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Hyundai prices i20 N, Kona N

Aussie Hyundai N performance family grows with WRC-inspired i20 N hatch, Kona N SUV

12 Jul 2021

HYUNDAI will lob a WRC grenade into Australian light-car class in the fourth quarter of this year with its steroid-laced N version of the compact i20 hatch that is inspired by competition and clearly shirt-fronts Toyota’s explosive GR Yaris.

 

The i20 N “will be the most accessible product” in Hyundai’s local hot-shoe range when it goes on sale priced from $32,490 plus on-road costs.

 

Beating the i20 N to the showrooms by a few weeks will be the similarly smokin’ Kona N, here in the third quarter and priced from $47,500 plus on-road costs.

 

The pair become the second and third Hyundais available here with the badge after the i30 N that has already swayed performance buyers away from sports-hatch icons led by the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

 

Unlike the GR Yaris, the new Hyundai hotties are not limited editions and are expected to remain part of the brand’s range.

 

It is the first showing of the i20 model since it was dropped in Australia in 2015 after a six-year run. But Hyundai has no plans to introduce the vanilla version, filling its market slot with the Venue SUV.

 

Getting the N version up to speed is a new-generation 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine rated at 150kW/275Nm with an overboost function that will pump torque to 304Nm.

 

Hyundai has tuned the engine for “flat power” that it says ensures high responsiveness and improved acceleration.

 

“Flat power provides more torque and power at lower revs, thereby utilising more of the engine’s potential in everyday driving,” it claims.

 

The engine maintains maximum torque between 1750rpm and 4500rpm and achieves maximum power between 5500rpm and 6000rpm to improve acceleration in the mid- and high-speed range, which the company said “delivers consistent high performance in a variety of driving conditions”.

 

The i20 N weighs 1213kg for a 0-100km/h time of 6.2 seconds and a top whack of 230km/h.

 

It comes only in a single trim level with a six-speed manual driving the front wheels through a mechanical limited-slip differential that Hyundai calls an “N Corner Carving Differential”.  

 

For a bit of fun, it comes with a launch-control function. The i20 N will have options including metallic paint at $495 and a black roof for an extra $1000.

 

Standard equipment includes Hyundai’s comprehensive Smart Sense safety package, sports seats, alloy pedals, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, 18-inch alloys, LED headlights and 10.25-inch infotainment with satellite navigation.

 

The i20 N faces up against the Volkswagen Polo GTI that has a 2.0-litre engine rated at 147kW/320Nm, a sprint of 6.7 seconds and costs $32,890 plus costs or the Ford Fiesta ST ($32,290) with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol at 147kW/290Nm for 0-100km/h of 6.5 seconds.

 

More exotic is the Toyota GR Yaris (from $49,500) with a 200kW/370Nm 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo and all-wheel drive for a sprint of 5.2 seconds; and similarly the Abarth 595 ($26,980) and 695 ($44,950) with up to 140kW/250Nm from a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol for a 0-100km/h time of 5.9 seconds (695).

 

Hyundai class the Kona N as a “true hot SUV” and is the first N in an SUV body, claiming it offers “a winning combination of versatility, spirited acceleration, agility and racetrack readiness” thanks in part to its relatively slim 1510kg weight.

 

It gets its mumbo from a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine rated at 206kW/392Nm, mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

 

However, with the kick of the “N Grin Shift” mode, its power is enhanced to 213kW. With launch control, the Kona N sprints to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds on the way to an academic top of 240km/h.

 

Like the i20 N, the engine gets a flat power tune for high response and improved acceleration and drives its 19-inch alloy wheels through the same mechanical diff at the front axles. It has an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

 

The Kona N will come in two grades priced at $47,500 plus on-roads, and for the Premium, $50,500 plus costs.

 

The Premium adds the full Smart Sense safety pack, leather upholstery, LED headlights, Harman Kardon eight-speaker audio, head-up display, heated and vented seats, sunroof and Pirelli P Zero tyres.

 

Hyundai sales are up 25.5 per cent to June 30, earning a 6.8 per cent market share.

 

The introduction of the i20 N returns Hyundai to the micro-light car class – which has stable sales of about 5000 units a month – following the demise of the Accent as Hyundai moved the goal posts to introduce the Venue SUV.

 

The Kona N will reinforce Hyundai’s play in the small SUV sector where the mainstream model is the second-best seller at 8215 sales this year, with a 12.5 per cent share.


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