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Hyundai i20 N Line: Buying & ownership experience & many accessories

Once I came across a highly-modded VW Polo GT & its owner aptly commented on my car, "Most of the major mods have already been provided from the factory."

BHPian akshaysehgal recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello BHPians!

I recently became a proud owner of an i20 N line N8 DCT (polar white, date of delivery - 14th March 2022), and I thank the Team-BHP forum for helping me make this decision and for providing me with a platform for sharing my ownership review & experience with the car (1246 km on road as of the posting of this article). I hope this account of mine may assist, inform and entertain the car enthusiast community here.

Choice & Decision

Being my first car, I wanted to ensure that it was from a reliable brand and preferably a hatchback that I could continue using as a secondary car when the time came to buy a larger family car in the future. The options I started investigating were Baleno, i20 Asta, i20 N line, VW Polo, Tata Altroz, Tata Tiago, Kia Sonet, Venue, and Honda Jazz. The two cars that caught my eye immediately were the i20(s) and Polo. Very soon all my online car comparisons basically turned into how well a car would compare against these two. After reading a bunch of opinions on Team-BHP and watching videos on YouTube, I decided on i20 N Line. Some of the criteria that helped me make this decision were (in order):

  • Looks! - It’s classy, sporty, angry, and edgy all at once and the interior feels extremely premium in spite of the plastics. A major part of the decision was due to the fact that I had watched a LOT of videos of the i20 N & i20 N Line European versions and the interiors/exteriors felt quite similar to the Indian version.
  • Amazing test drive(s) - Had about 4-5 of those and the car’s handling felt super intuitive and fun.
  • Features - Excellent tech features (being a tech guy in AI/ML space, this was super important for me. Lots of data and stats visible all around, plus great integrations with other devices.
  • Competition - Tons of comparisons with amazing cars such as VW Polo GTI, Fiat Punto Abarth which are legends in their own right.
  • City driving - Hot hatch for comfortable city driving (I am not a sedan person and I decided to avoid an SUV as my first car).
  • Uniqueness - Since the time I got to know about this car I have probably seen just 3-4 of these on-road and it's definitely a head-turner.
  • Reliability - My family owns a Verna (12 years and running) and a Creta (7 years and running), so Hyundai was highly recommended to me.
  • Budget - My budget was around 14-18 and it fell right into the Goldilocks zone for me.

Booking & Delivery

This phase was nothing short of a roller coaster for me. I was hell-bent on finding the Red Monotone color with silver skirts. So, after promises of delivery within a month, Himgiri Hyundai in Gurgaon took my booking right after my test drive for the same color. Unfortunately, they got back to me a week later informing me that they would need to modify the booking since Red monotone was discontinued which was extremely disappointing. My next choice was white monotone as the red accents on it stand out the most, making it look sporty yet classy. So I asked them for the same, and was told that white would be available even earlier than the red one!

Sadly, after 1.5 months of barely any responses to my WhatsApp messages for updates on the car delivery and multiple missed calls to the showroom, I had given up hope of getting the car at all and started test driving other cars. Every week, I would make multiple calls to them only for them to pick up after 3 to 4 attempts and tell me that the car should be available by next week.

This is when my brother-in-law stepped in and helped me find another showroom from Faridabad (Bohra Hyundai) which claimed they could arrange the car in white within a week! Skeptical, we physically went there and gauged how trustworthy the situation was. Based on that we made another booking before canceling the previous one for the same car.

It was beyond my expectation when they told me they had arranged the car and would be able to deliver it in just 4-5 days by exchanging their i20 N Line in a different color with another dealer (which they didn’t disclose). I was very very skeptical about this at first but after a pre-inspection (following the excellent article on this on TeamBHP to the T) on the 5th day of the booking, it was delivered to me in a net 6 days after booking!

Hats off to Mohit from the Bohra Hyundai, Faridabad, sales team for being one of the most proactive and professional sales guys I have ever met, and thanks for making me feel like a valued customer! This was Bohra Hyundai’s first N-line sale as well and they were really really proactive with the updates.

The biggest pain of the process was the payment for the car since I was not taking any loan and was paying the full amount upfront within ~48 hours of time. Tip for anyone looking to do the same - NEVER use HDFC bank for large immediate transactions. The best banks to do this are SBI & ICICI as they allow up to 5 lakhs RTGS transfers within the first 24 hours of adding a beneficiary. A week after I got my car, I actually remembered to cancel my booking with Himgiri and got my full amount refunded since they promised me a Red car at the time of booking but couldn’t even deliver a different color in the promised time.

Ownership experience

I am still experiencing new things daily as I am writing this and so I cannot provide an extremely organized compendium of facts and opinions, but for a good starting point, I will add a bunch of my experiences with the car for now and will keep updating these as time goes on.

