The Hyundai i20 has become a mature and well-balanced small car with a kick. Unfortunately, this also has its price.
Sharp edges, brilliant displays and a fast turbo engine: the new i20 sets its own accents in the small car segment without starting a revolution. Especially in the top version with automatic, the Korean convinces despite smaller weaknesses as an everyday and city car.
The i20 doesn't want to be cute. The angular body, the comparatively flat roof and the wide track signal rather cheeky dynamics. Especially at the front and rear, the designers were allowed to let off steam and iron numerous creases and folds into the sheet metal of the five-door. As a result, the four-meter car looks like a big one. Inside, the adult impression continues at first glance. The cockpit looks tidy and elegant, not as playful as in some other small cars. The optional digital central instrument acts as an eye-catcher, with its high resolution, straight design and good readability. However, the brilliance stands in contrast to the rather simple materials from which the well-made cockpit is put together. The i20 is all too economical, especially below the direct field of vision.
The infotainment can be operated quite intuitively via a free-standing screen in the middle of the dashboard. Only functions that are rarely used are sought with increased concentration since the menu has been kept in a new monochrome graphic. The small icons and symbols may appear modern, but are difficult to decipher from the corner of your eye while driving.
The space on the comfortable front seats is just right. The generous feeling of space only suffers when getting out through the somewhat small door cut-outs. In the rear, the dynamic roofline somewhat restricts the space available for tall people. And the footwell is not very generous either. Overall, however, Hyundai offers a solid small car level. This only applies to the trunk to a limited extent. Especially in the driven version, it is rather small. More on that in a moment.
Hyundai sets accents with the drive. The 1,0-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine with turbocharging is already familiar from the previous generation, but now they also come with 48-volt mild hybrid technology. A powerful belt starter generator supports the combustion engine when starting and accelerating and also enables pronounced sailing. The combustion engine is deactivated while driving at a steady pace and, if necessary, restarted quickly and smoothly by the 48-volt generator. Hyundai designed the hybrid interventions very cautiously, so that the additional thrust is integrated very gently into the already good draft of the turbo gasoline engine. Other manufacturers choose rougher - or, depending on the perspective, more dynamic - approaches. However, the coordination fits well with the sovereign rather than sporty character of the i20 drive. Especially when the optional seven-speed dual clutch transmission (1.500 euros) is on board, which relieves the driver of the annoying shift work, especially in the city.
The sailing mode is activated automatically and regularly, but it always feels like it doesn't use suitable situations for the engine to stop. The test consumption of around six liters is therefore okay in view of the low temperatures and high stop-an-go proportion, but not overwhelming despite the considerable technical effort. Customers who shy away from the additional costs associated with the 48-volt hybrid have to go down one performance level. Because, unlike the 120 PS motor, the 100 PS variant is also available without electrical assistance. (Price difference: a good 1.000 euros). Dispensing with hybridization has another positive effect: because the additional technology clears its space, around 90 liters more trunk volume are available. In this class, that is almost a quarter of the total volume - and accordingly noticeable.
Alternatively, the money saved on the drive can be invested in equipment. Because the i20 base price of 14.000 euros only applies to the lean-burn model with the smallest engine. The better variants are much more expensive. For the 120 PS model with manual transmission, at least 21.100 euros are due, but then in combination with proper equipment (seat heating, alloy wheels, digital cockpit). Those who are mainly on the move in the city will probably be happy with the 100 hp engine, which is available with identical equipment from 19.300 euros and less well equipped for 17.500 euros.
The i20 is no longer a particularly affordable small car. In return, however, it also has a lot to offer: The modern infotainment, a fresh look, the sovereign drive and the good level of space and comfort make the five-door a balanced everyday car without any real weaknesses for two adults or a young family.
Technical data - Hyundai i20:
Five-door, five-seater compact car, length: 4,04 meters, width: 1,78 meters, height: 1,45 meters, wheelbase: 2,58 meters, trunk volume: 352 - 1.165 liters
1,0-liter three-cylinder turbo gasoline engine, 88 kW / 120 PS, maximum torque: 200 Nm at 2.000 to 3.500 rpm, seven-speed automatic (double clutch), 0-100 km / h: 10,3 s, Vmax: 185 km / h, standard consumption: 4,7 l, CO2 emissions: 107 g / km, efficiency class: B, emissions standard: Euro 6d, test consumption: 6,0 l
Price: from 22.590 euros.
Brief profile - Hyundai i20:
Why: Modern infotainment, superior drive, plenty of space in front
Why not: low savings effect of the hybrid technology, partly too cheap materials
What else: Kia Rio, VW Polo, Ford Fiesta, Opel Corsa