The new Hyundai i20 is a roomy five-door hatchback that competes with the UK's best-selling car, the Ford Fiesta; the Vauxhall Corsa; and the upmarket Volkswagen Polo. Hyundai quality and styling has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years and – coupled with the generous five-year warranty the company offers with its new cars – this makes the i20 an attractive proposition.
This latest i20 is built on a longer and wider platform than before, so it's bigger inside than the model it replaces. The hatchback version has five doors, while the three-door (not covered by this review), is a sportier-looking model called the Hyundai i20 Coupe. Its prices are around the same as the equivalent five-door.
The five-door i20 is offered with a choice of three petrol and three diesel engines. The most economical petrol model, the 74bhp 1.2-litre, can do 58.9mpg and costs £30 a year to tax. However, the engine is underpowered for a car capable of carrying five people, so for its superior blend of performance and fuel economy, we'd recommend the 99bhp 1.4-litre. This manages a still-impressive 51.4mpg for £110-a-year tax and is a good choice for drivers who do low-to-average annual mileage.
The diesel engines are very economical, with the most frugal – the 74bhp 1.1-litre Blue Drive – returning 88.3mpg and costing nothing to tax. But we'd choose the more powerful yet still economical 89bhp 1.4-litre CRDi for its superior all-round performance and appetite for high mileage. All versions of the i20 have light but responsive steering and good body control in corners.
The i20 is stylish on the outside but a little disappointing inside. It lacks much of the flair and upmarket feel of its main rivals, while some trim feels cheap. Touchscreen systems are all the rage these days, but only the most expensive versions of the i20 have one. On the flipside, the cabin is very spacious, with class-leading rear legroom, while the well shaped boot is also one of the largest in this class.
There are eight trim levels, ranging from the basic S to Premium SE Nav. All versions have heated, power-folding mirrors and electric front windows, a fully adjustable steering wheel and USB connectivity. Our pick is SE trim, which brings 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, all-round electric windows and rear parking sensors. The i20 comes packed with safety equipment. Highlights include multiple airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control.