Acceleration & Overtaking

I was careful in keeping my revs under 4k for the first 500 kms as recommended by the online owner’s manual. However, I had a scary moment the first time I tried to overtake a car. The initial delay in accelerating from 1st to 2nd gear is actually quite significant and so at lower speeds when you put your foot down, expect a massive burst of acceleration after a short delay. This issue disappears at higher gears where the car just infinitely delivers more and more power as you push the pedal down. This is reflected in the torque curve shared by Hyundai for this engine. It delivers ~120bhp at 6000 RPM but the torque curve actually continues its upwards trend even into the red line area which they chose to hide. But after a few days of driving the car, this becomes muscle memory and it's not really an issue at all. A trick I use when trying to overtake quickly is to push the paddle shifter (-) to one gear lower for overtaking and then quickly switch from D to S to D again for changing back to automatic mode immediately. I rarely use the S mode other than this (only when I need to show off!) but the audio feedback from the car, exhausts notes in particular, as well as the responsiveness of the car, are significantly improved in this mode. Will definitely try to fit the S mode more often with my regular driving going forward.

Steering & Parking

Probably the most amazing part of the car! It’s quite precise and on sharp turns, you can feel the car turning around you as the pivot, which is an amazing feeling to have. The steering is heavy, and bulky, especially with the paddle shifters which makes the digits super happy when grabbing the wheel. The turning signal has a “soft” indicator (tap it gently for 5 ticks) and a “hard” indicator which works like a standard indicator would. While turning with headlights switched on, the corresponding side light (fog light?) turns on to further illuminate the direction, which is really helpful. The rear visibility is really good, especially with the auto-dimming IRVM and adjustable ORVMs. The sensors behind the car are responsive and the rear camera is crisp & clear even at night. The rear camera view is visible on the infotainment system when you jump into R mode and stays there when you are at lower speeds even if you enter D model, which has come in handy frequently. I especially appreciate the dedicated rearview cameras button next to the headlight adjuster which helps a ton on a rainy day.

Braking & Tires

The one thing I have fallen in love with even more than the acceleration, after driving the car for some time now, is the disc brakes on all 4 wheels. The confidence I have with the car at higher speeds actually shows. Once you get a hang of it, you can bring a car to stop extremely quickly without even the slightest jerk. The biggest disappointment here was the fact that they painted only the front ones red. I am planning to rectify this aftermarket and would love to hear from some experienced BHPians for some guidance. I have not changed the factory CEAT Securadrive tires for something else as a lot of folks told me they were actually pretty decent types already. I plan to use these for now and later replace them.

Features

There is a lot to cover here but I will give some of the important ones a quick overview (in order):

