Hyundai has taken a very adventurous step forward in the premium hatchback segment by giving the successful Elite i20 hatchback the in-vogue crossover treatment. The unique bit about this Korean creation is, unlike its competitors - the VW Cross Polo, Fiat Avventura and Toyota Etios Cross - TopGear's 2015 Hatchback of the Year comes out of Hyundai's beauty clinic appearing more adventure-ready than ever, while also managing to retain a premium and sporty feel. That, and the task of transforming the regular hatch into a crossover wasn't left only to the Hyundai's cosmetics department. The i20 Active comes with new projector headlamps with daytime-running lights and cornering lamps, things the Elite missed out on. Other tasteful bits include the roof rails, new bumpers with rounded fog lamps, a skid plate and plastic cladding around the base of the hatch - that protects the lower bodywork from minor scrapes and scratches, new 16-inch diamond-cut alloys, a rugged-cool looking fuel-filler cap, lend this variant a sinewy look. With a marginal increase in dimensions, the Active sits 190mm above the ground, which is a 20mm improvement in ground clearance over the Elite.
Gallery\: Hyundai i20 ActiveUnder the Active's hood are the same 1.2-litre petrol and 1.4-litre diesel powertrains of the Elite i20. But, that's not a bad thing considering the sprightly performance of the 1,197cc Kappa petrol engine producing 82bhp and 115Nm of torque, which is mated to the slick five-speed manual transmission. The 1,396cc, U2, CRDi diesel mill under the hood is linked up to a six-speed manual gearbox, and it pumps out a healthy 89bhp and 220Nm of torque.However, minor tweaks have been made with the final gear ratios which has resulted in an improvement in initial and mid-range torque by around six per cent in the petrol and 11 per cent in the diesel. And, the bettered performance in the lower end of the powerband is more evident in the diesel i20 Active. Low-end torque was never the diesel-powered Elite's forte, but after driving the Active around Goa, this small alteration can be felt immediately. The car feels a little more eager to accelerate under 2000rpm and feels much healthier around the 3000rpm mark.Feel at the Active's wheel is light, just like in the Elite i20. The newly-introduced crossover sees another positive improvement over the already-impressive Elite. The car's ride quality is much better now. Tweaks to the rear suspension setup has made the Active's ride more comfortable and stable over rough surfaces. So, Hyundai hasn't just given the Elite i20 a more rugged appearance, it has improved on the hatchback's functionality, too. Do note that the technical changes made to the Active won't be carried out on the regular Elite anytime soon.In keeping with the livelier scheme, the i20 Active gets flashy aluminium-coated pedals, and you now have the option of having your Active painted in a new brown shade, and you can choose between some orange inserts for the cabin, or a more prominent blue interior theme, while the part-coloured seats give the car a more youthful feel compared to the more sober, black and beige Elite's interior. The i20 Active offers the same, high level of equipment as the Asta trim level of the Elite, so with the new variant you get the works - like push-button start, keyless entry, reverse camera and sensors, an 8-speaker audio system with 1GB memory, USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, etc.The Active range starts at ?6.38 - 7.09 lakh for the petrol, and ?7.63 - 8.89 lakh for the diesel (ex-showroom, Delhi).The numbersi20 Active Petrol4cyl, 1197cc, 5M, 82bhp, 115Nm, Boot\: 285l, Fuel tank\: 45l, Ground Clearance\: 19cm, Price\: ?6.38 - 7.09 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)i20 Active Diesel4cyl, 1396cc, 6M, 89bhp, 220Nm, Boot\: 285l, Fuel tank\: 45l, Ground Clearance\: 19cm, Price\: ?7.63 - 8.89 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)The verdictHyundai has just bettered an already excellent premium hatchback, and with this new look, adds ruggedness and liveliness to the i20.