New Hyundai i20 Test Drive Review
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Hyundai admits previous i20 generations have been guided by value, but now it's the brand's intention to move more of its focus onto design.
Hyundai expects to attract a younger audience with this new i20, while the brand itself wants to be compared with VW and a Toyota. Kia is a bit funkier, and with Hyundai moving closer to a sub-premium-style offering that makes VW a more specific benchmark.
The i20 is a step up from the previous generation that dates from 2012, but it's still unlikely to get any supermini buyers' hearts racing when they see it in the showroom. That's because the front end is quite nondescript, sitting comfortable somewhere between a VW Polo and a Toyota Yaris, although the rear looks tidy and the black C-pillar adds a bit of premium flair.
The cabin is an improvement on before, with some softer-touch plastics, and the quality of the steering wheel and gear stick are a further move towards a premium product. And while there are some slightly lower-quality materials on the centre console buttons, it is functional and well built.
Hyundai has been quite bold with its infotainment system on the entry and SE trims, foregoing a touch screen altogether and opting for a smartphone dock on top of the dash. The reasoning is that in the supermini segment, customers are unwilling to fork out for expensive factory-fit satnavs, and according to the brand's own customer research, the bare functionality of a driver's own phone would suffice.
You can dock your phone to charge, connect your music via Bluetooth, and use your chosen satnav app. There is an optional seven-inch touch-screen available for drivers that prefer an inbuilt system.
A third of the expected 17,500 annual sales will go to fleets. The 1.2-litre petrol SE will be the most popular engine and trim combination across all volumes, and at 119g/km it's still suitable for some fleets too. There are also 106g/km 1.4 and 84g/km 1.1 diesels and both engines are perfectly adequate. The 1.2 in particular is extremely quiet with very little noise filtering through into the cabin.
A big plus point for the i20 is the amount of legroom in the back. There's ample room for a six-footer and there's a good amount of clearance for the head. The boot is also a decent size at 326 litres, trumping the Polo, Ford Fiesta and Yaris, none of which reach 300 litres.
While full running costs aren't available, the i20 is slightly more expensive per month in terms of BIK when compared with the Polo and Fiesta due to their lower CO2 levels. However, the vehicle is on level pegging with the Yaris and it could comfortably replace the Toyota on company car choice lists.
Model price range
BIK 20/40% per month
Boot space (min/max)
A further step towards premium but lacks personality