Hyundai launches its new Fiesta-rival
2 October 2008

Hyundai’s Paris show star was the new i20 supermini. Due in UK showrooms in early 2009, the i20 is the third instalment in Hyundai’s series of new i-badged production cars. Having been designed at the firm’s European headquarters in Russelsheim, it also further increases the Korean car brand’s emphasis on achieving sales success within the EU.At 3940mm, the i20 is a bigger car than the Getz supermini that it replaces, and thanks to a longer wheelbase offers more space for both passengers and luggage. With a prominent chrome-topped radiator grille and teardrop-shaped headlamps, it echoes the look of both the i30 and i10 models immediately above and below it in the firm’s range.Though it’s a much more conservative-looking car than the new Ford Fiesta, the i20 will attract customers with its no-nonsense value-for-money. Entry level five-doors are tipped to start from under £9000, and include air conditioning, iPod connectivity, ESP and six airbags as standard. Hyundai Motor Europe President Kun Hee Ahn introduced the i20 to the gathered press at its unveiling by saying “the i20 will be built on an entirely new platform and much of the ride and handling development took place on European roads, which has created a firm and agile drive. It offers much more in terms of standard equipment, fuel economy, interior space and style than many of its competitors.”Three engines will be offered in the new car from launch: a pair of small, normally aspirated petrol four-pots, of 1.2 and 1.4-litres and 77 and 99bhp respectively, and a 1.4-litre diesel with 90bhp, capable of close to 60mpg. 1.6-litre engines, sipping either petrol or diesel and both offering more than 125bhp, are available to Hyundai’s UK distributor, and are tipped to become sporting options later in the i20’s life.For anyone looking to keep their fuel and tax bills to an absolute minimum, an i20 i-blue model will be available too. Sharing the Paris limelight with the standard i20, the diesel-powered i-blue version uses a six-speed manual gearbox instead of the standard oil-burner’s five-speed ‘box, as well as low rolling resistance tyres, adapted aerodynamics, low friction oils and a stop/start ISG starter generator to keep CO2 emission down to 99g/km, and fuel economy up as high as 68mpg.

Matt Saunders

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