The outgoing Hyundai i20 never really set itself as a front runner in the supermini market. Even though we were certainly aware of its presence, it was never in the limelight. Hyundai now hopes to alter that with this brand-new second generation i20.
The top-award-winning Korean automaker is known for selling reliable, affordable and functional cars. However, over the past few years, it has gradually renewed its range of models, adding a measure of sophistication and a flair for design.
The New Generation Hyundai i20 2015 has been put through a good makeover. So how does it stack up against its rivals such as the VW Polo and the popular Ford Fiesta? Will more space and a design restyling which has won it a major international design award make this supersized supermini stand out above the rest of its class? Let’s find out…
Lower, wider and longer than the predecessor, the brand-new i20 is characterised by a large grille, a long bonnet flowing downward, and pretty slim LED daytime running lights. The C-pillar is given a floating style to make it look less bulky and to lend it a coupe-like shape. Also, the supermini’s makeover is highlighted by an elegant design – something rather lacking in other conservatively styled competitors in the same class.
The sweeping roofline, the steep angle of the windscreen and the black pillars in the rear that give the roof a floating effect all contribute to a stylish and sporty feel. The entry-level S trim version doesn’t feature the alloy wheels and the fog-lamps that SE trim comes with, and if you want your hatchback to look much ritzier, upgrading to the Premium trim gives you super-slim headlamps.
The all-new Hyundai i20 supermini is actually a bigger car than challengers such as the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta, so unlike them, it can comfortably seat three adults in the back. All credit goes to the extra 45 mm added to the wheelbase. Moreover, the three-door Coupe is quite easy to get into, thanks to seats that both slide and flip forward.
Yes, the cheapest models of the car do feel less glamorous inside, but the mid-range SE and the top models feature leather finishes to the gear lever knob and steering wheel – and it does make a difference. The best part is that even the cheapest trim version comes with a five-door option, making it easy to get kids in and out of the back if you’ve got a young family.
At 326 litres, the boot space is large and far more impressive than rivals – you should be able to fit most strollers without having to take out a wheel, which we really like. In addition, there’s additional space beneath the floor, and the seats at the back fold almost flat allowing you to haul larger loads. A fairly high load lip does let it down a little but it is a small defect in otherwise one of the most functional cars in its segment.
With well laid-out and clear controls and high-quality, impressive materials, the latest supermini really feels more upmarket than many of its competitors. The seats at the front are pretty supportive and comfy, passengers at the back have sufficient space to sit in comfort, and there’s also a couple of ISOFIX attachment points for child seats – so handy to have in place when you’ve got youngsters.
The i20’s soft-touch dash is well organised. What’s more, it can be detailed with an impressive two-tone polished finish and there are a few tasteful upholstery choices available as well, if you want to breathe your own style into it. The top of the dash has a mount that snugly harnesses your smartphone, and lets you keep your eyes where they belong – on the road.
You get a matching splash of orange all over the interior if you go for the stand-out stylish coupe with Tangerine Orange paintwork.
On the road
The engine options have been carried over from the predecessor, with necessary efficiency tweaks to make all engines meet European emission standards.
There are five options to choose from: two diesel units and three petrols, with the 1.2-litre 84 PS most likely to be the pick of all engines. This four-cylinder unit outranks quite a few models in its class – for example, it is more efficient than a Vauxhall Corsa, delivering just about 55 mpg and producing round about 120g/km of CO2.
Having said that, this particular 1.2 litre 84 PS engine isn’t the most powerful or exciting, either – some serious rivals can challenge it. It does feel a little breathless right through the rev range, requiring high revs for overtakes and quick acceleration. This car accelerates from 0 to 60mph in just 13.1 seconds, while the VW Polo, for example, manages to shave off a few seconds from that with 10.8 seconds. With a regular five gears, the engine does feel a little rough sometimes at top speeds – you’ll have to go for a diesel unit if you want an extra gear.
The diesel options are worth looking at, with a 1.1-litre and a 1.4-litre unit available. The former cranks out a decent amount of torque for its size so it is punchy. It’s also the most economical model on offer, with CO2 emissions of 84g/km and economy of 88.3 mpg.
On the road, the i20 supermini is a very easy-going, refined car. It has been manufactured in Europe and it shows, with remarkable refinement and exceptional ride quality over rutted, potholed roads. Surprisingly, most diesel models are subdued and whisper-quiet, thanks to its extensive sound proofing features. And the comfortable driving experience doesn’t inhibit the i20’s superior handling – the body roll is not pronounced until you push it hard into a corner, plus there is more front-end grip. All key controls – gearshifter, pedals, and steering – feel effortlessly light and are right on the button. They make a great combination, that also suits this car for a relaxed longer drive.
The new Hyundai i20 is so practical that it makes several other cars from its class feel redundant – but it also manages to be super-stylish, its build quality is impressive, and the driving dynamics are excellent. The cherry on the top is Hyundai’s confident five-year unlimited mileage warranty that gives owners that all important peace-of-mind.
Those who want a classy supermini cannot go wrong with the Hyundai New Generation i20 2015: with prices starting under £10,000, you get a lot of top-quality car for your money. For more information on pricing, specs or finance options, get in touch with Perrys Hyundai now!