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New Hyundai i20 N 2021 officially confirmed: Ford Fiesta ST and Toyota Yaris GR rival takes shape

A Hyundai i20 N could give the Korean brand a viable rival to the Ford Fiesta ST and VW Polo GTI.

Hyundai is putting the finishing touches on its latest high-performance model, the i20 N, testing its capabilities in cold conditions in Sweden.

Though rumours have pointed to development of an i20 N for quite some time, this is the first official confirmation from Hyundai that the baby hot hatch will be made.

It’s still not a lock for Australia though, with Hyundai Australia having its hand in the air to bring the model Down Under to take on the Ford Fiesta ST and VW Polo GTI, but still no firm plans.

The testing was done in Arjeplog to “evaluate the reliability of the vehicles under extreme cold, as well as test their performance in motorsport-like conditions,” according to Hyundai, while being driven by Hyundai WRC driver Thierry Neuville.

“Very interesting car,” he said. “Very precise. Very easy handling. The engine is revving nicely and the noise is very interesting as well.”

Hyundai stopped short of detailing the i20 N further, stating that more will be revealed soon, but early rumours point to the new model being powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

The 1.6-litre engine is the same one found in the i30 N-Line and Veloster Turbo, which punches out 150kW/265Nm, and could be hooked up to either a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or six-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels.

Comparatively, the Ford Fiesta ST makes 147kW/290Nm, the VW Polo GTI makes 147kW/320Nm and the Renault Clio RS produces 147kW/260Nm.

The Toyota Yaris GR however, will top the tables in the go-fast light hatchback segment, outputting 200kW/370Nm from a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine, fed top the road via a rally-inspired all-wheel-drive system.

The i20 N forms part of Hyundai’s high-performance push, with the likes of a mid-engine sports car and rumours of a Kona N in the works, as well as the automatic version of the i30 N still to come.