This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Hyundai i20 Hatchback review.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
  • Functional, rather than fashionable, cabin
  • Should be fairly hard-wearing over time
  • All post-2018 cars get a 7.0-inch screen

Despite this car’s design and engineering package, such is the family nature of Hyundai these days the cabin will feel instantly familiar to anyone driving another of the firm’s current products. Giveaways are the blue-lit instruments, USB and 12-volt power sockets at the base of the centre console and seemingly high-quality plastics surrounding switchgear that disappointingly quickly shows up greasy fingerprints.

It’s incredibly logical, if not particularly imaginatively, laid-out with sizable switchgear that operates with a reassuring feeling of solidity. Certainly there’s no questioning the quality of the materials used in that respect, and the dashboard and general front-cabin environment feels far more grown up than before too. Drivers lucky enough to be able to specify the Premium SE will likely enjoy the heated steering wheel come colder weather too.

Said leather steering wheel is filled with controls for the stereo, phone and - where fitted - the cruise control, making it easy to operate these items on the move with minimal distraction. If only the hide used to cover the rim didn’t feel so smooth and soft, a feature that often means the surface becomes shiny and cheaper looking as it wears with age and use.

As the world becomes more mobile and ever connected the docking station on top of the dash for your (compatible) smartphone is an excellent idea, allowing buyers to continue using their phone and any driving related apps such as sat-nav on the move while maintaining any battery charge. This was superseded in the 2018 facelift, where a 7.0-inch screen was fitted to all models, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Comfort

  • Ride quality soft and forgiving
  • Built for comfort rather than handling
  • Good range of front seat adjustment

The first element to strike you is just how quiet the Hyundai i20 is, with very little road roar, wind noise or engine clatter making its way into the cabin – even when fitted with the three-cylinder 1.1-litre diesel. Assuming you don’t extend the tiny triple to the top of its available rev-range, of course.

It’s certainly up there with most rivals when it comes to noise, and isn’t far away with its ride quality either. There’s no harshness to the suspension at all, gliding over most lumps and bumps of our admittedly mainly smooth Spanish test route on the international launch, and even cobbled streets didn’t reveal any surprises in the springing department. Back in the UK these findings are mirrored, though larger wheels do have an adverse effect on the ride.

Hyundai i20: comfortable seats

Wherever you sit in the new i20 you’re treated to a comfortable chair, and up front there’s plenty of adjustment too. That said the front seat’s backrest angle is altered via a lever rather than a more precise rotary control, but for those not having to constantly re-adjust for different drivers this won’t be an issue.

Quality has been improved here too, from the materials used surrounding the dashboard switchgear to the fabric, or faux leather, on the seats and it certainly looks smart rather than smart-price in there. Choose the right specification and the front chairs, and unusually for this sector the steering wheel, are heated at the touch of a button also.

An optional panoramic glass sunroof, which tilts and slides open unlike the fixed roofs of many rivals, floods the cabin with light and, should you wish, fresh air. All cars come with USB connectivity as standard too, which will keep the tech-savvy happy, and there’s an optional smartphone docking station which charges your phone, mounts it high on the dashboard and allows easy use of any navigation or other driving related apps. This was replaced during the 2018 facelift with a 7.0-inch screen.