2015 Hyundai i20 Review

2015 Hyundai i20 Review

Priced From $15,590Information

Overall Rating

0

3 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

4 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

3 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

3 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

3 out of 5 stars

Technology

3 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProSharp pricing; long warranty.

  2. ConEngine noise; fidgety suspension.

  3. The Pick: 2016 Hyundai i20 Active 5D Hatchback

What stands out?

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The Hyundai i20 is designed to get you around a city without making a meal of your savings. It is one of the least costly new cars on the market but comes with a five-year warranty. Steering is light, and it is easy to park.

What might bug me?

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Working to keep up with traffic. The engine needs a good prod from the accelerator to provoke much response from the four-speed auto gearbox. It’s more effective if you choose the six-speed manual and change gears yourself – but you’ll be doing a lot of that.

The tinny sound from the speakers: most city cars have better audio systems.

What body styles are there?

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Three-door hatch and five-door hatch.

All i20s drive the front wheels. The i20 is classed as a light car, lower priced.

What features do all versions have?

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Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to make phone calls wirelessly and stream music from your phone to the car.

Mirrors that fold at the press of a button, to reduce the chance of damage from other cars when parked on narrow streets.

A trip computer, which predicts how far you can drive on the remaining fuel.

Six airbags: two directly in front of the driver and front passenger; side airbags to protect the upper body of front occupants; and head-protecting curtain airbags covering front and rear side windows.

There’s also a full-sized spare tyre.

Electronic stability control, which can help control a skid or slide. All new cars must have this feature.

All i20s are warrantied for five years, with no limit on distance.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

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A 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol is the only engine on offer. It is more fuel-efficient with the six-speed manual gearbox, with claimed average consumption of 5.3 litres/100km.

Most buyers prefer to let the car choose the gears, and order the four-speed automatic. With that gearbox the car uses about 10 per cent more petrol.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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The least costly i20 is the Active three-door. Spending more for an Active five-door gets you the two additional doors.

Spend more again for an i20 Elite, which is only available as a five-door, and you get a leather-wrapped steering wheel with buttons for adjusting the sound system. There are rear speakers, for better sound throughout the cabin.

The Elite also has nicer looking wheels made from aluminium alloy, and foglights at the front. (Legally, the foglights may be used only in foggy or wet weather: they are designed to help you see in fog and make your car more visible to other drivers.)

Does any upgrade have a down side?

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No, except that white is the only standard colour: the other five all cost extra.

How comfortable is it?

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The i20 is more about saving you money than pampering you. Seats, for example, are flat and don’t have much side support, so that even corners around town can have you bracing with your legs to resist sliding around. And the materials and finishes – such as the grainy dash plastics and shiny metal-look sound system and buttons – look cheap.

However, the major controls are easy to find and use.

The sound system in Active models has speakers only at the front, and the sound they produce does not have much depth or vibrancy. Even in the Elite, with its additional pair of speakers, the audio quality is best suited to talkback radio.

That’s not helped by the engine, which gets noisy if you drive it hard. And that is something you have to do frequently, especially when the terrain is hilly.

The i20 is small on the outside, and therefore it is easy to park. And it feels light to steer and quick to manoeuvre.

What about safety?

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Six airbags and stability control help the i20 reach a good level of occupant protection. It also has seatbelt warning lights for all five seats.

(To see a full list of the safety features on any model, select the car and look under the features tab. Safety-related features are listed in red.)

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has awarded the i20 its maximum five stars for safety.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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The 1.4-litre engine doesn’t have much power and you don’t have to drive it far to realise that. You often need a hefty push on the accelerator pedal to keep up with traffic or accelerate to freeway speeds.

That is not helped by the automatic transmission, which only has four ratios to choose from.

Keen drivers will get more pleasure from the manual gearbox, which is light and easy to use. The additional gear ratios help keep the engine in its happiest place.

The i20’s suspension is bumpy around town at low speeds, and big bumps (such as a pothole or speed hump) jar into the cabin.

The steering, while light and accurate, provides little feedback, and so it does not inspire confidence at open-road speeds.

How is life in the rear seats?

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It’s okay for short trips. Knee room is tight, especially if those in the front are stretching out. For such a small car, head room is not bad.

There is no more space in five-door versions than in the three-door, but they are easier to get in and out of. The three-door demands that you flip the front seat forward and squeeze between it and the door pillar.

You can’t even wind down the windows in the back of the three-door – and there are no rear air-conditioning vents.

How is it for carrying stuff?

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The boot is shallow but wide, so it will swallow a pram or some weekend-away bags. Seatbacks fold 60/40 to accommodate bulky items.

There are a couple of hooks in the boot for shopping bags.

Where is it made?

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All i20s are made in India.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

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Active safety features, such as automatic emergency braking or lane departure warning. These are options on the Mazda2.

Built-in apps that help you to stream music via your smartphone. The Mazda2 and Holden Barina have these.

A reversing camera. This feature is standard on the Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris, and is fitted to more expensive versions of competitors such as the Mazda2, Volkswagen Polo, Kia Rio and Renault Clio.

An automatic transmission with six or more ratios. Those on many other light cars have at least six gears, which boosts performance and fuel efficiency.

Cruise control. It’s less relevant in the city than on trips out of town, but it can be helpful to set a speed that the car will maintain. Other tiny hatchbacks such as the Mazda2, Volkswagen Polo, Toyota Yaris, Holden Barina and Kia Rio offer this.

Cars you might also consider include the Nissan Micra, Ford Fiesta and Suzuki Swift.

I like this car, but I can't choose which version. Can you help?

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The i20 Active five-door. Value is the key selling point with the i20, so while the Elite has some worthwhile features, the Active is better buying. We’d pay extra for the rear doors because it should make the car easier to sell when you want to trade up.

Are there plans to update this model soon?

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The i20 has reached the end of its model life. The current model went on sale in 2010 and has received updates in most years since then.

Hyundai has shown off an all-new i20 but has since said it will not come to Australia. Instead, it replaced the i20 from the third quarter of 2015 with a low-price variant of the bigger Hyundai Accent. That is powered by a 1.4 litre engine – the same size as the i20 engine – with the option of a continuously variable (CVT) auto gearbox.