If you’re in the market for a small MPV that can grow along with your expanding family, then the Hyundai ix20 is well worth a look. Its versatile cabin is flexible enough to take nearly anything you can throw at it, while the comfortable suspension is perfectly suited to the lumps and bumps of British roads. The 1.4-litre petrol engine is ideal for urban driving, and is the motor to go for if you’re not planning too many long trips.
Korean giant Hyundai’s new supermini-MPV has already taken road test honours in diesel guise
, but can the ix20 also impress with petrol power? We hit the road in the 1.4-litre version to find out.
In terms of looks, the car has the measure of its Kia Venga
sister model. It manages to inject a touch of flair into the boxy shape, thanks to its hexagonal nose with novel ‘webbed’ grille and smart headlamps.
Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Hyundai ix20
Step inside, and you are greeted by a stylish and well built interior. Classy gloss black trim is used on the dashboard and doors, while the centrally located climate control dials and the big buttons on the stereo are simple to use.
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There’s plenty of kit as standard as well. Our Active-spec model was equipped with a Bluetooth phone connection, sockets for an iPod or MP3 player, air-conditioning and a multifunction steering wheel. The tall roof allows plenty of headroom inside while, at a pinch, three adults can fit across the back bench. Isofix child seat mounts mean the ix20 is ideal for small families, too.
The split-folding rear seats slide back and forth to maximise legroom or load space as necessary, giving up to 440 litres of luggage room. Fold them, and you free up a maximum capacity of 1,486 litres. The boot floor is flat, and there’s hidden storage underneath as well.
The 1.4-litre petrol engine is the smallest unit available in the ix20, and while it has only 89bhp, it’s smooth, eager to rev and powerful enough to ensure the car keeps pace with urban traffic. Standard stop-start helps boost fuel economy around town, and the ix20 returns 50.4mpg on the combined cycle.
However, the motor can struggle when there’s a full complement of passengers on board. If you are planning on regularly carrying big loads, you’ll be better off with the torquier 1.4-litre diesel.
While the ix20 rides stiffly in town, thumping over speed bumps, it is settled on the motorway. This petrol version is available exclusively with a five-speed gearbox, though, so the engine can become noisy at motorway speeds. You’ll also find yourself changing down to a lower ratio if you’re overtaking, which further spoils refinement.
Overall, the ix20 is an accomplished performer. It’s no sports car, but handles securely, while standard-fit electronic stability control gives added peace of mind.
Rival: Kia Venga 1.4 2
Sister car from Kia doesn’t look as smart, but matches the ix20 on price, equipment, performance and economy. Longer seven-year warranty gives Venga a slight edge.