybrid tech gives a tiny boost, but more importantly allows the engine to cut out on the move to help refinement, and on the motorway the i20 is a mature-feeling machine.
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Even on an exclusive design of 17-inch alloy wheel for this N Line model, the ride is good. It’s firm, but the dampers submit to the road surface where you want them to, while providing the level of support you need in corners so as to give the driver just enough involvement. Regardless of whether it’s a base-spec model or a performance-focused hot hatch, superminis should be fun to drive.
The N Line is. Although the steering is light, it’s precise, and those quite chunky wheels wear relatively wide Hankook tyres that give a good level of grip. The six-speed manual gearbox is light and slick to use, while the intelligent manual transmission’s drive-by-wire clutch isn’t an issue, either.
Like an R.S. Line Renault Clio or an ST-Line Ford Fiesta – the rivals the i20 N Line is going up against – the Hyundai offers just enough in the way of sporty looks, with its black grille, racier bodykit and twin tailpipes, but with a 262-litre boot it could be more practical. The 48-volt hybrid system’s battery is mounted under the floor, raising the boot height; non-MHEV models get 352 litres of luggage room.
Still, space inside the i20’s cabin is good, with easy access thanks to the five-door-only body and plenty of legroom once you’re sitting in the back.
N Line is a high-spec trim in the line-up, so inside it also features a leather-wrapped gearknob and steering wheel, plus some red accents in places to differentiate from lesser models, but some of the dashboard plastics could be of a higher quality given the car’s price.
What’s common across the i20 family, though, is the technology that’s fitted. The Hyundai’s standard 10.25-inch digital dashboard is great, while the infotainment touchscreen of the same size offers lots of screen area, slick graphics and sharp responses, plus lots of features. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are both included, although wireless phone charging is only available on the top-spec Ultimate trim.
Hyundai hasn’t yet confirmed efficiency data for the N Line, but a regular i20 Premium with the same powertrain as our test car offers a claimed 54.3mpg and 118g/km of CO2 emissions, and with its MHEV tech helping, the N Line easily topped 45mpg over its time on test, so it should be cheap to run. And, at £205 a month with a 10 per cent deposit on a three-year PCP deal limited to 10,000 miles per year, it should be cheap to buy on finance, too.
Factor in a five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty and the i20 N Line is a solid supermini that offers a little more sporty appeal, even if it isn’t quite as much fun to drive as a Ford Fiesta or SEAT’s Ibiza FR.
|Model:||Hyundai i20 1.0 T-Gdi 48v N Line|
|Engine:||1.0-litre 3cyl turbo petrol|
|Transmission:||Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive|