Features: 80 / 100
Look/Design: 75 / 100
Performance: 70 / 100
Safety: 85 / 100
The i20 took over the reins from the Getz a few years ago. The initial i20 was a huge step up from the Getz, yet the consensus from most reviewers was that it was still too unrefined. The newest iteration has addressed most of the critique aimed at its predecessor. It’s undeniable that the Hyundai i20 is a sales success, as the numbers of these models keep multiplying on our roads.
The new iteration of the i20 is much smoother and refined than its predecessor and Hyundai has done a good job in updating and refining it in the process. By just looking at the exterior you can see that it is more refined than the previous generation. The exterior has benefited from Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture design language, with lines being much more defined, yet looking more flowing and liquid. The i20 is definitely a good looking car.
It also has greatly benefited from interior upgrades as well, with a much sleeker interior. The materials feel much better quality. The convenience features have all gotten an upgrade as well, with the most modern technologies being deployed for the entertainment systems. Bluetooth and USB connections come standard and all, but the 1.2l model, have steering wheel controls. The in-dash screens and facia interfaces look stylish and modern. They fit well with the character of the car.
The i20 is not just comfortable, it’s also very safe. All models are fitted with ABS with EBD, front and rear crumple zones, high tensile steel side-impact protection beams and ultra-high tensile steel in the body structure. The Motion and Fluid models all get dual front airbags, and the Glide models get 6 airbags each. The airbags work together with the seatbelts and a pre-tensioning system. As you’d expect, the i20 scores a 5-star rating in the Euro-NCAP tests.
The diesel variant is a very nice (and somewhat overdue) touch by Hyundai. With the increasing amount of people conscious about the environment and better fuel consumption, diesel cars are getting more and more popular. The diesel model gets the Glide treatment, meaning it is fitted with all the bells and whistles Hyundai has up its sleeve for the i20. Hyundai is aiming it at the premium market, and it’s clear to see in the spec list. Pricing puts it just below its two main competitors, the Fiesta and the Polo.
Since I had the diesel variant, my handling and performance assessment is based on this model alone. With 66kW on tap, the diesel is no robot to robot sprinter. The huge amount of torque makes this a very comfortable car to drive longer distances. With 220Nm, the 6th gear makes a lot of sense and the i20 finally has some more power to work with. At idle the engine sounds a bit gruff, and there is definite turbo lag below 1500rpm. But once you get going and you can keep the i20 in its power-band, the ride becomes smooth and comfortable. The suspension setup leans more to comfort than to sporty. This also means that the i20 soaks up road impurities very well. Body roll is also well controlled, and this means that you can hustle with the diesel model without feeling out of control. The one negative though is the fuel consumption. Hyundai claims 5.0l/100km, which already isn’t class leading in any way, but real world figures are way worse. In fact, I got around 7.0l/100km. The fuel consumption has also been touched upon by other publications. Although 7.0l/100km isn’t terrible, you’d expect it to be much closer to the claimed 5.0l/100km, especially considering that this is a 1.4l diesel engine. That figure makes it thirstier than many 2l diesel models.
Overall, the i20 1.4l diesel model is a very complete package. The fuel consumption is only real criticism you can aim at the car. It does the rest very well. Considering the price point and the included features, this model is a better value for money proposition than both the Fiesta and Polo. If you are looking for a kitted out diesel model with below R200k, there is simply nothing that can beat the i20. This is a car definitely worth considering when going car hunting again.