In-depth reviews

Hyundai i20 hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

Buyers never really chose the i20 for its fun handling but the new version should change that

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.1 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

Anyone expecting the i20 to serve up a soft, disconnected driving experience clearly hasn't been behind the wheel of a recent Hyundai. The Korean cars are now some of the best to drive in their respective classes, and the i20 has impressive body control.

This does mean the suspension is reasonably firm but the chassis works well enough to smooth out most road imperfections without losing its cool. In versions with 16-inch alloy wheels, speed bumps are also dealt with in a nicely cushioned manner, but higher trims with 17-inch wheels may be a little less comfortable. On faster roads, the ride can get a little choppy at times but it's nothing too serious and the engine stays very quiet at motorway speeds to create a peaceful cabin environment.

The steering is quite light but the car responds quickly to turns on the wheel, creating a agile, responsive feel that's just what you want in an urban setting. This is definitely one of the most enjoyable superminis to drive and sits in the middle of the pack in terms of comfort. 

Hyundai i20 petrol engine

The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol engine is a real highlight, spinning smoothly up to 3,500rpm, at which point it's best to change into the next gear thanks to its handy supply of pulling power. Thanks in part to the mild-hybrid assistance, it feels willing from barely above tickover, making it easy and relaxing to drive. We’ve yet to sample the 118bhp N Line model, but with 20% more power, we expect a fair amount of extra responsiveness that should add to the driving fun.

Unlike some three-cylinder engines, there's no shaking or vibration, even when the engine cuts out and starts back up as you're driving along to help save fuel. It's one of the smoothest mild-hybrid systems we've tried so far. 

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