Here’s the first prototype of Aston’s answer to Urus and Bentayga. Like it?
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That doesn’t look much like a Coupe. Indeed, it’s Hyundai’s i20 three-door, with a more marketable suffix. But it’s not worth getting too snippy: the regular i20 is rather good, and this mildly slinkier version is handsome. It also - along with its five-door sibling - now comes with a 1.0-litre turbo triple among its engine options. Diddly three-cylinder petrols are fast becoming the engine of choice in the world of small hatchbacks, and (spoiler alert) that is also the case here. What are the stats? There are two versions, both 998cc in size. The skinniest comes with 98bhp, the fattest with 118bhp, though both share a 127lb ft torque figure. They also both offer a 0-62mph time beginning with a ten, and both promise strong fuel economy, ranging from 58.9mpg to 65.7mpg. The more powerful version commands another £500, and with six speeds, its manual gearbox has an extra cog. This makes it more refined on the motorway, and given it revs with extra zeal too, it’s the one we recommend. So what’s it like? Both engines are shared with the Kia Ceed, and are similarly talented here. They blend quietly into the background at crusing speeds, and punch hardest between 2,000 and 4,000rpm, which is the bit of the rev range you naturally use without ever looking at the dials. Happily, if you like driving, this little 1.0 is happy to rev well past 6,000rpm too. It’s at this point the characterful three-cylinder warble is most evident, but if you just want to mooch about, everything stays nice and quiet. Is it quick? It’s quick enough for its purpose, but it’s no junior hot hatch. You’ll need to drop down a gear for steep inclines, and overtakes take a bit of foresight. But this is not unique to its class, and the i20 is effortless to drive equipped with either guise of 1.0-litre. What’s the rest of it like? Hyundai rubber stamps all of its cars at the Nürburgring, new Prius-rivalling Ioniq included. Whatever preconceptions you may have about such a move, the sharpness of the i20’s steering and its generous levels of grip evidence this nicely. It can get a little unsettled over really nasty bumps and ruts, but overall, it’s a very tidy car to drive. It’s no Fiesta or Mazda 2 for entertainment, but nor does it frustrate if you feel like going quicker than the norm. The i20 Coupe is stiffer than the five-door, and it does feel a smidge sharper as a result. But like we said, it’s no hot hatch. That, we imagine, is being saved for an N performance version, and this chassis feels taut enough to form its basis. If TG’s rallying i20 is anything to go by, more power and extra flamboyance could make that very interesting car indeed. Will it really do around 60 miles per gallon? Possibly not. We managed 37mpg. But we were driving, um, ‘keenly’, and thus driven, all of its rivals (including the Fiesta Ecoboost) offer up nigh on identical economy. In more day-to-day circumstances, something closer to 50mpg will be entirely achievable. And while we’re talking cost, the 1.0 turbo goes straight to the top of the i20’s petrol range, costing £1,000 more than an 82bhp 1.2. Given the i20 is traditionally a value choice, Hyundai initially expects just 20 per cent of customers to go turbo. We’d rather contribute a few extra quid a month to this engine than a fancy colour and sat nav, though. The 98bhp version starts a whisker under £14,000, while the 118bhp iteration starts at £15,470. All versions get DAB, Bluetooth, parking sensors and air con. That sort of money can buy many hatchbacks. It can. And the i20 has no single standout area, no killer app that makes it an irresistible choice. But while it may not be as fun as a Fiesta, as posh as a Polo or as dashing as a DS3, it’s not a million miles off any of their respective talents, and it combines all of its ability with a whopping five-year warranty. For many, that will be hard to resist.