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Chocolate sauce for Hyundai i20


THE HYUNDAI i20 is not an interesting car. When we did the layout for the launch editorial, I kept on sending the designer back to make the page more dynamic and fun to look at. In the end she gave up trying to fulfil my unreasonable request and sarcastically inserted a prancing unicorn into the photo.

I couldn’t really blame her, because the i20 is, after all, the vanilla ice cream of the automotive world. It’s never going to stir the emotions the same way a supercar does, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a very good car.

Hyundai recently breathed some life into its bowl of vanilla ice cream by squeezing some chocolate sauce on top. Gordon Ramsey would be proud.

This chocolate sauce comes in the form of an all-new 1.4-litre turbocharged diesel engine. It delivers 66kW and 220Nm of torque. Hyundai claims a combined fuel-consumption figure of 5 litres/100km. This engine is also able to cope with the dirty slush we in South Africa call 500ppm diesel.

In Jozi, the i20 felt lethargic at first. The initial turbo lag is somewhat annoying, but once you break through the barrier it performs very nicely. The 220Nm makes it a suitable companion on the highway as well, as it never struggled to maintain a constant 120km/h.

I was somewhat disappointed in the fuel-consumption figures it returned during its time with us. At first it was averaging around 7 litres/100km, but a change in driving habits soon brought this down to levels acceptable compared to the claimed figures given by Hyundai. I suspect it will come down even further once the engine is properly run in.

The rest of the car is pretty much traditional Hyundai. The six-speed manual transmission is smooth and the steering is responsive enough to zip in and out of heavy rush-hour traffic. Noise and harshness levels are kept to a bare minimum, making the i20 a relaxing car to live with. Thanks to a host of active and passive safety features, it’s safe as well.

I also like the numerous standard features on this model. Hyundai has never been scared to treat their customers to a fully laden vehicle. The list includes Bluetooth connectivity, rear park assist, an audio system with USB and iPod connection and audio/phone controls on the steering wheel. An options list? What’s that?

What I love most is the fact that this specific i20 gives the ridiculous emissions tax the proverbial middle finger. Its 110g/km emissions figure ensures that no emissions tax will be levied against you. It’s a small victory to the overtaxed motorist, but a victory nonetheless.

The new i20 1.4 CRDi Glide comes standard with a 5-year/150 000km warranty and 3-year/60 000km service plan. Retailing at R195 900, it can still be considered a bargain compared to most of its main rivals. It may not be the most interesting car around, but it remains one of my favourites. Just like vanilla ice cream.


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