2021 Hyundai i20 N hot hatch: prices, specs and release date

Hyundai i20 N will be closest rival to Ford Fiesta ST and is expected to cost less

  • Range-topping i20 N to get sporty styling
  • 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds
  • Set to be cheaper than Fiesta ST

After several years of rumours, spy shots and teasers, the new Hyundai i20 N was revealed in late 2020. It’s due to go on sale in 2021, when it’ll go head-to-head with the Ford Fiesta ST. Sporty styling will mark it out from other Hyundai i20s, and a 201bhp engine means it’ll leave them far behind.

2021 Hyundai i20 N prices and specs

To tempt buyers away from our current Best Hot Hatchback award-winner, the Fiesta ST, the Hyundai i20 N will be a little cheaper. Prices will start from just over £20,000, so it’ll be around £1,500 less than a Fiesta in ST-2 spec. We expect there’ll only be one i20 N trim level and, while full specs are yet to be revealed, its range-topping status means it’ll be very well-equipped.

We do know that it’ll get a 10.25-inch touchscreen with sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a digital instrument cluster measuring the same size. Wireless phone charging, heated front seats, auto lights and wipers, high-beam assist and a reversing camera should all feature.

Engine and performance

While the standard Hyundai i20 hatchback features a sensible mild-hybrid 1.0-litre engine, the i20 N gets a 1.6-litre turbo petrol with just over 200bhp. A six-speed manual gearbox is the only one available and it’s been upgraded to cope with the extra power. We’re told the car weighs just 1,190kg (the same as the i20 rally car). Acceleration from 0-62mph is a mere 0.1 seconds off the Fiesta ST - too small a gap to notice the difference - and it’ll reach 143mph.

We expect a limited-slip differential to be fitted to help the i20 N in corners, while bigger brakes, new springs and dampers and a stiffer suspension setup should all help to make the car fun to drive. Five driving modes are available - Normal, Eco, Sport, N and N Custom - and these adjust throttle response, engine noise and steering weight.

Styling

The i20 N certainly won’t shrink into the background, with rally-inspired styling touches and a smattering of red accents. At the front, LED headlights sit above deep air vents and a sharp front bumper. The tall rear spoiler sits above the rear windscreen, and there’s a large exhaust, extra air vents and a new diffuser.

Inside, the Hyundai i20 N gets its pair of screens lifted wholesale from the standard i20 hatchback, one for the infotainment and one that replaces analogue dials in front of the driver. For the N model, Hyundai will give the screens unique graphics and perhaps a performance information screen, while the interior also gets sportier seats and a special steering wheel with exclusive ‘N’ buttons.

Alongside the Fiesta ST, the i20 N will also rival the Volkswagen Polo GTI and MINI Cooper S. It’s joining a contracting part of the market; the Polo GTI won’t be replaced at the end of its lifespan and we’re not expecting a Cupra Ibiza or Renaultsport Clio either. The shortening list of rivals isn’t down to demand but because many manufacturers are struggling to meet stringent emissions targets, so some of their high-performance models need to be withdrawn. However, because Hyundai already makes plenty of low-emission cars, it has the ability to create a quicker version of the i20, and we’re led to believe that Peugeot could introduce an electric GTi version of the Peugeot 208 too.

The Korean brand is working on another N model; a fast Hyundai Kona N is also in the works. This’ll also use the 2.0-litre petrol engine from the i30 N, and will feature many of the same styling upgrades.

Read more about the new Hyundai i20 hatchback here.

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