"The Hyundai i20 is a value for money supermini with generous equipment, low running costs and a comfortable, if unexciting, drive."
The Hyundai i20 is the forgotten car in Hyundai's small car range but like its siblings, the i10 and i30, it has a lot to offer, especially for someone looking for a small-to-mid-size supermini. The i20 received a facelift in 2012, which gave the car some much-needed sparkle and some welcome character. The interior is still more focused on function than style, and while some plastics look and feel a little cheap, the cabin is logically laid out and easy to use. Now coming in four versions, with prices starting at £9,995 - and including the super-efficient Blue model - the Hyundai i20 is worth a look if you are after a credible alternative to the likes of the Suzuki Swift and Nissan Micra. It's especially great value for money when compared to the updated Ford Fiesta, and there are great deals to be had.
Hyundai introduced a new engine to the range in 2012 giving it a huge edge in terms of fuel consumption. In the Blue specification, the 74bhp1.1-litre CDRi diesel returns 88.3mpg and emits just 84 g/km of CO2, which makes it one of the most efficient non-electric cars on the market. This engine joins two petrol engines, a 1.2-litre that produces 84bhp, a 1.4-litre with 99bhp, and a more powerful 1.4-litre diesel that produces 89bhp and returns 76.3 mpg. While the 1.1-litre diesel is very efficient, it's also very slow, taking 15.7 seconds to get to 62mph, which might make pulling out at junctions a touch tricky. The better alternative, if efficiency isn’t your absolute priority, is the 1.4-litre diesel, which still returns 76.3mpg and a tax-free 96g/km, but notably improves the 0-62 time to 13.5 seconds. Behind the wheel, the i20 lacks any of the driver involvement of a Ford Fiesta of Suzuki Swift, with overly light steering in particular making the drive feel a bit floaty, although it does make it a doddle driving around town.
The Hyundai i20 copes well with rough road surfaces and any bumps, with the suspension a bit on the soft side. That means there's definitly some body roll in some corners. Any sound from the engine or road and wind noise is minimal, hardly intruding at any speed, leaving the interior fairly hushed and serene. The seats are the main drawback - they're firm and lacking any proper back support. Legroom in the back is also limited, but the i20 can still carry four adults in relative comfort.
This is a strong point for Hyundai. The i20 may have some cheap-looking plastics on the inside but cheap doesn’t always mean brittle, and the overall impression is that the interior will hold up well under the repeated abuse that transporting a family can bring. Hyundai also has a good reputation among owners for reliability, with the company ranking an impressive seventh in the 2012 Driver Power reliability survey. The i20 itself was 59th in the same year's poll, but this was for the car before its substantial facelift and Hyundai will be expecting the i20 to climb up the table closer to its sister car, the i30, with its impressive 15th place. Hyundai's dealer network also offers decent support. In terms of safety, the i20 scored the full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests - an excellent result for a car of this size. Owners can take some comfort in knowing that they’ll be protected by no less than six airbags, electronic stability control and active head restraints across the range. On top of all this, the i20 comes with the same five-year warranty as the rest of the Hyundai range, meaning few owners will have to worry about any bills throughout their time with the car.
The Hyundai i20 comes with three and five doors and has one of the longest and widest bodies in its class. So there's lots of room for passengers and luggage. The rear seats will easily hold three adults and, if you have a young family, ISOFIX child seat points are fitted as standard. The luggage capacity also outstrips rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, with a 295-litre boot that expands to 1,060-litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded down - more than enough for a weekend away. The driving position is also excellent, helped by the fully adjustable steering wheel and height adjustable drivers seat. Driving the i20 in the city is helped by the car's 5.2-metre turning circle, which compares favourably against the Ford Fiesta's 9.3 metres and should allow you to navigate into the tightest parking spots at first attempt. Also, the glovebox is cooled, which is useful for your packed lunch, and there are a number of handy cubbyholes around the interior. The only downside is the lack of door pockets for rear passengers.
Value for money
The price of an i20 is very competitive compared to rivals like the Ford Fiesta, with equivalent models being on average £1,000 cheaper than the Ford. Resale values are also likely to be strong, as buyers increasingly seek out small, economical cars.The entry-level Classic includes air conditioning, six airbags, electric windows and an MP3 player-compatible CD stereo as standard. The more efficiency-focused Blue drops the air-con for a stop/start system and more fuel-efficient tyres, while the Active model adds 15-inch alloys and Bluetooth connectivity. Comfort spec get 15-inch alloy wheels, an iPod connection, electric heated folding mirrors and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. The top-of-the-range Style model gets 16-inch alloys, automatic lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors, climate control and front fog lights, plus a leather steering wheel and gearlever.
The entry-level 1.2-litre petrol i20 returns 58mpg and sit in road tax band C. The 1.4-litre petrol, which averages 54mpg, is one group higher in band D. The 2012 facelift has also given the range two diesel engines, both of which emit CO2 under the tax-free 100g/km level. The 1.4-litre CRDi diesel will return 76mpg, with emissions of 96g/km, while the 1.1-litre CRDi Blue is one of the most efficient non-electric, non-hybrid cars on the market, emitting an impressive 84g/km and returning 88.3mpg fuel economy. Insurance groups range from eight to 12, which should mean low-cost, affordable premiums for all owners. The Hyundai i20 also comes with a five-year warranty as standard across the range.