This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Hyundai i20 Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Hyundai i20 performance is split between petrol and diesel engines.

Petrol engines

The most popular engine is the entry-level 1.2-litre petrol with 78bhp. Half of all the i20s on the road have this engine, which was newly developed for the model – and it’s easy to see why. It may not be especially quick from 0-62mph (taking 12.7 seconds) but it’s smooth and happy to be revved without becoming coarse.

The zesty nature means nipping in and out of traffic is easy while an average fuel economy of 54mpg is impressive. The original 1.2 was disappointing as it emitted 124g/km of CO2, when 120g/km or below would make it cheaper to tax. However, revisions to the i20- range in mid-2010 brought emissions down to 114g/km and boosted economy to 57.6mpg.

The other petrol is a 1.4-litre borrowed from the larger i30, but while it has more power, this is only noticeable at higher speeds. Around town it doesn’t offer any more pace than the 1.2-litre, however, it is the only engine available with an automatic gearbox.

Diesel engines

A 1.4-litre CRDi comes in two outputs of either 75bhp or 90bhp. Both versions are cheap to tax and are capable of 64mpg.

In July 2010 improvements were made to both the petrol and diesel engines. The two diesel options got lower emissions and better economy due to the changes. In 2012 Hyundai added a 73bhp 1.1-litre three-cylinder diesel engine to the i20 range. It has capable of completing the benchmark sprint in 15.7s and has a top speed of 99mph.

Parkers recommends

While the emissions and economy of the diesels have obvious appeal, the 1.2 petrol is still the best bet as it’s cheaper to buy, off-setting any slight economy loss.

Like the larger i30, the i20 drives well with a composed ride that soaks up bumps and potholes well, although at higher speeds it doesn’t feel as smooth as alternatives like the Vauxhall Corsa. It’s surprisingly good through corners though – the steering is well-weighted and offers fairly decent feel, while body roll isn’t excessive. Its low weight means the car feels nimble yet sure-footed.

The positive shifting five-speed gearbox and light clutch add to the good driving dynamics.