Review: Hyundai i20
HYUNDAI'S i20 is a supermini package that very firmly appeals to the head rather than the heart. But in facelifted first-generation form, it's at least a little easier to make a sensible decision to buy one, thanks to more appealing styling inside and out. There are even more frugal engines on offer and the same value pricing and long warranty.
The variant we tried was powered by the 1.2-litre petrol engine that most i20 customers choose, good for 84bhp. That power output is reached at a heady 6,000rpm, but it's no great hardship to have to row the car along using all of the engine's revs like this. Do so, and you'll find this Hyundai to be reasonably rapid and light on its feet. The 12.7-second 0-to-60mph figure is slightly quicker than a comparable Ford Fiesta 1.25, with the 119Nm of pulling power enough to catapult you nearly a second quicker between 40-60mph in fourth than you'd manage in a more powerful Fiesta petrol 1.4.
The i20's top spec petrol engine, a 99bhp 1.4-litre unit, doesn't feel that much quicker than the 1.2, though it does have the advantage that it can be specified with a four-speed auto transmission. Quite rightly, most potential urban buyers will be more interested in the six-speed manual CRDi diesel options, either a hugely economical three-cylinder 1.1-litre variant that takes nearly 16 seconds to reach 60 or a more satisfying 89bhp 1.4-litre diesel that's more than two seconds faster and makes a surprisingly competent motorway car.
The most noticeable styling addition to this revised first-generation i20 is the hexagonal front grille that marks out all the Korean brand's most recent designs, while to complement it there are also more rounded front wings and a re-shaped bonnet. The headlights, fog light clusters and daytime running lights are also a good deal more assertive, while at the back the i20 gets a redesigned rear bumper and tail lights.
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The basics haven't changed but a bit more personality has been added, in part by a smarter cabin, stronger equipment levels and lower running costs. Pricing has crept up but this Hyundai remains one of the value leaders in the supermini segment.
There are trendier, higher-tech rivals, but if you can find a car in this class that makes more sense when you add together all the attributes families look for in a supermini, you'll be doing very well.
Visit Beechdale Hyundai in Derby (DE1 4SZ) or call 01332 372555.