Hyundai i20 review
It's not flawless, but the latest Hyundai i20 is the firm’s most competitive entrant into the supermini market yet
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.
The same can be said of under the bonnet, where there’s only a single 1-litre, three-cylinder petrol unit assisted by mild-hybrid technology. 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 entry-level wheel option), 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.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingIt's not flawless, but the latest Hyundai i20 is the firm’s most competitive entrant into the supermini market yet
- 2Engines, performance and driveMore capable than its predecessor and now a proper Fiesta rival for fun. Smooth engine and effective mild-hybrid system are impressive, too
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsSingle engine option is no barrier to economy, with low fuel consumption and emissions.
- 4Interior, design and technologyIt’s let down by some subpar materials and a staid design, but i20s are well equipped and the infotainment is logical to use
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spacePracticality is one of the i20’s strongest suits, with good cabin space front and rear and a boot volume that’s near the top of the class
- 6Reliability and safetyA long warranty and well-priced service plans should make ownership painless, while reliability should be strong.