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Used test: Ford Fiesta ST vs Hyundai i20N interiors

The Fiesta ST and i20N are both small and speedy, but which paints the bigger smile across its driver's face and which is the better two-year-old used buy?...

Ford Fiesta ST 2021 dashboard

Interiors

Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

There’s not much to complain about when you’re sitting behind the steering wheel of either car, although the Hyundai i20N’s wheel doesn’t have quite as much reach extension. Its seats are good, despite the angled seat squab that digs into your hamstrings slightly.

The Ford Fiesta ST’s are even better, giving you more support for your shoulders and thighs. One thing to note, though: being narrower between the bolsters, the ST’s seat might not suit you if you have a bit of a bounteous behind. Both cars give the driver height adjustment but no adjustable lumbar support.

The i20N has a fully digital display behind the steering wheel, and the set-up will make avid gamers feel at home. The display can be configured in a multitude of ways to show everything from how much brake pressure you’re using to your lap times on a track day.

Hyundai i20 N 2021 dashboard

The ST’s instruments are analogue, but that’s also fine. They’re clear and have a small digital screen between them that lets you call up some driving data. Beyond that, both dashboards have simple switches for most major functions, so they’re easy to use.

The ST-3 trim comes, like the i20N’s, with all mod cons, including built-in sat-nav and smartphone mirroring. The touchscreen is mounted high up, but the graphics don’t look as good as the i20N’s and selecting a DAB station is a bit of a faff. The i20N's screen is larger, too. The ST's system is otherwise easy to find your way around the system, and the software is reasonably responsive.

You get a clear view out of the front of both cars, but their chunky pillars compromise rearward vision. Still, you get standard rear parking sensors and a reversing camera to help you avoid prangs.

The i20N has full LED headlights as standard from new. The ST has LED dipped headlights as standard from new, with halogen bulbs taking over when you flick on the main beams. Full LEDs set its original owner back an extra £700.

Ford Fiesta ST 2021 boot

Despite differences regarding their on-paper interior dimensions, there’s not a lot to separate these two cars in real-world use, and they both have more than enough front leg and head room for six-footers. In terms of storage, each has trays and cupholders, a small glovebox and door bins, although if you tend to travel with lots of odds and ends, you might be left wanting more.

The rear seats show up more variance, starting – rather obviously – with the three-door Fiesta ST’s lack of rear doors. You can buy a five-door version – when new, it asked a £400 premium from you – saving front seat occupants from having to get out of the car to let someone climb into the back and improving access for rear seat passengers. The i20N comes in five-door guise only.

Hyundai i20 N 2021 boot

The i20N has more rear leg room, too. Even tall adults will have a gap between their knees and the back of the seat in front, whereas they’ll probably need to position their legs either side of the front seat to fit in the ST if someone tall is in the front. Both cars have enough rear head room for anyone around six feet tall.

Again, looking at the official figures, you’d think the i20N had the more useful boot, but that’s not the case. It’s fine for a car of its size, but its shape meant we struggled to fi t four carry-on cases below the parcel shelf. They did eventually go in, but the ST accepted five cases with relative ease – even though there’s a higher lip to negotiate at the boot entrance. Both cars come with 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks for those occasions when you need extra storage space.


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