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Hyundai i20 1.4 Sport: Self-assured and sporty


This business of anthropomorphising inanimate objects - in other words giving them human attributes - can be tiresome and trite at best.

All the same if the new Hyundai i20 Sport was a person, it'd surely be a youngster in his twenties with gel in his hair, maybe some earrings, and a self-assured, perhaps even cocky, walk.

And that's also probably close to the demographic that this hot version of Hyundai's worthy i20 is pitched at. Unlike the standard iteration of the Korean maker's hatch, a new and vastly superior version of which hit our market earlier last year, the Sport model is decidedly extroverted with distinctive aesthetic add ons. These include the likes of a body kit with side skirts, front and rear bumper trim finishes and a rear boot spoiler, as well as 17-inch alloys with low-profile tyres.

And it has the go to match - at least compared to its stablemates - with the 1.4-litre petrol engine that does duty in lesser models uprated from 74kW and 133Nm to 85kW and 160Nm. Power runs to the front wheels through a six-speed gearbox.

Of course, this makes it more a warm hatch than a hot one, but it's an engaging, swift little beast to pilot, and with stiffer springs and a lower ride height it's grippy, too. It also happens to make the appropriate noises, and because it's my 46th birthday as I write this, I wouldn't necessarily want the Sport's standard free-flow exhaust that makes "an audible announcement," as Hyundai terms it, and which serves to draw attention to the driver. But buyers of this car - and there will be plenty - who are 20 or so years younger will almost certainly revel in the brum-brum-brum acoustics delivered through an engorged tailpipe.

Of course, build quality is just what you'd expect from Hyundai, and equipment levels are good, including as they do:

  • automatic folding door mirrors
  • Bluetooth
  • Smartphone docking integration
  • ABS and EBD
  • Two airbags

Yours for R239,000 - which is a very modest surcharge of about R20,000 over the standard 1.4 Fluid model. And that includes Hyundai's famed five-year/150,000km warranty, and a three-year/60,000km service plan.



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