Hyundai i20 Comfort 1.4-litre CRDi 3dr
Chromed grille and bold lights mark out i20
- Excellent value for money
- Impressive standard specification
- Capable driving performance
- Five-year warranty is a real plus for private buyers
- Styling is tidy but unremarkable
- No six-speed manual available
- High power diesel limited to highest spec model
- Seat doesn't return to original position in three door model
The transformation of Hyundai from a bit-part player to a serious contender in the UK market is complete, and at the heart of its great strides has been the big improvement in the product range. In the middle of its 'i' range of cars comes the i20, a high-value entrant into the supermini segment.
Sticking to a trusted formula for producing a successful and attractive small car, the i20 demonstrates just how far the Korean manufacturer has come. The i20 is a simple but appealing design, with a bold grille and large headlights to draw in the eyes. It has a strong shoulder line running the length of the car and into the rear lights, giving it a contemporary feel. It could easily have come from any European or Asian manufacturer, which is high praise indeed.
Under the skin the i20 applies the trusted mechanical layout, with a choice of petrol or diesel engines driving the front wheels, either through a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. With the typical McPherson struts at the front and a torsion bar set up at the rear, the i20 can match the ride and handling standards offered by much of the opposition.
The i20 also comes in three and five-door guises, the former being a format often chosen by younger buyers at which the i20 is clearly aimed. Recent changes have also improved the specification still further: all models now have ESP as standard, a rarity at this price point and something which adds greatly to its showroom appeal.
All models benefit from standard air conditioning, remote central locking, a good quality sound system with remote display and auxiliary socket, plus electric windows and a passenger airbag with a deactivation switch, many of which are cost options on rival cars.
Our verdict on the Hyundai i20 Comfort 1.4-litre CRDi 3dr
The i20 is perfectly capable up standing up to the competition in terms of quality, refinement, driving pleasure and practicality, and deserves consideration on those points alone. Add in the remarkable value for money and excellent specification and the i20 makes a compelling case for itself.
Running costs for the i20 should be very low indeed. Insurance groups are at the lowest end of the scale and fuel economy from either petrol or diesel versions is very good indeed.
Space and practicality
Considering its compact dimensions the i20 offers good interior space. Front seat occupants have plenty of head and legroom and, although rear seat legroom is largely dependent on the dimensions of those sat in the front, the i20 is certainly competitive. There are a sprinkling of storage areas and cup holders in the cabin and boot space is also good for the class.
Controls and display
The layout of the i20 is simplicity itself, with the major controls instantly understandable and nothing to confuse the driver or require reference to the handbook. The display mounted just below the windscreen offers both the trip computer and audio information, and it is easy to read in that location as well as leaving the main dashboard less cluttered as a result.
The i20 makes a good fist of offering decent comfort levels for all occupants with decent on-road refinement and low noise levels. The front seats offer decent support although some shapes may find them slightly lacking in comfort at times. The steering wheel is pleasing to hold, with leather trim on the top model.
All i20 models have remote central locking and an engine immobiliser to ensure security, although an alarm system is not available.
The i20 can rightly claim to be one of the safest cars in the class thanks to the comprehensive list of safety equipment. All models have six airbags, active head restraints, ABS and ESP as standard, something which almost no rival can claim. Hyundai also claims the i20 has a very strong passenger cell and should offer good protection should the worst happen.
Although the i20 has a modest 74bhp at its disposal, the useful 162lb.ft of torque means it can accelerate with ease at most road speeds. Motorways present no problem either, with decent power available when required. Piloting the i20 requires very little effort, with good steering and responsive brakes. The gearshift is a little loose at times, but even an inexperienced driver should find no problems. Push a little harder and the i20 is a willing companion, although it is best suited to normal driving styles.
Family car appeal
In three-door form the i20 is lacking the true practicality to make it as a family car, even though it has enough rear space to swallow at least one child seat.
First car appeal
The i20 would make an ideal first car, as it combines a high specification, good value, low running costs and the bonus of ESP. It may not have the image that younger drivers would wish for, but on all other counts it is an excellent choice.
Quality and image
Usually this is an area where non-European brands tend to struggle, but this is not the case with the i20. The standard of fit and finish throughout is very good, and certainly sufficient to satisfy demanding buyers. The i20 does have something of an image issue, but rising popularity can only help in this respect.
The i20 in three-door form is an easy car to get into for the front seat passengers particularly thanks to the wide opening doors. Getting into the back requires little more than a lift of the handle and a push of the front seat, although the seat does not automatically return to its original position, which is an annoyance for the driver. The boot is easily accessible, with a remote unlock function on the key fob.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
All i20 models have a radio/CD unit with MP3 compatibility and an auxiliary socket, while Comfort and Style models add iPod connection, steering wheel controls and an extra pair of speakers. Both systems work very well, delivering more than sufficient sound quality and performance and easy integration with an MP3 player.
Colours and trim
The i20 like most small cars looks good in bright colours, although more sober silver and black shades also complement its discreet shape. On the inside the mid-level Comfort model has its interior livened up with the addition of coloured fabric panels in red or blue, which is a welcome fillip.
The i20 has all the ease of parking that buyers will expect thanks to its compact exterior dimensions and steering that is finger-light at parking speeds. All round vision is good too, although parking sensors can be fitted by a dealer.
Emergency tyre repair kit as standard with option of full size spare.
Petrol engine options - 1.2-litre (77bhp); 1.4-litre (99bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.4-litre (74bhp and 89bhp). Transmission options: Five-speed manual fitted to all models, four-speed automatic available on 1.4-litre petrol. Trim levels: Classic, Comfort and Style, high output diesel only available in Style trim, smallest petrol not available in Style trim.
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