The lightness of the controls sets out the Hyundai’s dynamic stall – this is a car designed around ease of operation. The clutch pedal’s lack of resistance takes some getting used to, but the light steering and the light, accurate gearshift make the i20 a restful companion.
It’s also obvious that the i20 is focused more on comfort than outright handling control. The Hyundai’s soft suspension settings deal well with urban potholes, but ask it to travel at a faster clip across country and the suspension struggles to keep the body level and stable over short-frequency undulations.
The i20’s biggest dynamic flaw is the electrically assisted power steering. It has a strange, gloopy resistance and gives little impression of how much grip is left.
Then there’s the modest grip served up by the tyres. Negotiating wet roundabouts at the same speed as prevailing traffic can have the front end nudging wide. A good job that UK i20s come with stability control as standard.
That said, all the basics are in place: the chassis has balance and the car's handling responses are deft enough. It is surprisingly composed and dynamically accomplished. There’s much less body roll and it steers with neat, accurate precision. In fact, if you’ll excuse the stereotyping, the i20 drives like a German car – not surprising since that’s where much of the high-speed and handling testing was done.
The Blue version gets special low-rolling-resistance eco tyres which do alter the dynamics of the i20 slightly. In general, the ride and handling blend of this model is okay, but the eco tyres seem to do little for ride comfort, and contribute to an even more conspicious lack of steering precision and response compared with other cars in this class.