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Hyundai i20

Motoring Review

Hyundai introduce the newer, more attractive i20

The i20 is Hyundai’s answer to the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Honda Jazz and Opel Corsa (which is getting replaced very soon). The new i20 is a super mini aimed straight at the main stream 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?

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 features 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 coupe 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 45 mm longer (now 2 570 mm) than the outgoing model. The new i20 is also wider than before, the width has increased by 24 mm (overall 1 734 mm) making it one of the widest cars in its class.

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.

It’s not a bad place to be, it’s 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 is a functional interior but I just found it to be a tad bit boring. It’s very, um, German in its design; I guess that’s what the designers were going for. There is quite a lot of space for a small car. The boot will easily swallow up 294 litres with the rear seats upright. The do feature the 60/40 split which means that you can add even more things if you need to. Rear legroom is adequate and the seats are comfortable. They are only offered with a two-tone design consisting of dark material around the edges and light grey for the inner part of the seat.

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. .

Performance is adequate but nothing to rave about. Hyundai are offering a 1.2l Motion and 1.4l Fluid model. The 1.2l Motion, which is the entry level model, is only available with a 5-speed manual whereas the 1.4l Fluid is offered with a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic. These little engines are not aided by forced induction like the new VW POLO or Ford Fiesta EcoBoost. Thus the 1.2 has to deal with 61kW maximum torque of 115Nm. The 1.4 Fluid manual and automatic derivatives deliver 74kW and 133Nm of torque. Unfortunately this means that you have to really work the gearbox if you want to get going. We just drove the 1.4 manual on launch and while it was ok in the city, out on the open road with big hills and overtaking situations the little engine struggles somewhat.

The new i20 looks 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 is ample space inside. 

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