Review

Hyundai i20

£10,995 - £17,700

The Hyundai i20 is a good-value alternative to some of the UK's most popular superminis, such as the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Vauxhall Corsa. In the past, Hyundai hasn’t been well known for quality compared to these manufacturers, but more recently that's changed and Hyundai has massively improved.

The company's reputation for reliability is now very strong and Hyundai itself is so confident that all models come with a five-year warranty as standard, which is great news for owners. 

The new i20 is slightly larger than the old one, both inside and out. Three types are available: the five-door Hyundai i20 hatchback, a sleeker, sportier version called the i20 Coupe and the i20 Active crossover, which has an increased ride height and chunkier bumpers. Prices are broadly similar for the Coupe and hatchback, while the i20 Active costs just over £15,000. The i20 is by no means an unattractive car, but the Coupe's design is a little more appealing to the eye. 

The five-door i20 comes with a choice of six engines: three petrols and three diesels. For those who prefer petrol but want to keep initial costs down, the 1.2-litre is the cheapest option. It produces either 74bhp or 84bhp and, according to Hyundai, is capable of 58.9mpg and 54.4mpg respectively. The downside with this engine is that it feels sluggish and underpowered, something you especially notice with a few passengers and luggage in the boot. 

Hyundai's new 1.0-litre petrol is much better. Despite being smaller, the 1.0-litre is turbocharged for extra power. It's a modern engine with 100bhp so it feels stronger, yet it manages the same 58.9 mpg as the least powerful petrol engine, while costing only £20 a year in road tax.

All the diesels will be affordable to run, the most efficient of which is the 1.1-litre Blue Drive, with a claimed economy of 88.3mpg. But with only 74bhp on tap, it's pretty slow with a 0-62mph time of 16 seconds. That's slower than a Land Rover Defender. Our pick would be the 89bhp 1.4-litre CRDi, which suits higher-mileage driving and feels overall more powerful and a bit more engaging to drive. 

All i20 models have light steering that can be quite fun in the corners. It also makes getting into tight parking spots a whole lot easier, too. Body control is good, although it doesn’t quite have the fun factor of the Ford Fiesta.

The exterior of the i20 looks great, with firm meaningful lines and a distinctive nose helping to make this car stand out a bit, especially with its chunky front grille.

The cabin however feels a bit dated. Hard plastics, a fairly drab design and the lack of a touch-screen infotainment system in all but the highest trim levels doesn’t help matters. But its redeeming feature is its sheer amount of interior space, especially the boot which is one of the largest in this class. 

Trim levels range from S to Premium SE Nav, and all come with a fairly decent amount of equipment as standard. All i20s come with electric heated wing mirrors, electric front windows, adjustable steering wheel and USB connectivity. An array of airbags makes this a safe car, too. Our pick is the SE, which comes with all the kit you could need, such as air-conditioning, electric windows all-round, rear parking sensors and 15-inch alloys.