Hyundai launched the i20 as a replacement for the unloved Getz supermini in 2009. From the outset, it was clear this model was aimed at those who saw their car as little more than transport from A to B. But just because it’s not the most exciting choice doesn’t make the i20 a poor buy. With its Vauxhall Corsa-like styling and keen pricing, the car has been a success for Hyundai in the UK, with 57,000 sold so far.
The five-door i20 reached UK showrooms in January 2009; a three-door came three months later. Initially there were 1.2 or 1.4-litre petrol engines (the latter with a four-speed auto option), as well as a 1.4 CRDi diesel in either 74bhp or 89bhp forms.
By summer 2010, a 76mpg, 99g/km 1.4 CRDi Blue eco edition had debuted; its arrival coincided with a cut in CO2 emissions for all engines, plus the addition of standard Bluetooth on every car bar the Classic. A May 2012 facelift brought a fresh interior, updated exterior styling and a new 1.1-litre diesel option, promising 88mpg and 84g/km of CO2.
The Ford Fiesta is the most obvious rival, as it’s so widely available, such fun to drive and offers a massive choice of models. The same is true of the Vauxhall Corsa and, while it’s shaded dynamically by the Fiesta, it’s good value for money and surprisingly spacious.
The Kia Rio and Toyota Yaris put reliability ahead of driving fun, although both score with strong practicality. We’d also recommend that you take a look at the Skoda Fabia, which owners rate highly for its low running costs and usability. The brand’s dealers also have a fine reputation for customer service.