Hyundai's i20 subcompact will get the full N treatment. But will we ever see it in the US?
Now that Ford has all but exited the car business in the US, there are two hot hatch-shaped holes where the Ford Focus ST and Fiesta ST once sat. That's created a bit of an opportunity for foreign automakers like Hyundai, which last year brought out its sporty Veloster N hatchback to much fanfare.
Now, the South Korean automaker is going after the smaller Ford Fiesta ST, but we doubt the subcompact hot hatch that Hyundai is working on will come to the US market. Bummer.
That car is the i20 N - a souped-up version of Hyundai's small hatchback for foreign markets - and it looks awesome.
The new model was teased at the end of a since-deleted video depicting the full European Hyundai i20 range, according to New Zealand news site Stuff, which speculates that the Fiesta ST-fighter could pack Hyundai's turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder. If that engine is familiar to American buyers, it might be from the Hyundai Veloster and Elantra model lines, where it puts out a stout 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque.
That's more than ample for a lightweight subcompact like the i20, and it's significantly more than the 180 horsepower the discontinued Ford Fiesta ST made for most of its US run.
Of course, it looks exceedingly unlikely that Hyundai will bother to federalize the i20 N for the US market, given that the regular i20 historically hasn't been sold here. That's a shame because the number of affordable hot hatch options in the market has grown exceedingly thin, forcing young autocross enthusiasts to look to the used market for cheap performance machines.
For its part, Ford is still making the Focus ST and Fiesta ST hot hatch models, but like the more ordinary car models, the latest iterations of both STs will steer clear of the US market.