In-depth reviews

Hyundai i20 review

It's not flawless, but the latest Hyundai i20 is the firm’s most competitive entrant into the supermini market yet

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£18,216 to £23,061
  • Responsive chassis
  • Well equipped
  • Practical
  • Dull cabin
  • Limited engine range
  • Larger wheels may harm ride quality

Korea’s biggest car brand continues to impress with every new model, and this is the best Hyundai i20 yet. While the standout styling might not be to all tastes and the cabin is let down by mixed materials and a lack of colour, the i20 hits the mark in almost all other respects, from its entertaining chassis and sweet-spinning three-cylinder engine to practicality, equipment and running costs thanks to Hyundai’s strong warranty and finance rates helped by a low deposit. It still isn’t quite the all-rounder that are our favourite superminis the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta, but it gets closer than ever.

About the Hyundai i20

The steady march of progress continues at Hyundai, and the latest i20 is one of the best demonstrations so far of this gradual improvement – it’s the most complete i20 yet, and the closest Hyundai has got to building a supermini capable of taking on the class-leading Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.

While based on the same platform as its predecessor, Hyundai has developed the car in every area. You won’t fail to notice the sharper new styling, with a wide grille and aggressive headlights that match those of other models in the range, the SEAT-style slash-cut flanks, and the distinctive tail end with its claw-like lights, a light panel that joins the rear clusters, and contrasting black element that seems to visually increase the size of the rear window.

There have been similar advancements inside, with a more modern design and the notable application of a dual-screen set-up not dissimilar to that used by Mercedes in its A-Class. Offering a fully digital instrument cluster is impressive in this class, while two different infotainment screen options mean there’s plenty of showroom appeal too. That doesn’t quite stretch to the interior materials unfortunately, which lag behind those of some rivals, and there’s not much excitement – but that’s something the upcoming i20 N hot hatch might change.

Trim levels start with the entry-level Element special edition, which does without kit such as digital instrument dials and cruise control, but is actually still pretty well equipped. Further up the price list comes SE Connect, Premium, sporty N Line and top-of-the-range Ultimate.

Under the bonnet, there’s only a single 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol unit assisted by mild-hybrid technology, delivering either 99bhp or 118bhp. This lack of choice may deter some, but it’s an impressive power unit all the same, offering economy in the mid-50s, smooth and punchy power delivery and slick gearboxes. It’s also refined and rides well (at least on the smaller wheel options), while for the first time we’d call the i20 a genuine Fiesta rival in terms of driver appeal – as big an indication of how far the i20 has come as anything else.

With plenty of interior space, one of the larger boots in the class yet manageable exterior dimensions, it also retains the practicality of its predecessors. With some good finance offers also available, the i20 should be on your shortlist if you’re looking for a new supermini.

Used and nearly new

The Hyundai i20 dates back to 2009, when the first-gen version arrived to replace the Getz supermini. As it’s evolved, the i20 has moved further away from the bargain-oriented roots of the original, though all of the car’s generations provide good value and offer decent equipment levels and practicality given their respective ages. Reliability is a plus point across all Hyundai i20 generations, too, and owners of younger examples also have Hyundai’s five-year manufacturer warranty to fall back should something fail on their car.

  • For the latest Hyundai i20 prices check out our sister site buyacar.co.uk

Hyundai i20 history

Hyundai i20

Hyundai i20 Mk3: 2020-present

The Mk3 Hyundai i20 arrived in 2020, and marked a big shift in the character of the car – no longer was it a dirt-cheap bargain, because prices were now on par with many of its main rivals. There were plenty more changes, too: the Mk3 was much more fun to drive and striking to look at than previous versions. Not every trait of the older i20 generations was thrown out on the third-gen car, though – equipment levels and practicality across the board were good, and the car came with a selection of peppy petrol engines.

Hyundai i20 mk2 - front static

Hyundai i20 Mk2: 2015-2020

While not as big a leap forward as its predecessor was, the Hyundai i20 Mk2 was nevertheless handily better in a number of areas than the Mk1 model. Practicality was improved a bit, and the car was much more stylish to look at – especially if you decided to shirk the five-door set-up in favour of the sportier three-door bodystyle on the i20 Coupe. Like the old car, the i20 Mk2 was also well equipped and represented good value in comparison with some of its rivals. Read our full Mk2 Hyundai i20 buyer’s guide here…

Hyundai i20 front tracking

Hyundai i20 Mk1: 2008-2014

The Mk1 Hyundai i20 arrived in 2008, and was a big improvement over the Hyundai Getz supermini that preceded it. It was quite practical for such a small car, and the combination of competitive pricing and impressive equipment levels made the i20 Mk1 a tempting value-oriented alternative to other superminis like the Vauxhall Corsa, Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta. A choice of petrol and diesel engines were available, and the Hyundai i20 Mk1 only came in a five-door hatchback bodystyle.

If you're looking to buy a Hyundai i20, why not check out our sister site buyacar.co.uk for the latest deals...

