- Low running costs
- Easy to drive
- Spacious cabin
- Standard equipment
- Not overly efficient
- Sedate pace
- No air-conditioning on basic S models
Just like Aldi or Lidl, Hyundai has found itself moving from a left-field value-led offering to a genuine mainstream option with quality products in recent years, and no where is this more evident than with its small cars – like the new Hyundai i20 here. It’s the last of an all-new line-up that means the Korean firm has renewed every single model in its portfolio in the last five years, and promises to take the fight directly to the Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia and Vauxhall Corsa.
Wide engine range
There are three petrol engines and two diesels to choose from (for now – a new three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol with either 98- or 118bhp joins the range in 2015), with either five- and six speed manual gearboxes or a four-speed automatic to choose from. Economy ranges from 42.2mpg (1.4-litre 98bhp automatic) to a heady 88.3mpg (eco-special S Blue model with 1.1-litre three-cylinder diesel), though only the latter model comes with stop/start.
CO2 emissions are a little disappointing because of this; the S Blue manages a credible 84g/km but the likely best-selling 82bhp 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol pumps out 119g/km, which compared to direct rivals is on the disappointing side. The range is engineered to accept stop/start though, so it’s possible this may feature on more models along the line.
Multiple Trim choices
Entry to i20 ownership starts at around £10,700 for the 1.2-litre (74bhp) S model, and currently tops out at approximately £16,725 for the 88bhp 1.4-litre CRDi diesel in Premium SE guise. All come well-equipped from the off though, with six airbags, adjustable driver’s seat, hill-start assist, height and reach adjustable steering column, daytime running lights, electric front windows and body coloured exterior details as standard.
Move through S Air (adding air conditioning), S Blue (eco-special with low rolling resistance rubber and stop/start) to SE and you add such highlights as 16-inch alloy wheels, extra speakers for the stereo, Bluetooth with voice control, Cruise control, rear electric windows, parking sensors and a leather steering wheel. It’s the sweet spot of the entire range.
If you need climate control, LED daytime running lights or the smartphone docking station, the Premium model should be the object of your desire while heated seats and a heated steering wheel are found on the Premium SE.
Easy to drive
This is no Ford Fiesta rival when it comes to on-road behaviour; it lacks the taut responses and upper-level of feedback offered by the Ford. But that’s not what buyers in this segment most often desire, and the i20 is a comfortable, relaxing car to drive. It’s damning slightly with faint praise but this car feels entirely unremarkable on the move, thanks to light controls and soft supple suspension, but that’s actually the mainstay of its appeal.
The whole ownership experience should back that feeling up too, thanks to Hyundai’s famous five-year unlimited mileage warranty and fixed price servicing costs also. As a value proposition it’s hard to beat in this respect.
Only a slightly ponderous pace lets the range down, though the new 1.0-litre engine due in 2015 should redress that balance thanks to a promised 118bhp and 172Nm of torque. The cabin feels like it’s constructed from quality materials while rivals should rightfully be worried about the amount of space on offer across the rear bench and in the boot behind.
The Parkers Verdict
A practical, comfortable, easy-to-live-with proposition that takes its fight directly to mainstream choices, while still offering incredible value makes it a strong contender for your cash.
Read the rest of the Parkers Hyundai i20 review to find out if it can emulate the German supermarkets and triumph at the top of its segment.