Hyundai i20 road test
by Stephen Walker
15th May, 2011
Road Tests >
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.
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