Hyundai Australia to take i20 N
We’re waiting for Hyundai’s crack N Division to confirm it, but Australia’s local arm is already hot for the idea of a Ford Fiesta ST rival.
It seems Hyundai Australia is preparing to introduce a new N model into its lineup to tackle the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST, Volkswagen Polo GTI and Renault Clio R.S.
Though the car is only in testing – as first revealed by Autocar.co.uk – the i20 N is getting closer to production. According to Hyundai Australia marketing director Bill Thomas, there’s not enough volume to justify the cost of introducing the wider i20 range to Australia, but Hyundai would take an i20 N hot hatch as it’s a flagship performance vehicle.
“We’re always looking at i20 out of Turkey and i10 as well, we’re always trying to balance up how do we make that work, but the price has to be so sharp at that end of the market that you’re not going to sell the volume at a price point that works,” Thomas told Practical Motoring.
“If there was an i20 N available, we’d take it,” he added.
“The idea of a more nimble, smaller performance hatch would be good.”
Hyundai is yet to confirm the model despite i20 N test mules running in public. In 2017 Hyundai N Division boss Albert Biermann began suggesting the model would come, telling reporters N shouldn’t be limited to just the C-segment i30 and citing the Fiesta ST and Polo GTI as targets – both successful sellers in Australia. Since then, the car has been spotted at the Nurburgring, where N’s headquarters are located.
Hyundai Australia’s lobbying for the i20 N will be underpinned by a lack of N product available locally, with the Veloster N unlikely to come here for some time.
“Sure, we’d take any N product we can get,” Thomas continued.
“We’ve got our hands up for Veloster N [but] we’re not getting anywhere because they’re just not available in right-hand drive.”
Another N product in the pipeline is the Kona N, a sports SUV that is tipped to host the i30 N’s 2.0-litre turbo driveline according to comments from Biermann. Given both the i20 and Kona share the same platform, it’s possible the smaller hatch could be the segments most powerful contestant if it gets the bigger four-pot mill.