Hyundai I20 N: Tested and Teased
With Hyundai promising to give the N treatment to more models in its lineup, everyone expected the new i20 to be the next performance inductee. The subcompact debuted in its vanilla format earlier this year, equipped with a modest but serviceable 1.0-liter turbo engine making 118 horsepower. While that may be ideal for saving gas on grocery runs, Hyundai wants to deliver something a bit more raucous for enthusiasts.
The automaker teased the upcoming i20 N in a winter testing video that primarily focused on the World Rally Championship car fans of the sport would already recognize. The RM19 prototype was also seen kicking up snow in the clips, before a substantially camouflaged i20 received its time in the sun.
Hyundai's RM19 Previews the Brand's Performance Future
I drove the racetrack-ready Hyundai RM19 prototype, and I didn’t crash it.
The day after the Los Angeles Auto Show, while most of the rest of the assembled automotive media was either at home or in an airplane heading that way, I was in a shuttle bus heading north from Westwood/Beverly Hills towards the desert. Awaiting me would be the RM19 high-performance version of the Hyundai Veloster N.
The bus was ferrying me to Hyundai’s Proving Grounds located in/near California City, California. In addition to driving the RM19, I’d autocross a production Veloster N against the clock – something I did on the launch last year, outside of Sacramento – and be offered the chance to ride right-seat with a pro driver on an autocross in a race-prepped Veloster N. I’d also get to off-road a Palisade SUV and take a Nexo fuel-cell crossover around the high-speed track.
I skipped the right-seat ride due to lack of time, and I have little to say about autocross or the off-road. Those were merely repeats of experiences I’ve had before. The story here is the RM19, which Hyundai claims is a preview of future N products.
That exact future isn’t yet clear.