Hyundai ix20 Active 1.4 CRDi
ix20 features Hyundai Fluidic Design
- Hugely spacious and versatile interior
- Very economical in diesel form
- High-rise driving position is a great benefit
- Impressive quality of ride
- Limited engine options
- Chunky A-pillar restricts visibility
- Diesel engine noisy at low speeds
- Gear choice crucial as torque seems limited
Hyundai's range of vehicles is developing at a rapid pace, and the latest new addition is a compact MPV called the ix20. Aiming to offer a roomy interior with small hatchback exterior proportions, it's the second model to feature Hyundai's 'Fluidic' design.
Given that the previous new model to arrive from Korean manufacturer Hyundai was the SUV crossover ix35, car-buyers could be forgiven for thinking the ix20 might be some kind of compact SUV model. In fact, the ix20 is a compact MPV model - the 'x' denoting a crossover model rather than any kind of off-road ambition.
Similar in footprint size to the compact hatchback i20, although its platform is actually a combination of that car and the larger i30 model, the ix20 features a tall and spacious body designed to offer maximum accommodation in as small a package as possible. Interior flexibility is maximised with rear seats that can slide forwards and backwards as well as fold flat and a large boot door.
The ix20 boasts a remarkably simple engine range comprising 1.4-litre petrol and diesel engines both producing 89bhp and both featuring Intelligent Stop and Go or ISG to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. A 1.6-litre petrol model is available with an automatic transmission, while the smaller petrol and diesel models use five and six-speed manual transmissions respectively.
As is quickly becoming the norm with new Hyundai models, strong equipment provision across the three-trim level line-up is intended to boost value for money. The entry-level Classic model does not feature the same level of detailing to the exterior as the Active and Style models but benefits from front electric windows, iPod integration and air-con inside, along with the fuel saving ISG system. Progressing through the range, Bluetooth integration, alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof that can be opened like a traditional system are present.
Our verdict on the Hyundai ix20 Active 1.4 CRDi
The ix20 is a model strongly focussed on a specific sector and is well equipped to compete. Interior space, practicality and versatility combine well with the attractive exterior to create a sophisticated package with sensible, if not exhilarating, engine options. The ISG system may prove a real benefit as the ix20's target audience means it's likely to spend considerable amounts of time performing suburban duties. An easy nature on the road is the icing on the cake.
Traditionally offering cost effective purchase prices, the ix20 also benefits from Hyundai's excellent warranty. Fuel consumption in the diesel engine model is impressively low and, as a result, CO2 related tax costs are attractive, too. The addition of stop-start technology as standard is a real bonus for a vehicle in this class and should make the ix20 one of the cheapest vehicles to run in its class.
Space and practicality
Interior space is the ix20's trump card and the rear is capable of accepting large loads with ease. The three rear seats slide forwards and backwards to sacrifice leg room for luggage space and vice-versa. They also fold flat to provide a huge load bay. Additional space can be found beneath the boot floor. Storage in the front is adequate, with cubby holes and a decent sized glovebox on offer. As a practical and versatile vehicle the ix20 does a great job.
Controls and display
A stylish instrument binnacle and centre console layout greet the driver and, with blue backlighting and crisp dials, are easy to read. The control layout is traditional and unfussy with large, clear buttons and easy to operate knobs. The steering wheel is height and reach adjustable and the gear lever perfectly placed for ease of use.
Interior space is the biggest benefit in terms of comfort, but the ix20 also offers an absorbent ride that's well tailored to UK roads. Air-conditioning is standard regardless of trim level. The seats are supportive and firm, but not particularly plush. They're very comfortable none-the-less. Electric windows and heated door mirrors are standard in Active trim. The diesel unit is noisier at lower speeds, however.
A remote control alarm with immobiliser and deadlocks help keep the ix20 secure when unattended. On the move, childproof rear door locks and speed sensitive door locking are a bonus.
The ix20 is well equipped in the safety department with active front head restraints, ABS and EBD, ESP, front Seatbelt pre-tensioners, front, front side and full length curtain airbags and the additional benefits of hill-hold assist. Isofix points are resent in the outer two rear seats, for easy use of child seats.
With a limited range of small capacity engines there's only meagre performance available from the ix20 line-up, but that does not prevent the compact MPV being pleasant to drive. The diesel engined model provides modest performance but copes well with motorway speed cruising. Gear choice is crucial over more demanding B-roads but a gear shift indicator helps to this end. The driving position is excellent with a perfectly placed gear lever and surprisingly responsive steering.
Family car appeal
Thanks to its interior space, practicality and affordable running costs the ix20 is sure to be a hit with families. Its modern styling is another important factor in a segment that boasts some stylish options.
First car appeal
Although the Hyundai ix20 is a little larger than most first time car buyers may require, it's still an easy car to drive and live with thanks to compact proportions and sensible performance. The standard i20 hatchback may be a more traditional choice and the ix20 may turn younger drivers off as it's bound to be quickly adopted by more mature car owners, but there's little to stop young drivers opting for the more spacious ix20.
Quality and image
Although still very much a volume car maker, there's little poor quality to be found inside or outside modern Hyundai products including the ix20. Build is solid and interior plastics are well finished and easy on the eye, if a little hard to the touch in places. Hyundai's profile has risen greatly since the scrappage incentive and its cars are becoming more widely accepted as serious mainstream rivals.
The ix20's tall body provides easy access for front and rear passengers and elderly drivers and passengers will find the seat height ideal for trouble-free entry. The boot door is of a good size and makes retrieving items a piece of cake.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
The ix20 features a six-speaker sound system that is adequate in terms of sound quality but, in Active trim level, benefits greatly from Bluetooth telephone integration and steering-wheel mounted audio controls. The ability to control an iPod using the stereo interface is standard across the range.
Colours and trim
The ix20's bold exterior styling rewards opting for the bolder shades available including metallic blues and solid black or white. The traditional silvers fail to do it justice. The entry level Classic model does not benefit from the same exterior detailing as the mid-range Active or top spec style model. With a highly stylised grille, alloy wheels, body-coloured handles and mirrors and some piano black plastic trim inside, the Active model feels considerably more upmarket.
The ix20's raised driving position lends itself beautifully to ease of parking and, although narrowing towards the rear, the glasshouse is large and offers good visibility with the exception of slightly intrusive A-pillars. The compact dimensions make it simple to place, steering is suitably light for town driving and manoeuvres and, in Active trim, rear parking sensors are standard.
Space saver spare fitted as standard.
Petrol engine options - 1.4-litre (89bhp); 1.6-litre (123bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.4-litre (89bhp). Transmission options: five-speed manual gearbox (1.4-litre petrol), six-speed manual gearbox (1.4-litre diesel), four-speed automatic gearbox (1.6-litre petrol). Trim levels: Classic, Active, Style.
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