Why would I buy one
- Looks good
- Loaded with features
- Strong performance from the 1.0-litre turbo motor
Why would I avoid it
- Bumpy low-speed ride
- Iffy plastic quality in some places
The new Hyundai i20 is for those who want a premium hatchback but at the same time also want all the features and performance that we see in the compact SUVs and that makes it an expensive proposition. Hyundai has its hatchback segmentation clear. For the price-conscious buyer, you have the Santro, for the value for money consumer you have the Grand i10 Nios and then sitting right at the top is the i20 which despite being a hatchback has almost all the features from the higher segment Verna sedan and the Venue.
Engines and Performance
Alright, time to talk out about its engines. The 2020 Hyundai i20 gets three engine options to choose from, and there are quite a few gearbox options as well. So, you have a 1.0-litre turbo petrol, 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated petrol, and a 1.5-litre diesel unit. What we are driving is the 1.0-litre T-GDi unit, which is paired to a seven-speed DCT. Now, this is the same engine that you also get in the Verna Turbo, and in the exact same spec.
So, on offer is about 120bhp and a little over 170Nm of peak torque. Refinement from the engine is top-notch and it is an extremely smooth unit. While driving around the city, it feels completely at home and fuss-free. Thanks to the torque on offer, making gaps and quick overtakes are effortless, and keeps the drive stress-free.
Hit the highways, and again, there is power aplenty. The acceleration won’t shove you in the seats, but it’s quick. It gets to triple-digit speeds very quickly and can hold it very comfortably too. The seven-speed DCT is quick and smooth, and compliments the engine well. Its fuel-efficient too, with Hyundai claiming an ARAI-certified fuel economy of 20.25kmpl.
Ride and Handling
So, even as an everyday car, the i20 Turbo is brilliant. It can commute, makes weekend drives fun, and takes you to places quickly. But what about the ride and handling? Well, talking about the ride quality, the low-speed ride is a little bumpy, and you can feel the ruts and bumps filter in. But, drive a little faster, and the damping improves significantly. Talking about its handling, the light steering is a boon in the tight confines of the city.
The steering is quick and the Hyundai i20 changes directions very quickly. Now, Hyundai is claiming this i20 Turbo to be a hot hatch. And hot, it certainly is. It has got the credentials. At 120bhp, it is more powerful than the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI, which is its only hot-hatch competitor. It also gets a quick-shifting twin-clutch automatic gearbox and Hyundai claims a sub-10 second 0-100kmph time.
But the fly in the ointment is the steering. It is light, which is a boon in the city but feels oversensitive at higher speeds. It’s also very vague at the centre, and devoid of any feel, which robs some of the engines’ enthusiasm. So, it’s a fun quick car, which will keep the average driver smiling, but serious enthusiasts will want more.
Interior Space and Quality
We had mixed feelings about the way the new Hyundai i20 looks, but talking about its interiors, well, we like the dashboard layout. It’s clean, non-fussy, and is flowing. We also like the vent-like design that runs across the dash, and how the air-con controls are stacked neatly in what looks like a pod. The big 10.25-inch screen sits nicely in the middle and looks great. And, you also get this soothing blue ambient lighting that adds to the experience.
However, the all-black dash looks a little boring, and Hyundai could have used more colours or piano black finish in more places. That apart, the plastic quality does not look its premium best, and the lack of any soft-touch material is not a good feeling either. Bottom-line is that while the interiors look great, we would have appreciated it if it felt just as good too. Now, let’s get to the seating comfort and space on offer.
Starting with the front seats, the cushioning is good and there is good support all-around. The steering is adjustable for rake and reach, and the view is excellent, thanks to the sloping bonnet which will also help beginner drivers. Now, let’s take a look at how the back seat is.
So, let me clear the dimensions first. The wheelbase has gone up by 10mm, so the legroom is fantastic. It’s also wider than before and has more shoulder room, so seating three people should be reasonably comfortable. The only gripe I can see is the under-thigh support, which could have been a little better. Also, the boot space has gone up by a big margin, and can now hold 311 litres of luggage. Overall the new i20 is as spacious as it gets and is one of the most spacious cars in its segment.
Features and Safety
The all-new Hyundai i20 gets wireless charging with cooling function, which is a first in its segment. This new avatar gets a bucket-load of features. You get an electric sunroof, digital cluster with MID, air purifier, cooled glove-box, and voice-activated Blue Link. It also gets a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which feels great and is very intuitive to use. You get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and multi-device Bluetooth connectivity.
But that’s not all. To please the audiophiles out there, the system is linked to a seven-speaker Bose music system, which includes four speakers, two tweeters, a subwoofer, and an amplifier. On the safety front, you get six airbags, vehicle stability management, ESC, and hill assist control.
The new Hyundai i20 aims to appeal to a wide audience by offering a multitude of engine and gearbox options. Prices start at Rs 6.80 Lakh (ex-showroom, India) for the base variant, while this Asta option Turbo DCT is priced at Rs 11.33 lakh (ex-showroom, India). Now, this is significantly more expensive than the Polo GT TSI which is its direct hot hatch rival. But, you also get almost 40-plus features over the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI, and not to mention, more performance as well.