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Hyundai i20 or an over-the-top party?


YOU could do something amazing with R207 900; it is a lot of money. You could travel the world or, better yet, throw a spectacular party with a huge cake full of candles. You could have all your friends over and their friends, too; you could invite Robert, that annoying guy in the office who spits while he talks. You could even have strippers over and the metro cops as well. MTV will be there to film it and people will talk about your party for years to come. Or, you could be sensible and buy a small, practical car, one like the new Hyundai i20. I spent time with the i20 to see if it was better than strippers and cake.

First things first though… the i20 enters a segment that is dominated by the Volkswagen Polo and the Ford Fiesta. Hyundai has had to up its game with the i20 in order to compete with the two Europeans. Have they done it? Yes, I think they have.

The i20 sure does look good. It features a bold front aesthetic that now has 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. I really like the wraparound headlights and the LED light signatures at the front and rear. I particularly like the way in which the rear window wraps around the side of the car giving the impression that the roof is floating. Does it look better than its competitors? Well, it doesn’t look any worse; I mean when did you last stop to admire the beauty of a Polo?

The interior is really well put together and has all the luxury goodies that you need. The i20 is one of the best equipped cars in its class, you know? It does have a functional interior, but I just found it to be a tad boring. It’s very, umm… German in its design; I guess that’s what the designers were going for. It does have quite a lot of space and 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 a Bluetooth hands-free phone function and the ability to stream music over the sound system with Bluetooth from a cell phone or music player.

I was given the 1.4-litre Fluid to test and its little engine (74kW and 133Nm of torque) proved up to the task of dealing with big city life. It’s a comfortable drive and the car’s proportions make it ideal for everyday city commuting. However, with most of the i20’s competitors turning to turbo-charging, I can’t help but wonder why Hyundai hasn’t opted for forced induction? It might be reliability related but with a little forced induction the i20 would be more powerful and probably more economical, as well.

So is the i20 better than a R207 900 marry-making social gathering? Well, it’s very similar and a lot more sensible. All your friends can come along (not Robert though) and they will be entertained in comfort. Unfortunately, without a turbo, you’ll have to eliminate the strippers.

Article written by Justin Jacobs
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