Road Test: Hyundai i20 [2008-2010]

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The Korean designers have given the i20 brown and beige with some black on the dash. The steering wheel has audio controls on it and there are three dials in the instrument gauge cluster, where the small central dial has a temperature gauge and fuel level indicator mounted on either side. The speedo is backlit with red lights with no option to adjust the brightness. The electrically adjustable mirrors can be opened or folded at the touch of a button even when the key isn’t inserted, and the multi-functional buttons on the steering work without the key turned to the ‘on’ position, which are features not found in many other cars.

The centre console has a digital multi-function display which displays the time, date, distance covered, current audio track, fuel efficiency and ambient temperature. It can be turned off with the button called ‘Dark’. The centre console features two knobs for the air-conditioning unit and a centrally integrated audio system located above it, and points for USB and other auxiliary inputs below it; adjacent to the cigarette lighter with the vertical vents on both sides. The sound quality of the audio system on the i20 is decent, however our test car gave out an odd sound from the speakers – like radio interference – whenever we honked while playing through the auxiliary input. The centre console also has an indicator and warning for seatbelts for all five passengers. The gear knob has a combination of black, chrome and brown, with a slot ahead of the lever to place your mobile phone and two cupholders followed by one for bottles behind the knob. The glovebox is illuminated and chilled, which is a nice touch.

The seats of the i20 are flat and didn’t feel like they were bolstered enough in the right places. It took all of us quite a few attempts until we found a seating position that felt comfortable. There is immense legroom in the front row, which will comfortably seat six-footers. Short drivers will particularly like the seat height adjustment while a steering wheel that tilts and telescopes and a dead pedal help with overall driver ergonomics. However, the rear gets cramped when tall people are seated comfortably in the front seats despite it having a wheelbase of 2525mm, which longer than the Fabia, the Punto and even the new Indigo Manza, which is 2520mm! Rear seat occupants will also feel a little claustrophobic due to the small, tapering rear windows and thick C pillars. The rear seat splits 60:40 and the boot of the i20 seems big when you consider the volume (295 litres) but the space isn’t as usable as a Punto or a Fabia’s boot’s.

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