Hyundai i20 review - Engines, performance and drive
Punchy turbo petrols are the ones to go for, as the revvy 1.2 feels slow in comparison
Drive the i20 along a twisty road, and it feels stable and secure when tackling corners. There’s plenty of grip and body roll is well controlled. An electronically assisted steering rack was tweaked in 2018 with the intention of reducing kickback. It’s made it more precise around the straight ahead than before, but there’s also even less feel. Weighing is fine though, so it allows you to place the car precisely on the road.
Ride comfort is also fairly comfortable. It’s not quite as refined as the Polo, but combined with the low noise levels and reasonably refined engine, the i20 is quite a relaxing cruiser.
The i20 doesn’t drive as well as a VW Polo, but it’s not far off. You can turn into corners confidently, while the chassis stays relatively settled and composed. The ride is well controlled; the set-up is on the firmer side, and while it doesn’t cope with bumps as well as the VW, it’s more similar to the smoother Polo than a Citroen C3.
However, while the steering is well weighted, it feels very remote. The weight remains the same as you add more lock, but the i20 gives you very little information about what’s going on at the front.
Under the bonnet, there’s a choice of four petrol engines to choose from. Options include 74bhp and 84bhp versions of a 1.2-litre petrol, while those searching for a little more power can go for one of the two 1.0-litre turbocharged T-GDi engines
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In reality, the picks of the range are the two middle units. The entry-level 1.2 is revvy, but it feels just a little too slow anywhere out of town. The 83bhp unit is just about fine on motorway driving, though a 0-62mph time of 12.8 seconds means that it'll still need dropping a gear or two to make the most of it.
The 1.0-litre turbocharged T-GDi engine comes in two states of tune. The 99bhp version is available with a choice of a manual or a dual clutch automatic gearbox. While the manual is slick enough, the auto can be a little jerky at times - particularly when kicking down. It’s much better than the previous auto though, so it’s a worthy choice if you’d rather the car did the shifting for you.
Topping the range is a 118bhp version turbo triple. In reality there’s not much point: it’s power and torque figures are identical to the 99bhp version up to 4,500rpm, so it’ll be very rare that you’ll actually see the benefits. Regardless of the power it produces, the 1.0-litre units are fairly smooth by three-cylinder standards.
In this review
- 1Hyundai i20 reviewThe Hyundai i20 is a spacious supermini that takes on the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingPunchy turbo petrols are the ones to go for, as the revvy 1.2 feels slow in comparison
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsBoth engines are frugal enough in the real world, but the 1.0-litre has more competitive CO2 figures
- 4Interior, design and technologySmart on the outside, plain on the inside, but the infotainment system is among the best in the class
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceLong wheelbase boosts versatility, and i20 is one of the roomiest superminis on sale
- 6Reliability and SafetyFive-year warranty gives peace of mind, but Hyundai doesn't do well as a manufacturer in Driver Power