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Hyundai i20 Coupe vs Vauxhall Corsa

Three-door superminis blend racy looks with affordable prices, we see if Hyundai’s new i20 Coupe is better than the Vauxhall Corsa

In the cut-throat supermini market, you tend to have two bodystyles to choose from: a practical five-door or a sporty three-door. Some makers are happy to offer either option with the same basic outline, but Hyundai has added extra flair to the class, in the form of its i20 Coupe.

Best superminis to buy right now

It has a similar appearance to the five-door up front, but the high-set tail and small windows provide a racier look. Hyundai has also added a 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine to the range, which boosts efficiency and delivers a healthy 118bhp in the flagship Sport model.

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The new i20 Coupe follows a template that was pioneered by the Vauxhall Corsa, and it’s the sporty three-door Corsa it faces in this test.

The supermini was revitalised by a facelift and under-the-skin changes in 2014, and the SRi VX-Line model tested here has a lower price tag than the Hyundai, yet a similar amount of kit. It holds plenty of youthful appeal, so the question is: can the i20 Coupe compete?

Head-to-head

Styling

Hyundai has taken a leaf out of Vauxhall’s book and given the i20 Coupe a distinctly different look compared with the five-door.

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As a result, the high-set rear end looks similar to the Corsa’s, while both cars get a slash in the rear C-pillars. Vauxhall offers a more vivid colour palette, while VX-Line adds bigger wheels and a bodykit over the standard SRi.

Options

There aren’t many options on the i20, but you can add sat-nav, DAB and a rear camera for £675. The Corsa SRi VX-Line features Vauxhall’s IntelliLink infotainment system and DAB radio as standard, while you can upgrade to its OnStar driver assist service and add xenons. 

Performance

While the i20 is the more powerful car here, the Corsa proved quicker in almost all of our acceleration tests. It has a broader spread of torque and shorter gearing, and if you could turn off traction control, it would have been faster from 0-60mph.

Verdict

First place: Vauxhall Corsa 3dr

Both of these cars have their merits, but it’s the Corsa that narrowly takes the spoils. The 1.0-litre engine is a real gem, as it’s powerful enough for most needs, yet still reasonably economical, while the fine-handling chassis is comfortable when you want to take it easy. A slightly lower list price is tempting, although some of the standard kit omissions are puzzling to say the least.

Second place: Hyundai i20 Coupe

There’s plenty to like about the i20 Coupe, as it’s well built, looks smart and is well equipped. However, it’s a bit pricey when compared with the Corsa, while the car’s chassis doesn’t deliver the handling its racy look warrants. The engine isn’t as sporty or as refined as the Vauxhall’s unit, either. Plus Hyundai’s image may not be exciting enough to tempt younger buyers.

Other options for similar money...

For fun: Mazda 2 1.5 Sport Nav

Price: £15,995Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl,113bhp

If you’re looking for a fun supermini to drive, then the Mazda 2 is a better bet than either rival here. It’s a five-door only, but it still looks racy, while the revvy 1.5-litre engine is a close match for CO2 emissions, at 117g/km. 

For costs: Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium

Price: £15,795Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl, 123bhp

Three-door Fiesta doesn’t have a big boot, but the 123bhp version is as fast as our test cars, while 99g/km CO2 emissions mean road tax is free. You should also be able to haggle a discount at the dealer.

Figures

 Vauxhall Corsa 3dr 1.0T Sri VX-LineHyundai i20 Coupe 1.0 T-GDi Sport
On the road price/total as tested£14,770/£14,770£15,525/£16,200
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£6,351/43.0%N/A
Depreciation£8,419N/A
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£500/£1,001£526/£1,052
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,243/£2,072£1,351/£2,252
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost12/£404/C/£3011/£370/C/£30
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£233/£290/£233£349 (3yrs)
   
Length/wheelbase4,021/2,510mm4,045/2,570mm
Height/width1,479/1,736mm1,449/1,730mm
Engine3cyl in-line/999cc3cyl in-line/998cc
Peak power/revs113/5,000 bhp/rpm118/6,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs170/1,800 Nm/rpm171/1,500 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel45 litres/£11050 litres/space saver
Boot capacity (seats up/down)285/1,090 litres311/986 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,166/469/1,200kg1,090/560/910kg
Turning circle10.1 metres10.2 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/1yr5yrs (unltd)/5yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers20,000 miles (1yr)/40410,000 miles (1yr)/162
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.30th/19th21st/17th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars79/77/71/4 (5dr, 2014)85/73/79/4 (5dr, 2015)
   
0-60/30-70mph9.5/9.0 secs9.2/9.0 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th4.3/5.8 secs4.6/6.2 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th8.8/11.9 secs9.4/12.4 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph121mph/2,700rpm118mph/2,500rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph57.1/37.6/11.0m47.4/33.8/10.1m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph64/42/59/67dB60/42/61/70dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range44.9/9.9/444 miles41.3/9.1/454 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined46.3/67.3/57.6mpg47.1/68.9/58.9mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined10.2/14.8/12.7mpl10.4/15.2/13.0mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket145/114g/km/17%158/112g/km/17%
   
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/£450/£1,300Six/yes/rear/£675
Auto gearbox/stability/cruise controlNo/yes/yesNo/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seats£395/no/£220Yes/no/no
Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go£545/£395/no£515/no/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothApp/yes/yes/yes£675/yes/£675/yes
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