Finally, Hyundai took the famous ‘N’ badge with the i20 to India. And although it is not the full 204 horsepower Hyundai i20 N Line, the sensibility and fun balance of an N line is not in doubt, particularly in a market like ours in which the price determines the fate. Earlier this month, we have to drive the N Line in Udaipur and here are our five key takeaways.
1. Bragging N-line rights
This is the expertise behind the ‘N’ DNA and you can hold your head up while flashing your friends’ N Line badge, which will be on 17 different spots in the car. And if you ask why Hyundai didn’t get the i20 N in India, it’s pretty simple, Rs 20 lakh is the price tag of the car. The 1.4-litre turbo-powered fuel creta can be obtained at that price point.
2. It makes you feel particularly special
The i20 has always been a family hatchback full of features. And while it’s spacious, technology-paced and full of motor and transmission possibilities, it’s always been a car more attractive to the head than the heart.
It makes you feel special when you put your eyes on it. You immediately catch your attention with a red accent, new grills and new sportive alloy wheels. If you look at it from behind, it’s even better, as there is the twin-pin exhaust and the new spoiler. Get closer and get the details — N Line insignia, red front brake callipers, rear disc breaks and wings next door to the spoiler.
Step inside and the first thing you see is the N line with red paddles and shifts (DCT). Fit and finish, assembled controls and leather wrap are among the best selling hatchbacks in India. The gear shifter is also an N Line shifter with red accents and leather wrap. The better thing about the DCT and iMT is the latter iMT, sporty and felt like it’s in a hot chair. You get the ‘N’ badges on your seats while you get the ‘N’ badge on the floormats. All in all, the N Line makes you feel special, even though it doesn’t move.
Then the exhaust note, when you fire it up, is raspy. It’s not loud and you won’t hear too much from the driver’s seat. However, that rumble is heard at around 4000 rpm, which you want to keep. And this is certainly a good way for the outside people to grab attention.
3. Balance of handling and ride
It is now common knowledge that there is no engine update on the i20 N Line. It does make it more agile, however. The damping has been tightened up by 30 per cent, which makes it easier to change the directions. The weight of the controls has increased at higher velocities, adding only to your trust. Nevertheless, we wanted the sharper response to be made quickly on the rack. All in all, the i20 N Line has a sporty flair in its handling and driving.
A sporty ride is usually a sacrifice of comfort in most automobiles. This is only partly true in the i20 N line. While damping is stiffer than the i20 Turbo standard (which has steeper damping than the i20 standard) it’s still suitable for Indian roads. You feel more of the bumps at low speeds and clearer communication from the surface. The front passengers will nevertheless not experience harshness.
4. Some good feeling elements are missing
Although the i20 N Line makes you feel special, it is not quite full of this feeling. This table is the same as the i20 Turbo, for instance, and the sense of opportunity would have been enriched by an “N Line” badge on the left or smoked carbon fibre elements around the AC winding. The digital driver and touch screen are on the same theme as the standard i20; a special red subject or, at the very least, a dedicated boot screen would have been better for it. Lastly, the main thing. This beige unit is the same as all other Hyundai’s who would certainly have had an ‘N Line’ badge or colour.
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5. Subjective Performance
It’s pretty fast to an Indian hatchback. Not the fastest, but the fastest. A claimed 9.9-second 0-100kmph (DCT) time makes it tenting, but it is realistic (from our experience with the i20 Turbo) that the clock is near 10.88s, a few milliseconds behind Polo GT TSI. Fun fact: the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo is a 5-speed manual and 100kph faster than a full second the i20 Turbo!
When it is in 2500-4000rpm, the i20 N Line feels lively. This is when there is a strong acceleration and it sounds good. Put the DCT transmission in the ‘Sport’ mode, making it a fun hatchback for the city, and the gun response gets faster. A bit more performance, which would make the roads also feel more lively “as read and reported by www.cardekho.com”.