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Hyundai introduce the newer, more attractive i20


YEARS ago Korean cars used to be cheap but not particularly cheerful. Now though, Hyundai and its sister company, KIA, fight on a level playing field with the Europeans and Japanese.

One of Hyundai’s more popular models, the i20 has given customers an alternative to models from competing brands such as Ford, Honda and even Volkswagen. For 2015 Hyundai has introduced a new i20 and just by looking at it I can see that they are pretty adamant to cement a name for themselves in this tough market segment.

What is it?

The i20 is Hyundai’s answer to the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Honda Jazz and Opel Corsa. The new i20 is a super mini aimed straight at the mainstream contenders. I spent some time behind the wheel to see if this new model has what it takes to compete with the best, or is it going to run back to mommy with its tail between its legs?

It sure looks good.

The latest interpretation of Hyundai Motor’s design philosophy, Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, incorporates clean and elegant lines giving it a sophisticated appearance. The i20 features a bold front aesthetic that now introduces a distinctive dual-element grille. The upright chrome-framed hexagonal grille has been lowered for design and engineering purposes, while a thin, horizontal grille connecting the headlamps, emphasises the width of the vehicle.

The large swept-back headlights, a rising waist line and blacked out C-pillars, create somewhat of a coupé-like look that’s sporty and stylish but in a subtle kind of way. It’s a shame though that the same design flair wasn’t applied to the interior, but we will address that later. The new i20 also features a larger platform than its predecessor. The wheelbase of the new i20 is 45mm longer and wider by 24mm.

At the rear, the lamp clusters wrap around the rear wing into the boot lid and feature a distinctive “boomerang” LED design. Overall I think the new i20 looks really good.

Now, that interior

It’s not a bad place to be. It’s really put together well and has all the luxury goodies you need. It has a functional interior but I just found it to be a tad boring. It’s very German in its design and I guess that’s what the designers were going for. The boot will easily swallow up 294 litres with the rear seats upright. Rear legroom is adequate and the seats are comfortable.

On the entertainment front, a USB and auxiliary port is fitted as standard with an audio system, along with Bluetooth hands-free phone function.

What engines are there?

Hyundai is offering a 1.2-litre Motion and 1.4-litre Fluid model. The 1.2-litrel Motion, which is the entry level model, is only available with a five-speed manual, whereas the 1.4-litre Fluid is offered with a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic. The 1.2-litre has to deal with 61kW/115Nm. The 1.4 Fluid manual and automatic derivatives deliver 74kW/133Nm which unfortunately means one really has to work the gearbox to get engines going.

Ok, so what’s the verdict?

I do like the styling of the new Hyundai i20; I think it’s fresh and can easily enter a beauty competition with its European rivals. The dashboard is nicely laid out with all the essentials that the modern driver needs and there’s ample space inside. I just felt that it was too clinical compared to the exterior.

My biggest objections are the engines. With just about all the i20s main rivals turning to turbo-charging, I think Hyundai should consider going down that route, especially for the European markets.  However, considering the price advantage and the fact that you get – over and above some luxury features - driver and passenger airbags as well as ABS and EBD as standard, I’m willing to overlook the engine issues.

Included in the prices are the Hyundai five year/150 000km warranty while a two-year or 30 000km service plan is included in the 1.2 Motion’s price with the 1.4 Fluid derivatives featuring a three-year/60 000km service plan.



1.2 Motion Manual                             R184900

i20 1.4 Fluid Manual                           R204900

i20 1.4 Fluid Automatic                       R214900

Article written by Justin Jacobs
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