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Review: i20 Asta (O) petrol

Driven July 2012

Review: i20 Asta (O) petrol

The i20’s popularity in the Indian market is a clear indication of how fond we are of feature-rich cars. And Hyundai has continuously set the bar in offering more in-car fittings than the competition. Even though the i20 is sold at a premium compared to other hatches in the segment, a quick drive around the neighbourhood will tell you it is still clearly a very popular choice.

Contrary to popular opinion, the new-look i20 is definitely a design improvement. The front especially is a lot more graceful, with sharper, more prominent headlamps, and fog lamps that match the aggressive styling. Even the new smaller grille does away with the extra chrome, allowing the body colour to stand out. Not that the previous i20 looked bad, but that look had been around for a while now. It needed a design refresh, and this look is clearly refreshing.

The i20 was always the most feature-rich hatch in its segment and now it’s been updated with just about all the features that big brother Verna has to offer. There’s keyless entry, button start/stop, reverse parking camera with sensors, rain-sensing wipers and auto door lock. Besides USB and Aux, the music system also supports Bluetooth connectivity along with a hands-free calling system. If you want the sunroof and six airbags, you’ll need to go for the Asta (O) variant, available only in petrol.

The drive, on the other hand, was not as impressive. The Kappa engine is known to be good for city driving, which is mainly short bursts of speed, and that it does well. But take it out on to the highway and you feel the engine running out of breath between gear shifts. More torque would’ve worked wonders here, but if you’re ok with frequent shifting, you can make the i20 fly.

Ride quality feels a bit too soft on the highway, and on sharp turns, it didn’t feel as planted as it should. There’s clear body roll and the steering is a bit inconsistent at different speeds. The biggest saving grace on drive quality is the braking, that too thanks to the Apollo Accelere tyres, which did 25.01m in our 80-0kph braking test.

A lot of these gripes won’t affect the everyday driver – the i20 is still a very comfortable car for just about any kind of road travel. The key word there is “comfortable”, which is not exactly the biggest selling point for an enthusiast driver.

 



Gagan Gupta

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