Perhaps Hyundai’s hottest ticket is its competitor in the cut-throat compact hatch part of the vehicle market. For 2012/13, the i20 gets a fresh look and an extra gear ratio. At the same time, Hyundai has dropped the 1,6-litre petrol engine from the line-up, leaving the 73 kW 1,4 as the only engine on offer. (But keep an eye out: Hyundai SA is looking at the possibility of bringing in a diesel.)
Cruising through the rolling hills of the Western Cape’s Swartland region brought out the good and the not so good in the i20. The little Hyundai’s ride refinement is a strong point and its smooth, willing 1,4 provides decent get up and go. Fuel economy was consistently good at around 6 litres/ 100 km. But is a sixth gear really justified? We don’t think so, at least in the 1,4. But that’s what you’ve got, anyway.
There are three derivatives the i20 Fluid available in either 6-speed manual or four-speed automatic and the i20 Glide only in 6-speed manual.
Front and rear bear evidence of Hyundai’s Euro-driven “fluidic sculpture” design language, including the now-standard hexagonal grille.
Overall, it’s a more sophisticated package than before, with upgraded finishes and more tech as the i20 aims upmarket. More soft-touch materials are used, and the shinier metallic accents used on the predecessor’s dash give way to piano black. It’s also a little longer – but that is only because of a bumper redesign and doesn’t benefit the interior.
Hyundai says it has focused on tuning out noise and vibration. That effort has included strengthening basic structures, tweaking engine and transmission support and enhancing noise reduction materials. They’ve removed the centre muffler, cutting down on weight and at the same time minimising exhaust boom.
Although it’s a supercompact, owners will expect the i20 to deliver safety that’s competitive with bigger cars. In addition to the usual impact-absorbing structure making extensive use of hightensile steel, the i20 offers front airbags (side and curtain airbags as well in the GLS derivative), 3-point inertia reel safety belts with pretensioners in front, and three 3-point inertia reel safety belts at the rear.
The i20 comes standard with Hyundai’s 5-year/150 000 km warranty and 3 year/60 000 km service plan.
Wallpapers > New on the Block (October 2012 issue)