More on i20

Top 10 best superminis to buy 2022
Best superminis - header image
Best cars & vans
19 Jan 2022

Top 10 best superminis to buy 2022

It's a hard-fought class, but these are the 10 best superminis on sale right now
Used Hyundai i20 (Mk2, 2015-2020) review
Hyundai i20 mk2 - front
Hyundai i20 Hatchback
18 Jan 2022

Used Hyundai i20 (Mk2, 2015-2020) review

The Hyundai i20 Mk2 is a practical and nicely rounded supermini, even if it doesn’t blow the competition away in many areas
Top 10 best hot hatchbacks to buy 2022
Best hot hatchbacks
Hot hatches
7 Jan 2022

Top 10 best hot hatchbacks to buy 2022

The best hot hatches offer giant-killing performance and a gripping drive, all wrapped in a user-friendly package
Volkswagen Polo vs SEAT Ibiza vs Hyundai i20: 2021 group test review
Volkswagen Polo Hyundai i20 SEAT Ibiza - header
Volkswagen Polo
4 Dec 2021

Volkswagen Polo vs SEAT Ibiza vs Hyundai i20: 2021 group test review

The facelifted Volkswagen Polo goes up against the SEAT Ibiza and Hyundai i20 in this supermini showdown
New Hyundai i20 N Line 2022 review
Hyundai i20 N Line - front
Hyundai i20 Hatchback
3 Dec 2021

New Hyundai i20 N Line 2022 review

The new Hyundai i20 N Line hatch offers fun without the hot N car’s compromises
New Hyundai Tucson scoops 2022 Carbuyer Car Of The Year award
Hyundai Tucson Carbuyer COTY
Hyundai Tucson SUV
6 Oct 2021

New Hyundai Tucson scoops 2022 Carbuyer Car Of The Year award

The striking Hyundai Tucson SUV has won the big one in our sister title’s Best Car Awards 2022
Fast car, slow driver vs slow car, fast driver! - CarThrottle video
Hyundai i20 N - front
Hyundai i20 N
15 Sep 2021

Fast car, slow driver vs slow car, fast driver! - CarThrottle video

Alex and Ethan from our sister site CarThrottle go head-to-head to find out what's the quickest combo: a fast driver in a standard car, or a slow driv…
Hyundai i20 N vs Hyundai i30 N: Track Battle
Hyundai i20 N vs i30 N
Hyundai i20
13 Jul 2021

Hyundai i20 N vs Hyundai i30 N: Track Battle

Hyundai hot hatches go head-to-head! Have the i20 N and i30 N got the talent to hit the high notes on track?
Hot Hatch of the Year 2021: Hyundai i20 N
Hyundai i20 N - header
Hyundai i20
7 Jul 2021

Hot Hatch of the Year 2021: Hyundai i20 N

The Hyundai i20 N is the 2021 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Honda Civic Type R and Cupra Leon commended
New Hyundai i20 N 2021 review
Hyundai i20 N - front
Hyundai i20 N
6 Jul 2021

New Hyundai i20 N 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the new 201bhp Hyundai i20 N hot hatch
Hot new Hyundai i20 N on sale in the UK now from £24,995
Hyundai i20 N
Hyundai i20 Hatchback
17 Jun 2021

Hot new Hyundai i20 N on sale in the UK now from £24,995

Hyundai’s new hot supermini hits the market with an all-inclusive approach to equipment
Sporty new Hyundai i20 N Line on sale now from £22,395
Hyundai i20 N Line
Hyundai i20
27 May 2021

Sporty new Hyundai i20 N Line on sale now from £22,395

The new Hyundai i20 N Line trim acts as a stop-gap between the standard supermini and the i20 N hot hatchback, with a sporty makeover inside and out
Kia Rio vs Hyundai i20 vs Renault Clio
Kia Rio vs Hyundai i20 vs Renault Clio
Car group tests
20 Mar 2021

Kia Rio vs Hyundai i20 vs Renault Clio

Can the new Kia Rio challenge the Renault Clio and Hyundai i20 for supermini honours?
Hyundai i20 vs Ford Fiesta
Car group tests
5 Dec 2020

Hyundai i20 vs Ford Fiesta

Two mild-hybrid superminis go head-to-head as we test new Hyundai i20 against Ford Fiesta
New Hyundai i20 2020 review
Hyundai i20
22 Oct 2020

New Hyundai i20 2020 review

Is the new Hyundai i20 a real rival to the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta in the supermini class?
Hyundai i20 review
Hyundai i20 - front
Hyundai i20 Hatchback
18 Jul 2020

Hyundai i20 review

The Hyundai i20 is a spacious supermini that takes on the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo
New 2020 Hyundai i20 arrives with hybrid power
Hyundai i20 - front
Hyundai i20
19 Feb 2020

New 2020 Hyundai i20 arrives with hybrid power

Cabin of Hyundai’s i20 revealed; comprehensive kit list plus mild hybrid tech on offer when sales begin in September
New 2020 Hyundai i20: official images leaked
New Hyundai i20 2020 leaked pictures
Hyundai i20 Hatchback
18 Feb 2020

New 2020 Hyundai i20: official images leaked

Pictures of the third-generation Hyundai i20 supermini have been leaked online ahead of the Geneva Motor Show
Hyundai i20 vs Citroen C3 vs Nissan Micra
Hyundai i20 vs Citroen C3 vs Nissan Micra - header
Hyundai i20
1 Sep 2018

Hyundai i20 vs Citroen C3 vs Nissan Micra

Does the new Hyundai i20 have what it takes to top the supermini class as it meets the Citroen C3 and Nissan Micra?
New Hyundai i20 facelift prices and specs released
Hyundai i20 front
Hyundai i20
25 Jun 2018

New Hyundai i20 facelift prices and specs released

The updated Hyundai i20 gets a new look and extra safety tech, but starting prices have risen to £13,995
New Hyundai i20 2018 facelift review
Hyundai i20 front tracking
Hyundai i20 Hatchback
7 Jun 2018

New Hyundai i20 2018 facelift review

The Hyundai i20's mid-life spruce-up adds a modern gearbox, infotainment and safety tech, but how does it drive?
New Hyundai i20 facelift preps for 2018 launch
Hyundai i20
11 Jan 2018

New Hyundai i20 facelift preps for 2018 launch

Hyundai’s i20 supermini is due a facelift, and this is our first glimpse of what it will look like
Hyundai i20 Coupe review
Hyundai i20 Coupe
9 Oct 2017

Hyundai i20 Coupe review

Three-door Hyundai i20 Coupe is good value and looks great