Go-faster Hyundai range set to triple as N line expands

After a steady start, Hyundai readies a seven-car N assault across its lineup

Hyundai i20 N

It’s go time for Hyundai’s hottest models, with confirmation the brand will launch seven new or updated vehicles with ‘N’ featuring prominently in the badge over the next 18 months.

Top of the hot-hatch pops is the news that the i20N has been officially confirmed for Australia, with the diminutive hatchback set to line up against the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Sourced from Turkey, final specs are still under wraps for the i20N, which forms the basis of Hyundai’s World Rally Car.

Speculation is rife that it will use a tuned-up version of the 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine seen in N-Line products like the i30, driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.

The i20N will slot in below the successful i30N, which will undergo its third model update early in 2021 when it finally receives a long-promised eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Hyundai’s product planning manager Andrew Tuatahi refuted suggestions that the i30N would be moved up the ladder in terms of price and spec to accommodate the i20N, suggesting instead that the two cars would be complementary.

“We certainly expect it to follow on from the i30N in terms of feel and look and its place in the market relevant to its segment,” he told journalists, adding that he doesn’t see the i30N shifting its focus.

The i30N received minor updates when the Fastback version of the car was introduced early in 2019, and both body styles of the car will receive the eight-speed DCT.

However, the eight-speed DCT will make its Australian debut under the bonnet of the Sonata N-Line, which is expected to use a turbocharged version of Hyundai’s brand new 2.5-litre direct-injection four-cylinder engine, which produces around 216kW and 420Nm in overseas trim.

Even fewer details were forthcoming around the Sonata, though a review of a more pedestrian version confirms a digital dashboard, large multimedia screen and multiple driver safety aids will be part of the package, while its suspension and brake package will be tweaked to suit the extra power.

The Sonata N-Line has been previewed overseas, and is expected to be unveiled later this year.

Hyundai has also confirmed that it will replace the Elantra sedan with the i30 sedan, with the Elantra SR morphing into an i30 sedan N-Line.

It will use the same 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and will wear a sportier bodykit to differentiate it from the lower grade cars.

Rumoured but not yet confirmed, as well, is an N version of the small Kona SUV, which has been spied overseas in various forms for a couple of years now.

Given that the Kona rides on the same platform as the current i30, expect a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine to power the front wheels, with manual and dual-clutch versions on offer.

As well, an N-Line version of the small crossover is almost a formality, given that it’s already sold here with the same 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine in AWD guise.

What we’re unlikely to ever see is a right-hand-drive of the Veloster N, which is reserved for the US market. The decision is made even more unusual because Australia is the only right-hand-drive market for the second-generation Veloster.

Why? Well, the i30 hatch is a poor seller for Hyundai in that market, hence its decision to produce the unusual triple-door coupe just for the American market.


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