Hyundai i20 so easy going
- Credit: Hyundai
Hyundai's i20 is easy to like – a lot of car for the money that won't cost a lot to run, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
It's not difficult to see the appeal of Hyundai's 'i' range of cars – easy to drive and live with, value pricing, loads of kits and a five-year peace-of-mind warranty.
It's put the Korean car-maker on the road to success, aided enormously by the government scrappage scheme, and keeps buyers coming back for more.
I've just been driving the i20 supermini which was given a facelift last year with a new front and back end to freshen it up and even more equipment as standard.
It looks pleasant and that sums up the i20 driving experience – it gets you from A to B with the minimum of fuss and without breaking the bank to buy and run with five years of servicing and roadside assistance as standard. And that's what most drivers want these days.
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The popular 1.2-litre petrol engine is now cleaner, more efficient and more powerful.
It's flexible at low revs with enough oomph for sensible overtaking but working it hard produces more noise than performance so let it happily go about its business and go for MPG rather than MPH with 50 overall in everyday driving and nearly 60 on a gentle run. Once up to speed it copes with motorway cruising.
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Light controls and a smooth five-speed gearbox make it easy to drive in traffic.
The i20, also offered with 1.4 petrol and 1.1 and 1.4 turbo diesel engines, has been designed to give a comfortable ride with the supple suspension doing a good job of ironing out both scarred urban roads at low speed and corrugated motorways. The handling is safe and predictable but the soft suspension means noticeable body lean if you take corners fast. Push it really hard and there is some understeer but the i20 is not a car you buy for an exciting driving experience.
The i20, available with three or five doors, feels bigger than many superminis and seats four adults comfortably and you can squeeze five in for short journeys. Tall passengers will find legroom snug in the back but headroom is fine.
The 295-litre boot is deep and square so it's all useable space but if you need more capacity the 60/40 split rear seat cushions flip upright and the backs fold flat but there is a little step up from the boot floor. An underfloor tray is ideal for storing nick-nacks rather than having them rolling around in the boot.
The cabin feels well finished and, although there is a lot of hard plastic, it is nicely textured and should wear well. Large windows let in plenty of light and provide good all-round visibility for the driver – most important in a car that will spend at lot of time in urban driving.
The fascia is easy on the eye and easy to find your way round with clear, simple dials and sensible controls featuring large buttons and rotary knobs. Contrasting alloy-effect trim panels give the dashboard a stylish lift. It all works well and is simple which reinforces why little Hyundais have become so popular.
Available in Blue, Classic, Active and Style trim, all are well kitted out and big on safety with six airbags and stability control standard.
Classic includes air-conditioning, remote deadlocking, electric front windows and radio/CD with USB port and jackpoint but Active is the pick of the bunch adding alloy wheels, electric back windows, Bluetooth and front fog lights.
The i20 is a most likeable supermini that's big on appeal but not running costs.