Full details and more pictures of the new Hyundai i20 have been revealed – and Auto Express has everything you need to know about a car that has the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta in its sights.
The first images were published recently, but now Hyundai has released more and given us the complete lowdown on the model that will be the star attraction on its stand at the Paris Motor Show in October.
And Hyundai is pinning its hopes on a blend of class-leading interior space, stylish design and hi-tech features to increase sales to 100,000 a year in Europe from 2015. (The current model has sold 400,000 since 2008).
In terms of styling, the i20, which is based on a new platform, clearly gets a more sophisticated look. The design is more intricate, with width-accentuating grilles, LED running lights and blackened ‘floating’ C-pillars that give the rear of the car an uncanny Citroen Picasso resemblance.
Penned by the team at Hyundai’s European Design Centre in Russelsheim, Germany, the i20 is 4,035mm long, 1,474mm high and 1,734mm wide, which makes it 40mm longer, 16mm lower and 24mm wider than before, giving it an obviously more assertive presence. A shorter rear overhang complements the more dynamic look.
The increase in space inside has been achieved by adding 45mm to the wheelbase, extending it to 2,570mm, while the body overall is a whopping 66mm longer than a Ford Fiesta, at 4,035mm.
The upshot of this supersized supermini is ample space for five adults, claims Hyundai, with front and rear legroom outstretching anything in the class. There’s plenty of room for luggage, too – boot capacity has increased by 31 litres against its predecessor to 326 litres, and can be boosted to 1,042 litres with the rear seats folded flat. There’s also a double boot floor to conceal items and provide additional storage.
The streamlined looks benefit the car’s aerodynamic drag figure, with the long bonnet, low roofline and sharp crease line helping to reduce it from 0.32 Cd on the previous i20 to 0.30 on the newcomer.
Hyundai is also keen to emphasise the new focus on style, and claims the i20 has the widest range of exterior and interior colour combinations available on any supermini, with nine exterior shades and four interior cloth trims, plus one leather option.
Another area Hyundai wants to focus on is the i20’s suite of ‘big car’ tech and comfort features. The model will be the first supermini to be offered with a panoramic opening sunroof, upping the ante over the huge (but fixed) glass roof offered in the competing Peugeot 208.
The entire cabin will sport a more expensive-feeling finish than the outgoing i20, with, we’re promised, significant upgrades in perceived quality, while piano black inserts and chrome detailing will lift the ambience further.
Tech highlights include a reversing camera integrated into the main seven-inch infotainment screen, sat-nav, USB and aux connectivity, smartphone docking integration and a My Music function along with Bluetooth hands-free, which allows 1GB of music to be stored and played.
There’s also power-saving LED technology for the slim rear lights. And the i20 will become the first supermini to be equipped with a lane departure warning system. Visual and audible alerts are sounded if a driver is detected to be veering off course. Four trim levels are promised – Access, Comfort, Panorama and LED.
Powering the i20 will be a choice of petrol and diesel engines. Kicking things off will be the 1.25-litre petrol, available with either 74bhp or 83bhp. The all-aluminium engine will be matched with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, and 0-62mph times are 13.6 seconds and 13.1 seconds respectively.
If more power is required, a 99bhp 1.4-litre is also offered, which comes in tandem with a six-speed manual or four-speed auto. Expect 0-62mph in around 11.6 seconds.
Those who prefer diesel can choose from the 74bhp 1.1-litre or 89bhp 1.4. These two record 0-62mph times of 16.0 seconds and 12.1 seconds respectively, and are available only with the six-speed manual.
There’s no word yet on emissions or economy figures, but the target for the diesels is to be under 100g/km.
A new eco-focused one-litre three-cylinder turbo engine will join the range after launch. Upgraded suspension – McPherson struts at the front and torsion beam at the rear – is claimed to make the car much better to drive, with improved stability and grip. Long-travel shock absorbers are said to improve the ride over the outgoing model, too.
Of significance to British drivers will be the news that all models will now be built in Europe, at the company’s plant in Izmit, Turkey. Previously RHD cars were produced at the factory in Chennai, India. The move west will mean delivery times are more than halved.
And the i20 range won’t stop with the standard five-door hatch. A three-door Coupe is coming, too, and a rally-inspired hot hatch i20 range-topper. Trading on the brand’s World Rally Championship exploits, the new ‘i20N’ could use a turbocharged version of the 1.4-litre petrol engine.
The hot i20’s ‘N’ badging nods to Hyundai’s R&D home in Namyang, South Korea, though the Euro-friendly hot hatch will be developed at a far more famous location beginning with ‘n’: Germany’s Nurburgring Nordschleife.