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Hyundai i20 road test

by Stephen Walker

15th May, 2011

Home > Road Tests > Hyundai

There was a time when Hyundai cars were sold on the basis of price alone. No other factors came into the equation, as it were. However, cars such as the little i20 make the task of not only considering Hyundai a viable proposition but, in fact, a necessity. That's because this little one has many favourable aspects.

The Hyundai i20 competes in the highly competitive "Light Car" class alongside the Korean brand's other little one, the long established Getz. At sometime in the not too distant future the i20 will be Hyundai's sole competitor in this class as the Getz is coming to the end of its showroom 'career'.

The test car, on this occasion, is the Hyundai i20 Active 5-door hatchback fitted with the optional automatic transmission (and metallic paint). Active is the base model, fitting into the i20 line-up below the Elite and Premium models.

At 3,940 mm long and 1,710 mm wide, the Hyundai i20 is certainly little. But it is bigger than it looks, as you are certainly comfortable in the front seat with no apparent squeeze for average sized adults. It weighs in at 1,145 kg (approximately).

One of the best attributes of the little i20 is the wide opening doors. Entry and egress to/from the front seats is excellent. This is bound to appeal to folks who have agility concerns.

Additionally, the little front-wheel drive car's manoeuvrability is pleasing. It makes getting around the city and suburbs quite easy. Of course, this is the environment that best suits the i20. Our test was conducted solely in the suburbs where we covered 183 kilometres.

The power-operated windows "glide" all the down into the doors (5 door models) and the driver's window has an auto up feature. The doors lock automatically when you reach about 40 km/h (auto locking at about 15 km/h would be better in my opinion). Unlocking occurs when you open a door from the inside or upon turning off the ignition.

The i20 Active comes standard with a 1.4 litre 4-cylinder engine. Power is rated at 73.5 kW @ 5,500 rpm, whilst torque is 136 Nm @ 4,200 rpm.

Fuel consumption comes in at 6.4 litres per 100 kms on the often quoted combined cycle. Saving the planet can be easy with the i20 as CO2 emissions are rated at 152 grammes per kilometre (a good figure for a modern day car). The i20 'runs' on 91 RON regular unleaded petrol. A 45 litre fuel tank is fitted.

Safety aspects for the i20 Active included just two airbags when the model was introduced in 2010. However, all 2011 model i20s now have 6 airbags. Additionally, the i20 has Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control System (TCS). There is also Anti-skid Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). All i20 models have a 5 star ANCAP crash test rating, a worthy feature considering the dreadful news that a new-comer from China has only achieved a 3-star rating (this rating means you are going to be hurt bad in even a 60 km/h collision, but a 5-star rating is excellent).

Styling for the little i20 is trendy with the so-called "fluid design" quite evident. The design was undertaken by Hyundai's team in Russelsheim, Germany.

Being an entry level or lower priced car, the Hyundai i20 misses out on some modern day features that many folks will consider as essential such as cruise control and steering wheel mounted audio controls. Although common place, the lack of these features simply means you have to resort to the old-fashioned method of controlling the day-to-day functions of the i20. It's not meant to be a nostalgic effect, but it is a reminder that in the old days we always reached for the radio to change stations or volume. And, of course, in days gone by we always controlled the accelerator with the right foot.

But there are some good features included with the little i20. For example, it has a good-sized glove box (with a cooling feature), inward folding exterior rear-view mirrors and the steering wheel adjusts four-ways. It's my belief that all cars should have steering wheel adjustment for not only height, but also for reach. Connectivity issues (as we seem to call it - that is connectivity to portable 'devices') with the i20 are addressed admirably.

Prices for the Hyundai i20 Active 5 door hatchback with manual transmission commence at $16,490* (MLP*). Automatic transmission ($2,000) and metallic paint ($375) added to the price of the test car.

The Hyundai i20 is a conventional modern day hatch that has some great features that make it a very relevant choice for city based driving.


NOTE: * MLP (manufacturer's list price) excludes options, dealer delivery fees and the state/territory statutory charges. Additionally, all prices, fees, charges and specifications are always subject to change without notice.

More Hyundai News ..... here.

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