What is it?
Another impressive effort from the Korean manufacturer that is aiming to upset Europe’s small car apple cart. The i20 is a solid all-rounder, with safe styling, a decent impression of quality and a fair degree of practicality to boot. It’s also cheap, disturbingly so if you’re in the business of selling German superminis, and the option of a really affordable 1.4-litre diesel makes it a serious contender for anyone prepared to suppress their brand snobbery long enough to take a test drive.
Small but lively engines – such as the 77bhp 1.2-litre – are a little rough but more than adequate in terms of acceleration. However, the i20 doesn’t ride well, even by supermini standards, and gets blown about at motorway speeds. Couple this with some vague and lifeless steering and a rubbery gearchange and you are a long way from the driver’s car that the Fiesta or Clio can legitimately claim to be. But if you’re buying a Hyundai, that’s probably not desperately high on your list of priorities anyway. This car does the urban business it has been tailored towards without a grumble. The diesel option expands the repertoire a bit, but not by enough to be worth shelling out for. You’d have to be doing some a reasonably hefty mileage per annum to justify forking out for the oil burner - it’s an extra £650.
On the inside
Hyundai is coming on in leaps and bounds in terms of interior quality, but for the money and compared to the company it’s keeping, the i20 still feels like it’s falling a little short. There are too many cheap- looking plastics in the cabin and an impression that quality is not what it might be. That said, it’s probably all very well made, but that perception of pocket premium that works so well in things like the Clio and Polo is lacking. You do get lots of standard kit though, such as aircon, remote central locking and a CD player with an aux jack – and these are things more established manufacturers tend to make you pay through the nose for.
The i20 comes with Hyundai’s five- year warranty, which will keep you out of the worst financial scrapes during your ownership. And, as mentioned above, there’s also lots of kit that comes as standard, which will make the day-to-day more enjoyable. No stop-start doesn’t help the CO2 emissions on the petrols, so you might want to look elsewhere if green motoring is your bag. The i20 is cheap too, there’s no doubt of that, but whether it’s cheap enough to make foregoing
a Fiesta or Clio for that little extra cash in your pocket every month is highly debatable.