Hyundai i20 Active new car review – with one strange placement that left us scratching our head
Hyundai describes its i20 as ‘a small family hatchback with real substance’ and while it is up against very strong competition, its hard to argue with that advertising claim.
Rivals include Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Vauxhall Corsa – all big sellers – yet spec for spec the i20 is cheaper and comes with a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty the others cannot match.
Hyundai no longer viewed as cheap and cheerful
A decade ago, Hyundai cars were perceived as rather cheap and cheerful – but not any more. The Korean brand has become much more mainstream thanks to innovative design, outstanding build quality and generous levels of equipment.
The latest Hyundai i20 underlines all this – it’s a smart, sophisticated family hatch with stand-out styling and a spacious interior. Longer, lower and wider than previous models thanks to an all-new platform, the car offers more space for occupants and luggage.
With petrol and diesel engines available, i20 prices start at £9,995. My recent test model was an upper-spec Active variant with the three-cylinder 1.0 litre turbo petrol engine and costing £15,775.
This is a remarkably good small engine which still offers 99 hp and surprisingly nippy peformance. The 0-60 mph time is 10.7 seconds, top speed 116 mph. And for a turbo-power model, the combined fuel economy figure is impressive at 62.8 mpg.
With longer wheelbase and wider track, the i20 is very composed, feeling stable and secure even if pushed hard. The steering is well-weighted for precise feedback and the slick gearshift helps the feeling of complete driver control. Ride quality can be a little bumpy on rutted roads, but overall the i20 is very comfortable.
The exterior styling, with dipping bonnet and wide front grille, help give a classy look with a sporting edge, and visual image is important in a sector where many models look similar. In the cabin, there is chic look and quality trim materials. The facia is well-laid out for ease of use and my only quibble is with the smart-phone holder which sits on top of the dashboard and just looks odd.
Rear seat accommodation is very good, with plenty of leg, shoulder and head room. The 326 litre boot is one of the biggest in the sector, and the rear seats drop flat to give 1,042 litres of load space.
Standard kit on the test model included 17-inch alloys, roof rails, skid-plates, rear spoiler, variable boot floor, air-con, daytime running lights, privacy glass, cruise control, DAB radio/CD/USB/Aux, 4 power windows, front side and curtain airbags, hill-start assist, and tyre-pressure monitoring,
All that, plus good driving dynamics and the 5-year warranty make the i20 hard to beat in its class.
FOR: Good driving dynamics, outstanding warranty.
AGAINST: Oddly placed smart-phone holder.