The biggest of the hard-to-see changes is the open grille that loses the iconic flagship design.
February 23, 2024 at 08:31
Hyundai has reworked their i20 N Line hot hatch but the changes are so minor it probably took longer to write a press release about the updates than to implement them. But as far as we can see, the main method that the design team implemented is a backward step.
Before we get to that, maybe it’s worth reminding ourselves what the I20 N Line is, starting with a little N. The N Line is Hyundai’s equivalent of Ford’s ST-Line, Audi’s S-Line, Merc’s AMG-Line and BMW’s…M Sport (why can’t those boys from Munich just stick to the line?). N Line cars have the same kind of interior and exterior styling details you’d expect on a full Hyundai N performance car, but without any of the performance, or performance and insurance penalties.
So the i20 N Line makes a passable impression of the real i20 N hatch when parked, and you might even say it looks better because it doesn’t have the true N red pinstripes. The N-Line also looks stylish inside with smaller seats, perforated leather on the N-branded steering wheel and a red shifter on the controls and on the upholstery stitching.
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All those good things carry over into a refreshed car. What has changed is the grille, which now has the usual egg-crate design instead of the checkered flag effect used on the old car. We’re not sure why Hyundai swapped the inexplicably attractive grille for a more boring one, unless it was to placate i20 N buyers who complained that the spoiler looked too similar to their car. What we do know is that it looked better before the game, though overall, the N Line is still an impressive package.
Other changes include a new set of 17-inch alloy wheels and the addition of multi-color lighting in the cabin where you’ll also find that the maps, interior lights and sun visors have all been updated with LED technology. Hyundai hasn’t mentioned any under-the-hood updates, which means it still works with a 118 hp (120 PS) 1.2-liter mild-hybrid four that needs 10.1 seconds to reach 62 mph (100 kmh). The real N, meanwhile, gets 201 hp (204 PS) turbo’d 1.6 and needs only 6.2 seconds.
Or at least it did. On the same day that Hyundai revealed the nip and tuck of the i20 N Line it emerged that the company had killed off its ice-powered N models in Europe. The infamous i20 N and i30 N have been dropped, leaving the electric Ioniq 5 N as the only full N car in Hyundai’s lineup.