  • Carplay - The most useful feature of the car is the apple CarPlay for me. I am truly disappointed that N8 doesn’t get the wireless CarPlay as N6 but I still use it all the time for Maps, Music, and Phone calls. I have it properly configured to suit my needs and have set the google maps to cover the full 10.2-inch screen, instead of the two-thirds default setting.
  • Navigation - The inbuilt navigation is also amazing and actually shows stop signs and other important information directly on the gauge cluster as well! It has some issues with specific locations so I generally use google maps on CarPlay. Avoid using apple maps completely though. The controls on the steering are very intuitive and do a great job controlling CarPlay features so no complaints here. The only thing I can think of is the fact that there is no pause button on the steering controls, only mute.
  • Real-time stats - Next is the gauge cluster, specifically the real-time mileage and the tire pressure. I switch between the 2 and keep checking on them very regularly. Turbocharged engines are especially sensitive to throttle inputs when it comes to fuel efficiency, I am still learning how to maximize the same while being able to enjoy the sportier side of the car. The real-time mileage indicator is a great learning tool for that. During my trip to Agra, on the cruise at 100, I was averaging a milage of 25-30! But in the city, with my unrefined novice driving, it's usually around 8-9.
  • Sunroof - The sunroof is too small to be practical (my 2-year-old nephew enjoys peaking out of it occasionally) but it actually something that I use regularly. I open it slightly for the hot air to escape with the AC on auto whenever I turn on the car, and I regularly pull the roof cover for moonlight to shine through the glass during especially beautiful nights.
  • Auto AC - The AC auto function is very useful as well. I start afresh drive with this until the car is properly cooled and then switch to my preferred settings. The fan at top speeds can be a bit noisy but the weather control buttons are really intuitive and easy to handle without even looking. The rear AC vents are a great touch as well!
  • Bluelink - The blue link app has been very useful from time to time. I often forget to lock the car when parking it at my home and I end up getting a notification on my phone that the car was not locked. This I remedy quickly with the remote locking feature. I don’t use the remote ignition very often as it takes a year to actually work (Vodafone/idea network if I remember). The iPhone app has limited features as compared to the android one, as I have heard, so hoping they make those updates soon on the iPhone!
  • Interior lighting - The welcome lights and the electronically opening ORVMs are a great touch and add a bit of personality to the car! The red interior lighting is aggressive but I plan to change the yellow bulbs in the roof lights to warm white soon. I wish there was more lighting on the driver-side door controls. For now, I have learned to feel the button shapes and use the controls as if they are laid out in braille but I still hit the wrong buttons often.
  • Wireless charging - Wireless charger is useful, but not really. Since I have to use a cable for the CarPlay, I rarely end up using it. The issue though is when you accidentally forget your phone on the wireless charger. It keeps on charging and draining the battery even if the car is completely off. The car is polite enough to warn you that the wireless charger is being used when you turn it off though.
  • Vehicle warnings - The car warnings are great though. Leaving your door/sunroof open, leaving the key inside the car, leaving the phone on the wireless charger, improper gear when turning off the car, etc, are all displayed clearly on the cluster along with audio alerts. One issue that I figured out rather quickly was the fact that if you accidentally forget to put your car in P when turning off the car, the car makes a big ruckus, and the only way to stop that is by shifting gears to P, turning on the car, and then turning it off again. Just pushing it into P without turning the car on doesn’t work. My biggest complaint here is the speed at which the seatbelt safety sound gets triggered. I am not sure if this is a govt mandate or just their choice, but anything above 20 kmph apparently triggers it and it just doesn’t stop even if you slow down, which is very annoying when you are just trying to move your car out of the parking to take out your other family car. I really don’t want to invest in the fake seatbelt clips as safety comes before convenience so I am wondering if the speed limit can be modified to a bit higher for the sound alerts. I am sure there must be a way, but I am hoping for a legal way that also protects my car warranty.
  • Storage - The door storage and the cooled glove box have decent space, but the storage between the two seats is quite disappointing. I regularly use the cupholders for storing smaller things like coins or small papers since the wireless charger has my phone sitting on it which I need quick access to each time I step out of the car. The storage under the hand rest is decent too but since there is no organizing there, it’s really hard to find smaller things that you drop into it. I have placed an order for seat fillers and I hope they could help with this a bit. Overall, the storage isn’t that great in general.
  • Hill assist - The hill assist is extremely useful in my personal usage, especially since I have a somewhat elevated parking. It kicks in when I am trying to climb into the parking area via the ramp right after I have turned towards it. You need to hold the brake for 2 seconds on an incline in D mode for hill assist to kick in. It gives you 2 additional seconds of braking even after you release your foot from the pedal allowing you to safely move to the accelerator without the car rolling back.
  • Smart keys - The smart keys are a great touch and I rarely use the buttons on them at all. For the most part, I leave them in my pocket. I usually only use the unlock button on the driver’s side door handle to lock/unlock the car. It has a 1 foot proximity sensor to the key. Anything above that, and it doesn’t allow someone to open the car. This got apparent especially when I swapped seats with my brother-in-law one day when he was driving and we made a stop. I had the key still in my pocket and got down from the passenger side, while my brother-in-law got down from the driver’s side and attempted to lock the car with the button but in vain since it exceeded the 1 feet distance between the sensor in the driver side door handle and the key in my pocket. You can safely forget the key in the car as well since the car makes a ruckus if the key is still inside when you try to lock it.
  • Headlamps - The biggest issue (and the most dangerous) with the car that I have is that the LED headlamps are absolute garbage. I am not sure if this is just me, but I plan to raise this quite aggressively during my first servicing. The low beam, high beam, and fog lights combined are not enough to drive on an unlit road. The light intensity is extremely low even when you are the only car on the road on a dark night. On the lowest angle setting for the low beam (which I needed badly so that I could see the road bumps right in front of me), there is a weird shadow in the middle which illuminates the road unevenly. All of this is very dangerous and I would love to know if other i20 N line owners have had a similar issue.
  • Car Boot - Another issue is the car boot. I am not sure if this was a design issue or it's just a standard thing with other hatchbacks as well but the lip around the boot under the rear spoiler (where the boot hood closes) accumulates a LOT of dust and grime and has to constantly be cleaned. I haven’t had an instance where anything has leaked into the boot, however. (will post a pic soon)

Accessories & Mods

A couple of days back I met the owner of a highly modded VW Polo GT who aptly made the comment - “Sare major mods toh already factory se hi lag kar aaye hain” (Some of the major mods already come default from the factory). So, I have not done a lot with the car right now. Below is the list of the minor accessories/mods that I have already installed, ordered, or planning to get in the coming weeks -

  • N Line Car cushions (Installed)

A quick note on the authentic N Line accessories. They were even more difficult to get than the car itself in my personal experience. I got most of them after around 1.5 months of placing the order, but it was worth it. I was skeptical about the Red N Line 7D mats based on the photos I saw, but they are absolutely amazing in person and the Hyundai photos don’t do justice to them. I compared them physically in the showroom side by side with the i20 Black/Grey 7D mats and preferred the N Line ones immediately.

Since the car is mostly black inside (including the roof) with red accents, anything added to the car really brings color to the interior. I am a minimalist and this falls right up my alley.

TLDR

On the day of posting this article, I just completed a weekend trip from Delhi to Agra and back (via Yamuna expressway) completing a total of 1246 km and now my car is due for its first free servicing. It was an amazing trip and I am so glad I crossed the 1000 km milestone for the car on an amazing road like that, cruising at 100 kmph.

The car is extremely fun to drive, gives you a ton of confidence at high speeds, and is smooth yet a road monster when you need it to be. It looks amazing and feels premium, for the most part, reminding you of its more powerful distant cousins from Europe. It’s rare, exotic, and brings a smile to my face each time I am behind the wheel. Doesn't matter which parking lot it stands in, it always seems to stand out!

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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