Hyundai ix20 Tuning

"Thanks for reading this Hyundai ix20 tuning guide."

The ix20 replaces the Matrix and is based on the Kia Venga and shares the i20 and Kia Soul platform.

This means that parts between models are often interchangeable, so offers a low cost upgrade route.

Originally 4 engines were offered on the IX20, namely the petrol line in the form of the 1.4 L Gamma and 1.6 L Gamma  and two diesel options, a 1.4 L U-Line  and the 1.6 L U-Line.

The car is functional and well designed but is crying out for handling and power modifications to allow the driver to fully explore the potential of this chassis.

The ix20 is a good car tuning project to play with.  It's small size and low weight are ideal for creating fun weekend car, or trackday toy.

We see lots of DIY modders wasting money on their ix20 doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our tips to avoid ruining your car.

Before we begin can we just say that slamming the ix20 as low as it will go, fitting a large bore exhaust and induction kit will ruin the performance and your enjoyment of the car.

The ix20 is a good project car to have. The key to ix20 tuning is choosing the right mods - a lot of money can be wasted if you do it wrong.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Top end power should be your overall aim on the ix20 with a nice fat peak torque band.

ix20 make good sleepers if you debadge them and fit the most powerful engine upgrades and handling mods you can find!

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

Engine tuning mods.

Engines offered on the IX20 were

  • 1.4 L Gamma I4 (petrol) 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp)
  • 1.6 L Gamma I4 (petrol) 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp)
  • 1.4 L U-Line I4 (diesel) CRDi — 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp)
  • 1.6 L U-Line I4 (diesel) CRDi — 116 PS (85 kW; 114 hp)

The following modifications are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to go before you start.

Getting the correct grade of modified mods for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 (competition) mods just don't work well on the road difficult in stop start traffic.

Stage 1 mods: Sports exhaust, Lighter flywheel, Panel air filter, Remap, Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm), Alloy wheels.

Stage 2 mods: fuel pump upgrades, high flow fuel injector, Ported and polished head, Fast road cam, Power/Sport clutch.

Stage 3 mods: Engine balancing, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Competition cam, Sports gearbox, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

Your aims when tuning the engine should be a wide torque output. You want to avoid sending all the power to be at the top end unless you are creating a motor sport car.

The aim of our pointers is to give a little insight into the world of tuning modifications and point you in the right direction, our forum is best place to go if you need more detailed advice and tips on your modified car project, the best tuning modifications and all aspects of modding cars.One of the most cost effective mechanical performance parts you can do on your NASP engine is to fit a fast road camshaft .

It improves the intake and exhaust flow and pushes up the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a performance chip. We'd also caution you not to go with a motor sports profile cam as this affects the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

Don't forget to pay attention to the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Most power losses, and erratic idling after tuning kits are done can usually be traced to fuel delivery or timing issues.To get sufficient fuel you may need to increase the injectors on your engine.

If you are increasing your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Contrary to popular belief there is generally a small power gain to be had by fitting an induction kit, they only work well and are recommended after you increase the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

Maximum power gains come from a full induction kit with a cold air feed on heavily tuned engines, this can be sited within an air box but a performance panel filter should suffice for most applications. TorqueCars suggest you use a panel air filter as these are easy to clean and maintain and generally perform better than paper ones.

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can find this will slow the exhaust rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Getting a professionally gas flowed head with larger valves can fully release the engines power. A good multi plate fast road sports clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never make false economies or ask your standard clutch to cope. The best mods in our opinion for your ix20 are remaps, sports camshafts and induction improvements.

Remaps offer impressive power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NASP engines the benefits are doubtful. However a remap on a NASP engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods.

We've also come across some owners toying with twin charging conversions and making some seriously high power gains.

Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NASP engine will give large power gains. Superchargers are generally easier to add than a turbo. With a turbo the boost curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it harder to map.

It is simpler to map a supercharger because the boost is correlating to engine speed on a linear curve. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the engines compression ratio .

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are top of many to do lists for the ix20.

If you set the toe out to 1 to 2 degrees on the front, and add a tiny bit of negative camber then cornering will dramatically improve.

We would go to a maximum drop of 29mm - 38 mm on most models. You risk handling compromises if you go lower than this.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Because alloy wheels are less heavy they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. If you are serious about performance then you will need to carefully choose your tyres - ideally with a directional tread pattern tyre. Large ix20 alloy wheels can decrease performance. If you get big alloy wheels you will be changing your final drive ratio.

Due to this we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 16 inches, although we know some of our members have gone larger than this with no problems.

There is a more updated version of this Hyundai ix20 Tuning article on

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss ix20 options in more detail with our ix20 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Hyundai tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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