When it comes to the topic of cars I also was very curious. I headed to a nearby Hyundai showroom and checked out the i20 N Line and also took a TD of the same. My impression are as follows:-
The i20 N Line does look very nice in person and all the small cosmetic upgraded over the regular i20 does help it in giving some more character and sporty vibe though still IMHO I feel some places to be very overdone (at least for my conservative tastes) like the rear chrome garnish and the excessively drooped down nose and the huge single frame grille.
I still feel that best designed i20 was the 2016 Elite version, the fluidic 2.0 design still feels fresh and looks very nice.
The interiors are very futuristic and the large touchscreen and the instrument cluster gels well together and gives the i20 a very futuristic appeal.
The seats too were leather wrapped and were very comfortable and accommodating, the driver's seat was height adjustable too and compounded with the tilt and telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel, finding a perfect driving position in the new i20 is not a Herculean task.
Boot Space & Cabin
The overall cabin was both spacious and practical, there is adequate space in the car to accommodate 4large adults and I was very comfortable behind my own driving position though I must add that the Honda Jazz is still the most spacious hatchback in its segment.
There is a rear armrest too (no cupholders though) and there are rear air-con vents as well with a fast charging USB type A port(which is illuminated as well!),good job Hyundai. The boot space too is rated at 310 Litres or so which is an improvement over the earlier car(which was rated at 289L) though the Honda Jazz still trumps it by a fair margin at 354 Litres.
This car has tons of convenience features out of which some are truly very useful, for instance when you approach the car the ORVMs fold out all by themselves and the puddle light lits up as well thus not making you fumbling in the dark, the list of features go long as is the case with most Hyundai's which is why I would not describe each one of them but I must mention in the N Line you do get some extras as well, the most important one being an auto dimming IRVM and all wheel disc brakes.
Safety features too are found in abundance, you get 6Airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP with TC&VSM and what not, so active safety is very well taken care of.
Few Negative Points
Even though I'm very much impressed by the attention to detail Hyundai has given and incorporated all the convenience and safety features they possibly could, the build has taken a back seat and ones with discerning eyes can easily observe it, for instance the overall sheet-metal thickness and heft has been reduced considerably over the previous generations.
The doors especially in the last gen i20 had a soft, premium thunk when closed and even though didn't have that German thud it wasn't very flimsy either but in the newer gen the drop in build is quite noticeable, all the closures whether it be doors, boot or bonnet felt light and thin(the pics I shall attach) which is why they didn't inspire me the same confidence I have had for the old i20.
As much as Hyundai pays attention in making their cars very refined, they decided not to provide hood, underbody or wheel arch insulation at all and IMHO they should've given at least partial insulation at least at the wheel arches, considering that it's their premium hot hatch and costs over 15L OTR as that naked metal looks bad but hey can you really blame Hyundai when you realise that a 50L Toyota also doesn't offer the same, also Hyundai you can provide us a nice sporty red ambient lighting for the cabin but you can't give us illuminated power window switches??! even my old 2009 i20 has illuminated power window switches for all the doors!
Test Drive Experience
Now coming to the TD experience(I test drove the top-of-the-line N8 DCT variant), the most noticeable difference over the regular i20 turbo was the exhaust note.
The exhaust does have a very nice raspy tone with a few crackles and pops as you shift the gears, yeah its a bit muted down in the inside but if you switch off that nice sounding 7speaker Bose Sound system and keep the air-con at the slowest speed you can hear the nice sounding exhaust and TBH if I were buying this car I would never ever switch on the music especially when I'm in the mood of spirited driving. Nice attempt Hyundai.
The car itself does feel very quick to react, yeah its not aggressive when you launch it from standstill probably to conserve the DCT from overheating (maybe Hyundai pushes out some form of Launch Control by Software Update which help the i20 to have an aggressive start, wishful thinking 🙂 ) but when you reach the turbo zone(at ~2000rpm or so), the car feels and really eager and does feel very fast, the steering too at least in the N Line I must say is improved a LOT and its more in line with Volkswagen than Hyundai, it does not feel lifeless at higher speeds and return to centre is quite fast too.
The steering does have paddle shifters as well and even though they didn't allow aggressive downshifts they are not too bad either and does help in making the drive experience a bit more connected though I would have been more delighted if Hyundai offered this engine in the i20 with a proper Manual transmission avatar which would've really appealed to the enthusiast's. also it would help Hyundai pricing the N Line even more competitively which would help it in finding many more takers, a missed opportunity I must say.
My verdict about the Hyundai i20 N Line is that its definitely a step in the right direction when I talk about how Hyundai is catering to the car enthusiastic customers and are offering cutting-edge tech at a decent price and when you compound it with in-general fuss-free ownership experience and wide after-sales and service network of Hyundais, it does make for a very compelling purchase.
In no way its a perfect car and the biggest drawback is its subpar build quality and with even MSIL upgrading the build quality of their Baleno and cars like Jazz, Altroz and Polo being structurally very strong I think the i20 is the weakest car in its segment, I don't know why I got a very hollow feeling from the car as opposed to the solid feel found in earlier car, a far cry from the 1st gen i20 which was awarded with a perfect 5star Euro NCAP Rating, also even though Hyundai claims that they have sorted out the issues regarding brake and steering failure found in their previous gen cars I'm still wary of the same, also the paint even though lustrous and shiny, I'm not very sure of its longevity as we have observed how some of their cars have peeled off paint clean from their cars.
As I earlier mentioned I'm not a fan of how the new i20 looks and still find the erstwhile Elite version of 2016 especially in White shade to be the best looking hatchback till date. The interiors though packing bleeding edge tech looks very drab and gloomy IMHO, also the plastics even though good quality were all hard and there was no soft touch padding in any areas.
I did find the older Black + Beige combo to be more appealing and it seemed that the older Elite i20s dashboard was inspired by a certain German luxury marquee, was a no bad thing for a B2 segment hatchback! Whether you should buy this car or not, totally depends on yourself, see this whole premium hatch category was made for the people who didn't want a sedan even though they were willing to spend that much moolah but at the same time they didn't want to compromise on space, comfort or features offered by a sedan, which is why OEMs came up with this idea of premium hatchback.
Even I'm a buyer of a premium hatchback that too at the dawn when this segment was started in India and I still love my car and do not regret even once for choosing it over say a Honda City but my car was certainly built much better than the current gen model and I don't think I would be that much happy buying this i20 as I was 13years ago when I brought home my 1st gen i20 Asta CRDi and would certainly buy something like Mahindra XUV300 or Volkswagen Taigun A/T over this N Line as I just cannot compromise with the build quality at any cost and no amount of features are worth over a 4/5star crashworthiness rating.
Sorry if the post went long but this is being penned down from the bottom of a heart of a person having 3lovely Hyundai cars in the home which have real solid build quality and the depth of engineering which to be very honest is just missing in these modern Hyundais. Thank you!
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Sole purpose of this review is to try providing readers with factual information where other readers have shared their ownership experiences that may help readers for their car buying decision.