Hyundai i20 hatchback
Price £10,095 - £14,445
- Inexpensive to buy and run
- Well equipped
- Strong reliability
- Lack of prestige
- Unsupportive seats
- Rivals are more fun to drive
At a glance
"The Hyundai i20 is a good value for money supermini with generous equipment, low running costs and a comfortable, if unexciting, drive."
The Hyundai i20 hasn’t won the same accolades as the i10 and i30 – and is less common on the roads than its siblings, too – but it's still a very big seller. And the i20 is still a great choice for anyone looking for a small-to-medium-sized supermini. It's a key competitor for the Nissan Micra, Suzuki Swift and Ford Fiesta. A 2012 refresh added some extra flair that had previously been missing, with both its drive and style much improved. It's still a little drab inside, choosing practicality over style by using some harder plastics to build its nevertheless clear and logically laid out controls. The Hyundai i20 is available in four main specifications – entry-level Classic, mid-range Active, fuel-efficient Blue and Active Blue, and top-of-the-range Style. The i20 truly is great value compared to the updated Ford Fiesta, and you will find that there are lots of decent deals out there.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Excellent economy and cheap to insure
The most economical engine in the i20 range is the 1.1-litre CRDi Blue diesel, which can return 88.3mpg with CO2 emissions of only 84g/km when combined with the six-speed manual gearbox, meaning the car is road tax exempt. If you’re looking for more performance from your i20, then the 1.4-litre CRDi diesel still returns a strong 76mpg and emits a tax-free 96g/km of CO2. Further down the range, the entry-level 1.2-litre petrol returns 58mpg and emits 114g/km, and the 1.4-litre petrol manages 47mpg and 140g/km of CO2. Insurance groups range from eight to 12 – so inexpensive premiums for all models.
Interior & comfort
Quiet but seats lack support and there's limited legroom in the back
The i20 is a very easy and comfortable drive, with the super soft suspension meaning you barely feel any of the bumps or potholes on UK roads. However, this does mean the ride can get bouncy and body roll is more much noticeable when driving round corners. If it's a city runabout you’re after though, the i20 is perfect and it's very quiet inside, with little wind or road noise, even when driving at motorway speeds. One problem in the i20 is the seats - they’re very firm and don’t offer a great deal of back support. Rear legroom is also a bit limited, but the i20 can still fit four adults inside without too much discomfort on shorter journeys.
Practicality & boot space
Both practical and spacious with useful cubbyholes
For a supermini the i20 does boast substantial interior space thanks to its class-leading width and length, which applies to both the five-door and three-door models. The 295-litre boot is bigger than either the Vauxhall Corsa or Ford Fiesta, expanding to an impressive 1,060-litres when the standard-fit 60:40 split-fold seats are folded down flat. The steering wheel can be adjusted for easy reach and height.
The i20 also has a very handy tight turning circle, which makes it easy to get the i20 into tight parking spaces at the first attempt – perfect for town driving. There's also lots of storage inside the car, with the option to add a cooled glove compartment. One of the few drawbacks is the lack of storage space for passengers in the back.
Reliability & safety
Well equipped, safe and full of proven parts
The 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey saw the i20 fail to crack the top 100 cars, placing 111th compared to its 59th place in 2012 – the drop could be down to the interior quality, which is hard-wearing but pretty unpleasant to look at and to use. The i20 secured the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety test, which is notable for a smaller car. It also comes fitted with six airbags, electronic stability control (ESP), and active head restraints, as standard. ISOFIX child seat anchor points are also fitted as standard, making it a more appealing buy for families.
Engines, drive & performance
Lacks fun but is fairly nippy
The i20 struggles to compete with the likes of the Suzuki Swift and the Ford Fiesta when it comes to driving thrills, but as a whole package it does put up a good fight. As the steering is very light it almost feels like you’re floating over the road, which doesn’t fill you with a huge amount of confidence at high speeds and high winds – the flip side of that is it's very easy to drive around town.
The 1.1-litre diesel is very efficient but feels sluggish, taking 15.7 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph, and the lack of pulling power means the odd dose of bravery is required when pulling out at busy junctions. For the best balance, we’d recommend the 89bhp 1.4-litre diesel because it feels noticeably quicker but still returns 76.3mpg and emits a road-tax-free 96g/km CO2.
Price, value for money & options
Shames rivals on standard equipment and price
The i20 isn’t short of equipment or accessories, something that is common with Hyundai cars. Even the base-spec Classic comes fitted with air-conditioning, six airbags, electric windows and an MP3-compatible CD stereo as standard.
You lose the air-conditioning in the eco-friendly Blue model in favour of a stop-start system and more fuel-efficient tyres. The Active spec adds 15-inch alloy wheels and Bluetooth connectivity, while Comfort models have 15-inch alloy wheels, an iPod connection, electric heated folding mirrors, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. Lastly, the top-spec Style gets 16-inch alloys, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors, climate control and front fog lights, plus a leather steering wheel and gearlever. It's a good equipment list, especially when compared to its main rivals such as the Ford Fiesta.
Resale values in the used car market are also fairly strong, with Hyundai's brand growing in reputation and more buyers looking for small, economical cars.
What the others say
"Spacious interior, great value for money and a comfortable ride. But dull looks, cheap interior plastics and less fun than its rivals."
"The i20 is an affordable car to buy, and the increased efficiency means you'll pay less to run it. Don't think that Hyundai is stingy with kit, either. It will do everything you ask of it, but competitors such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo will do them better. Still, the Hyundai is a shade cheaper than those competitors, so it's an excellent budget choice."
"The first thing you notice once inside the i20 is how firm the seats are. They're certainly supportive, especially for the lower back, but on longer journeys the lack of softer padding can be uncomfortable. Still there's plenty of space - both in the front and back."