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Road Test: Hyundai i20 [2008-2010]

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The Hyundai i20 is certainly one of the best cars we’ve used in the city; it goes through traffic faster than a glutton goes through dessert at a buffet. The hatch’s handling is astounding within city speed limits and it’s a complete hoot to drive through traffic. Point the car to where you want it to go, and floor it! However be warned that spirited starts from traffic lights means plenty of torque steer and burnt rubber. Traction control would be a welcome addition – something which the new lineup of Hyundai CRDi powered cars need. Although the handling is fairly predictable there were a couple of instances where we had the rear end step out of line and were quite surprised. We do think it could have something to do with the tyres our press demonstrator was running.

Diesel engines at the end of the day are heavier than petrol engines due to heavier engine parts, most notably the block, that bear the extra stress of greater compression.  The i20 has a extra weight at its front end (74kg over the 1.2-powered variant) which has affected its handling.

The i20 has a light steering which is highly responsive until the turbo kicks in after which the steering tends to feel light momentarily – maybe due to the suspension setup. The tight turning radius coupled with the light steering makes parking convenient and effortless. Talking about cornering, our confidence to dive into a corner at high speed wasn’t too high due to the suspension set-up. All this car needs is a bit of fine tuning in its suspension and alignment and this car will be one of the best handling ones around.

The i20 rides well at low speeds, but gets bouncy at high speeds, which the engine can haul the car to in no time at all. One common complaint all of us had was the short travel of the front - even at moderate speeds, it regularly bottomed out, undermining driver confidence.

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