ENGINE 1591cc 4cyl, DOHC, 16v, turbo
POWER 150KW @ 5500-6000rpm
TORQUE 275Nm @ 1750-4500rpm
0-100KM/H 6.2 sec (claimed)
WEIGHT 1210kg (kerb)
LIKE: Affordable price; everyday utility; dynamic excellence
DISLIKE: Road and wind noise; no radar cruise; ride at firmer end of spectrum
BEING A MODERN motoring enthusiast is a lesson in pessimism - or so the naysayers will claim. Cars are too expensive, they shout. Automatics are taking over, they bemoan. The larrikin spirit is dead, they declare. To hell with all of that, says Hyundai.
The Korean company has finally unleashed its 120 N in Australia, and after spending two days in the pint-sized rocket on both road and track, we can emphatically confirm it is as engaging, rewarding, spirited and quick as any car lover could reasonably want.
For those who are disappointed in the increasing inaccessibility of modern performance cars, the i20 N is a financial breath of fresh air. Just a single variant is available, priced at $32,490. While that is a $200 premium over its key rival the Ford Fiesta ST - the Hyundai is more powerful, lighter, and faster than its Blue Oval nemesis on paper. We'll reserve a real-world verdict until we can compare the pair head-to-head. You won't have to wait too long for that.
Powering the i20 N is Hyundai's turbocharged Gamma II 1.6-litre T-GDi four-cylinder, producing 150kW and 275Nm. An overboost function is available, with the peak torque figure increasing to 304Nm in the meat of the power band if the conditions are right, namely, maximum throttle application and appropriate engine temperature. This tickle of extra shove is signalled to the driver by a green turbo indicator that illuminates on the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. It became a point of great glee to see the symbol when accelerating hard.
Despite the affordable entry point, Hyundai hasn't skimped on standard equipment in the i20. Along with the digital instrument cluster there is a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen which features a wickedly cool Performance Driving Data System (more on that later). Additional standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, leather-trimmed steering wheel, LED lights, smartphone mirroring, a Bose stereo, push-button start, and a wireless charging pad. The only options available are premium paint for $495 and a $1000 contrast roof.
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