Drive Review: Hyundai i20 N Sport

The Hyundai i20 N Sport eagerly rumbles into life, a sound accentuated by an underground parking lot and one that implies to the uninitiated that this Hyundai is a feisty package.

The first N Sport model from Hyundai should be fast and fierce to stir up excitement but after our test drive it became clear this is a very cautious effort for what has the potential to be a big move for Hyundai South Africa. Still it impressed.

Hyundai i20 N Sport (1)

Very loosely based on the Hyundai i20 N Sport WRC car, this road-legal production version tries to convey a sense of sportiness that currently only the Hyundai Veloster delivers. It achieves this through a new bodykit which from afar looks great but upon closer inspection also looks decidedly aftermarket.

Hyundai i20 N Sport gets 17-inch wheels on lowered suspension, front and rear bumpers with more meat to them, a roof spoiler and side sills pasted on but not following the car’s original lines.  That said we see some promise in it, a look that could potentially open up a new type of buyer to a brand that often plays it safe.

So the new exhaust ensures that it sounds good and anybody will tell you that a fast sounding car is a fast car. The normally aspirated 1.4-litre engine has racy software and the Hyundai i20 N Sport is 11kW and 27Nm better off for it for a total output of 85kW and 160Nm. No performance figures but it did feel noticeably better up at reef altitude especially below 3500rpm.  Fuel consumption and carbon emissions are unchanged.

Hyundai i20 N Sport (2)

The chassis is a vastly stiffer and the Hyundai i20 N Sport corners flat with prodigious grip levels. We’d go as far as saying it’s the best handling Hyundai on sale and with a bit more power would be a genuinely fun alternative to the Polo GTi and Corsa OPC.

Interior features include everything from steering controls, USB and Bluetooth but at times we instinctively tried to touch the infotainment screen to change settings. This is not a car you pair apps to or upload photos but it’s easy to use and fast. For many that will be enough.

For the extra R20 000 compared to the i20 Fluid, the Hyundai i20 N Sport does enough to deserve a second look but Hyundai missed the opportunity to make a bigger splash with the N Sport name and might rue that when it comes to establishing a fanbase for future models.

Base Price R253 900
Engine Capacity 1368 cm³
No. Of Cylinders 4-cylinders
Aspiration Normal
Power 85kW at 6 000 r/min
Torque 160Nm at 3 500 r/min
Transmission 6-speed Manual
Drive type Front wheel drive
Acceleration 0-100 km/h in N/A seconds (claimed)
Top Speed 182km/h
Fuel Consumption 6.5l/100km (claimed combined)
CO2 Emissions 147g/km


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