The popular i20 range quietly received a new top model recently. Added without much fanfare, the arrival of the N-Line model could just be the first of a whole range of N Light models that will be coming shortly.

Following many other manufacturers who have halo or performance ranges, N-Line means visual and spec upgrades without mechanical changes to the vehicle.

In the case of the i20, this takes the latest version that was launched during 2021 and builds on the already enticing looks of the car. Our test car was striking in red with black roof 2 tone bodywork. The subtle body kit and bold black grille plus 16 inch alloys somehow really work in combination.

This was a car that made people notice and take a second look. Just different enough to be noticed, and that's just from the exterior.

Interior upgrades include leather seats with red stitching plus red accents throughout the cabin, auto air-conditioning, auto headlights, sunroof (interestingly not a panoramic roof as has become so popular) full connectivity with wireless Android Auto and inductive charging.

The power is the same 1L 3 cylinder turbo that provides 90kW and 172Nm to the front wheels through a smooth and easy 7 speed Dual Clutch (DCT) automatic. Nice big paddles are provided behind the steering wheel if you are in a playful mood. These work especially well if you want to drop a gear for a quick overtake.

The engine is typically buzzy in 3 cylinder style but never intrusive, rather adding to the playful spirit if you are in the mood. Fuel economy for the test period was 6.8l/100km, close enough to the manufacturers figure of 6.5.

A price premium of R37 000 over the Fluid auto version to give you a selling price of R399 900 seems like good value for me taking into account the extra spec plus the intangible feel-good factor of this car.

A 4 year/60 000km service plan plus 7 year/ 200 000km warranty are part of the deal.

Alan Rosenmeyer: