Has the i20 N taken the number 1 spot in the hot hatch world?

The Hyundai i20 N is receiving praise from left, right and centre for its impressive performance and prowess as a more than competent hot hatch.

Originally ‘launched’ in September 2021, the i20 N never really made it to dealerships last year due to the global chip shortage. Only now at the beginning of 2022 are customers starting to receive their cars and that’s only if they’re lucky. Most customers that ordered their i20 N back in September are still waiting for a confirmed delivery date and it might not be until March that they can get their bums in the seat and their hands behind the wheel.

So what was meant to be one of the best hot hatches of last year is now looking to be a contender for 2022. Said to be almost as good as the Toyota GR Yaris, which costs around £5,000 more and was literally fine-tuned by renowned rally drivers to be the ultimate rally car for the road, the i20 N is making waves in the motoring industry.

So, we’re off to a good start with Hyundai’s hot hatch being at a good price point around the £25k mark, already undercutting cars like the Renault Megane RS Trophy and Civic Type R and obviously being far cheaper than the more luxurious offerings such as the Golf GTI and Audi S3, the i20N is really only beaten on price by one comparable hot hatch and that’s the Ford Fiesta ST.

Although it may be available for less, the ST lacks in areas where the i20 N shines. For instance, off the line the i20 N can leave a Fiesta ST in the rear-view despite having a similar 0-62mph time on paper. Its quick launch is thanks to a mechanical limited-slip differential, stiff and sporty suspension and rev matching to boot but these are things that other hot hatches, including the ST have too.

Hyundai has apparently lucked out with the i20N and somehow created the perfect concoction of technology, power, balance and style to create a truly excellent hot hatch, available at a great price. The exhaust sounds brilliant straight out of the factory, it’s styled with just the right amount of outrageous and it performs well enough to provide a lot of fun on B roads.

Autocar praise it as comparable in some ways to a Subaru STi or Mitsi Lancer Evo, Top Gear say Hyundai have nailed it when it comes to the i20 N and Carwow describe it as a “hot hatch that packs a hefty punch”. It all sounds rather good but many reviews have commented on it’s nearly-there performance. Said to be not quite as well-tuned as the now apparently legendary GR Yaris and not quite as playfully fun as the Fiesta ST, where does the i20 N sit in the hot hatch market?

Well, it has a unique style going for it, with the rear wing, rear diffuser and front splitter all making it stand out as one of the most stylish hot hatches around from factory, if you like the sporty look. It’s also cheaper than pretty much all the others with the exception of the ST and offers a great range of standard tech and features, including heated seats, heated steering wheel, lovely interior lighting and all the various driving modes and features that an be changed via the infotainment screen.

Given its price, the i20 N has certainly managed to climb above other hot hatches, pushing them down a spot, but it may not have dethroned the GR Yaris or beat the ST either. Still, with deliveries finally taking place this year, we’re sure customers will be very pleased with this very competent hot hatch.

Let us know what you think of Hyundai’s new star, in the comments.

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