Hyundai’s European design team was clearly briefed to give the i20 pleasant but inoffensive styling. It’s fair to say that many of the Hyundai’s aesthetic cues riff heavily on those of segment rivals, especially the Vauxhall-Corsa-alike rear lights. Post-2012 models are much improved. The model has adopted the 'fluidic's design language from its other models and is the better for it.
The mechanical layout is predictable. The i20's component set is the absolute supermini standard, with MacPherson struts and coil springs suspending the front end and a torsion beam axle at the back. Electric power assistance for the steering is about the most radical item on the spec list.
Despite being longer and wider than the Getz it replaces, the i20 isn’t particularly big by the bloated standards of modern superminis. By luck or design, it’s almost exactly the same size as the Ford Fiesta, itself the de facto arbiter of what constitutes a benchmark supermini, with the Hyundai being just 10mm shorter and 12mm narrower.
But while other manufacturers, including Ford, have successfully cut the kerb weight of new-generation superminis when compared with their predecessors, the i20 has actually put on weight. Hyundai claims that a fully loaded five-door 1.4-litre diesel version weighs 1226kg, which constitutes a 201kg increase over the Getz 1.4 GSI. It also means it’s about 140kg heavier than a 1.4 diesel Fiesta.
Hyundai would argue that much of the increase in mass is due to the i20’s comprehensive array of standard safety equipment, which resulted in a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating in 2009. Even the most basic versions get six airbags: front, side and curtain. All i20s get ESP as standard, too.