This is the next Hyundai i20, spied ahead of its debut in autumn 2014. Despite the fact that the i20 was facelifted in 2012, an all-new model in the competitive B-segment is seen as essential for Hyundai’s plans to grow its European market share from 3.5 per cent today, to five per cent by 2020.
Just as the latest i10 has done, the all-new i20 will grow in size when compared to its predecessor, allowing extra room in the cabin, plus space for a wheelbase that's longer than today's 2,525mm to give stable handling.
The design will follow the look of the latest i10, with swept-back headlights, fewer creases along the flanks and a concave curve to the tailgate. The car may also feature some influence from new Hyundai design chief Peter Schreyer – a concept showing the new direction the firm’s design will take, called the Intrado, will debut at the Geneva Motor Show next year.
The new i20 is expected to be the first car to use the new N performance badge, which will be used on all hot Hyundais.
The N badge debuted on the firm’s new WRC challenger, which is based on the current i20, and the N models will be developed by the firm’s motorsport arm, based in Alzenau, Germany. A new version of the rally car will be worked on over the course of next year, too, to compliment the forthcoming road car.
To tie-in with the WRC effort, the hot i20 road car is likely to use a 1.6-litre turbo engine, making it a rival for the Ford Fiesta ST.
The i20 test car was spied testing in southern Europe, and is being developed purely with the European market in mind.
Hyundai makes a point of emphasising its commitment to European R&D and manufacturing – its R&D centres are based in Frankfurt and the Nurburgring, and the car is likely to be built at Hyundai’s factory in Turkey.
From 2014, 90 per cent of Hyundais built in Europe will be sold in Europe, with the firm hoping to sell 100,000 B-segment cars per year here. The new i20 is one of 22 new cars and derivatives Hyundai will launch in the next four years, under its Product Momentum 2017 initiative.