Will Hyundai i20 N Line buck the trend of poor-performing hot hatchbacks

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NEW DELHI: Hyundai Motor India’s debut of performance brand N Line here on Tuesday with the i20 sparks the debate on demand for hot hatchbacks. Historically, the picture appears gloomy but the Korean carmaker thinks otherwise.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS prices were slashed by up to Rs 75,000 in the later stages due to low sales and finally, the carmaker pulled the plug in 2019. A hit at the start of the decade, the sales of VW Polo substantially reduced to almost a third annually by 2020-end. Tata Tiago JTP and Fiat Punto Abarth convey a similar downtrend story.

Hyundai’s approach has been slightly different though. A top official says i20 N Line will not cannibalize the i20 or any other product in the portfolio, instead, the introduction of the company’s performance brand and will further reinstate Hyundai’s commitment to Indian customers.
The first N Line model is set for market launch on September 2 and the first look suggests heavy artillery is packed for the hot hatch to perform on roads. Under the hood is a 1-litre, turbocharged petrol engine. The engine is in a higher state of tune than the regular i20 turbo and it pumps out 120 PS and 172 Nm. Hyundai will only offer automatic transmissions in the form of either iMT or DCT.
“Indian customer is becoming younger by the day and is seeking unique features. There is an appetite for fun-to-drive, sporty cars. The i20 N Line is inspired by Hyundai’s WRC (World Rally Championship) car and will deliver a thrilling experience,” said Tarun Garg, director, sales and marketing, Hyundai Motor India.
The company will retail the i20 N Line through its premium Signature network, which is also responsible for Tucson, Elantra, and top-trim of Alcazar. The i20 N Line is based on the top trims (Asta and Sportz) of the regular i20.

The trim strategy and variant-wise features will be disclosed closer to the date of launch. However, Hyundai during the India-debut event of i20 N Line deliberated on the creature comforts which include sun roof, ambient lighting, wireless charging, BlueLink connectivity, premium interiors and digital cockpit.
The long list of features in i20 N Line also be a key differentiator from the crop of hot hatchbacks, which were phased out of the market.
Engine aside, the N Line also witnesses a sea of mechanical changes over the regular i20. Amit Dhaundiyal, general manager, product planning, HMIL, said, “The suspension has been reworked, all-disc brakes offer great feedback and the calibrated steering offers an engaging feel. The i20 N Line packs greater safety features like 6 airbags, ESC, VSM, and TPMS.”
Without divulging the details, Hyundai officials confirmed bringing other N Line models to India subsequently. The N Brand of Hyundai cars is sold in over 40 countries.

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