Road test: Hyundai i20
A small car ticks a lot of boxes
When Hyundai announced it had launched the all-new i20 in 2020 it emphasised its dynamic sportiness and technological advances over the previous model.
Lower, wider and longer and with a hybrid petrol engine it ticks a lot of boxes for style, comfort and good looks and is a much better prospect all-round.
Rear spoiler and shark’s fin antennae, sharp creases and jutting out angles belie its small-car status and diminutive, frugal engine.
It is easily up there with some of the best small cars on the road at the moment.
Choosing how to power your i20 is not a particularly difficult job - there’s only one engine. An efficient one-litre 99bhp mild hybrid. The small electric motor and battery work away in the background to boost performance and economy - you’ll never know they are there.
As with most, if not all, three-cylinder engines, there is a noticeable hum but it never really intrudes into the cabin and is not unpleasant.
The i20 pulls well enough and with its sprint to 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds we found it coped well in the city and also on faster A roads and motorway driving.
The suspension is firm which makes for good handling and very little body roll around corners. This doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable though - unless you are on a particularly badly surfaced road when you might feel a few jolts.
The i20 comes as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox with an optional seven-speed dual-clutch available if required.
Where choices have to be made is in which of the five trim levels to opt for. All are very well equipped, starting with the £16,500 Element with LED daytime running lights, 16-inch alloys air conditioning, eight-inch touchscreen and smartphone connectivity.
It also has a leather-wrapped gear knob and steering wheel and though the fit and finish of the dashboard are not the plushest in the segment they are durable and should be easy to keep clean. We liked the fact that the majority of functions can be accessed with switches and knobs rather than the touchscreen.
All models come with rear parking sensors and even a rear-view camera which is pretty impressive. To be fair though, you may not need to use them much of the time as visibility is pretty good in all directions.
We drove the mid-range Premium which bumped up the alloys to 17-inch LED lights, has automatic wipers and dimming rearview mirror, climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel and a 10.25inch touchscreen centre console with satellite navigation.
Interior space has been maximised and it never feels like a particularly small car when you’re driving or being carried as a passenger.
Even those over six-foot tall should be able to get comfy and there are plenty of storage places dotted around the cabin.
Boot space, often a problem in this class is quite roomy offering 352 litres. It has a versatile height adjustable floor which cleverly levels out the floor when the rear seats are folded down as well as providing a convenient hiding space for bits and pieces of kit.
Engine: 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, petrol hybrid
Transmission: six-speed manual
Top speed: 117mph
0-62mph: 10.4 seconds
CO 2emissions: 115g/km