2020 Hyundai i20: prices, specs, release date and prototype drive

The next-generation Hyundai i20 gets bold new styling, mild-hybrid assistance and the latest technology

  • New i20 is more practical and technologically advanced than ever before
  • Striking styling revamp
  • One engine available in UK from launch has mild-hybrid technology

The all-new Hyundai i20 supermini was officially revealed back in February and we’ve now had the chance to drive a prototype before the car goes on sale later this year. The new model has a sharper look, a new engine with mild-hybrid assistance and plenty of the latest technology.

While UK specifications are yet to be fully confirmed, we do know that the new i20 will come with a comprehensive list of safety kit that will put it on par with its supermini rivals like the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and Peugeot 208. The latest i20 is also lighter than the old car too, which should help efficiency and performance.

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Ahead of the new i20’s arrival in showrooms in the autumn, we’ve driven a prototype on UK roads, which gave us a very positive early impression. Read on for full details on the new i20 and our prototype drive.

2020 Hyundai i20 prototype drive - by John Mcllory

Aside from using a heavily modified version of the old car’s platform, the latest i20 has pretty much done away with any connection to the outgoing model. It features an entirely new interior and a brand new turbocharged engine with mild-hybrid technology for the very first time.

Our test car was equipped with the 118bhp version of the new 1.0-litre engine and a dual-clutch automatic gearbox. While this configuration is being considered for the UK market, only the 99bhp version of the same engine has been confirmed.

For a three-cylinder turbocharged unit, the new engine is smooth under acceleration, and while it does emit a typically characteristic thrum, it sounds more refined above 2.500rpm than any of its rivals. It also feels fairly potent at low revs as well, thanks to the electrical boost of the mild-hybrid assistance.

To drive, the new i20 feels like a contemporary supermini, resisting body lean well when cornering. The steering is light and easy to use but lacks feedback at speed. On the rutted roads of the UK, the ride is best described as on the firm side, with some of the lack of refinement likely due to our car’s 17-inch alloy wheels.

While the interior of the prototype was unfinished, the layout of all the essential controls and infotainment system is very practically designed and easy to use, with everything easily identifiable and easy to reach when driving. Interior space has also been improved, thanks to an increase in the wheelbase dimensions, meaning the rear seats can accommodate a six-foot adult with someone of similar height in the driver's seat.

Verdict

The new i20 is a giant step forward over the old car. Aside from the ride quality, it has the potential qualities to put it close to the top of the fiercely competitive supermini class. Its success, however, will ultimately rest on the PCP finance deals, and whether Hyundai is willing to make them as competitive as those available on rival models.

2020 Hyundai i20 prices, specifications and release date

Prices and specifications have yet to be revealed, but we expect the range to kick off from around £14,500 - a small increase over the current model. The new i20 is expected to arrive in showrooms before the end of the year. There will be several trim levels available, perhaps matching the SE, SE Connect and Premium of the recently launched Hyundai i10, but all should come with a touchscreen infotainment system.

Styling

Hyundai says the i20 is the first car to carry its new design language, called ‘Sensuous Sportiness’. The new car will get a very distinctive design that aims to appeal to buyers as a stylish looking car that remains a practical supermini. With a wide grille similar to the one teased on the upcoming Hyundai Tucson and LED headlights, the front end looks very eye-catching and modern. The i20 has strong body creases, a tapered windowline and the option of a contrasting coloured roof, giving it a slight coupe look. Around the back, the tail-lights will also incorporate LED lights.

Interior and Technology

Inside, the new i20 gets a significant tech update over the old car with the addition of a pair of digital screens. Both are 10.25-inches in size; one is a digital dial cluster that changes colour depending on drive mode selected and the other is an infotainment touchscreen with sat nav. Wireless smartphone charging also features, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Hyundai has also added connected features integrated with its Bluelink app, including maintenance info, the car’s location and remote locking.

There are unconventional horizontal blades across the width of the dashboard, and Hyundai has sculpted the door cards to meet the dashboard. It looks like it’s one big swoop around the driver and front passenger, similar to the flagship Hyundai Santa Fe SUV. Three interior trim levels are available, and the i20 also gets LED ambient lighting for the first time.

Safety

There’s plenty of technology to keep you entertained but the i20 also features the longest list of standard safety kit in the supermini sector. UK specs and options are yet to be finalised but highlights include intelligent speed-limit assistance, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic high-beam functionality.

Engines, fuel economy and performance

Just one engine will be available from launch in the UK: a 99bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. When fitted with the standard six-speed manual gearbox, the new i20 takes 10.4 seconds to get from 0-62mph. When driving, the gearbox can decouple the engine from the transmission as you take your foot off the accelerator, which is said to increase fuel efficiency by 3-4% on its own.

The i20 is also lighter than before, which should further improve its eco credentials. Full fuel economy details haven’t been revealed yet but, for reference, the current i20 with a 99bhp engine manages 47.9mpg.

A seven-speed automatic gearbox will also be available as an option but this gearbox is the slowest option, resulting in a 0-62mph time of 11.4 seconds.

Practicality

The 2020 Hyundai i20 is longer and wider than the car it replaces, and there’s a bigger distance between the front and rear wheels too. This will improve space for rear-seat passengers, and headroom should be generous. At 351 litres, the boot is 25 litres larger and is a generous size for a car in its class. It beats the Nissan Micra and Skoda Fabia, matches the SEAT Ibiza and is barely smaller than the boot in the Renault Clio.

Read our review of the current Hyundai i20, and see where it places on our list of the best cars for £15,000.

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