Another step forward for Hyundai, but needs more visual and dynamic flair

Our Verdict

Hyundai i20

Hyundai’s i20 is all about quality and value rather than desirability, although a nip and tuck in 2012 has helped

  • First Drive

    Hyundai i20 1.2 Active

    New Hyundai i20 is smarter, cleaner and more grown-up than the outgoing model. It’s certainly well worth a close look.
  • First Drive

    Hyundai i20 Blue

    A few niggles when it comes to refinement of driving experience, but it’s hard to argue with 98g/km
16 December 2008

What is it?

This is the Hyundai i20 1.2 Comfort, part of Hyundai’s continuing assault on the small car sector.

The Hyundai i20 is the Korean firm’s replacement for the Getz supermini and a new rival for the latest Ford Fiesta. This is our first opportunity to sample it on UK roads.

What’s it like?

As we’ve come to expect, buying a Hyundai offers a saving over its competitors, but is it enough? The Hyundai i20 is competing in one of the toughest market segments, and while the new Fiesta is our current favourite of its rivals, there are many other excellent alternatives, including the Vauxhall Corsa, Skoda Fabia and Mazda 2.

Next to these, the Hyundai i20 1.2 Comfort drives well enough, with a keenness to change direction, a decent amount of throttle adjustability and accurate (if over-light) steering. The engine is both reasonably peppy and emits just 124g/km of CO2, making it cleaner than its immediate rivals.

It could do with a taller fifth gear for motorways, but while the looks might be forgettable, the i20’s packaging is efficient, particularly for rear-seat passengers.

So the i20 is a perfectly good car, then, and vastly superior to the one it replaces, but it fails to deliver much in the way of flair and desirability. The interior in particular is pretty drab and unappealing.

Should I buy one?

For many, the Hyundai i20 1.2 Comfort will make a decent case for itself. And you can point to Hyundai’s five-year warranty, as well as the price advantage, and argue that desirability is something you can forgo. If that’s the case then the i20 is a decent car that will most likely serve you well.

However, if you can stretch to the Fiesta and live with steel wheels, you’ll be getting not only a technically superior but also a more satisfying car. And for similar money, the Seat Ibiza gets close to the i20 on toys and is styled with more panache.

Jamie Corstorphine

Join the debate

Comments
3

17 December 2008

never before has the service bus on a cold, rainy winters morning looked so attractive.......

17 December 2008

I think Hyundai have done a good job here. It may not end up with the same sort of waiting lists as that of the hugely successful i10, but it certainly offers amazing value for money. It's just unfortunate that it's come at pretty much the same time as the more expensive, but far more stylish New Fiesta. Still, it'll provide thousands of people with value-for-money, safe, reliable motoring. No doubt it will look better in another colour other than red, too!

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

TD7

8 June 2009

I have just bought a 1.2 Classic under the Scrappage scheme and i must admit i am very impressed with it. Good looks, well finished with a supurb smooth gearbox, excellent equipment level, and a 5 year warranty, all for £6000 to change!. The only flaw so far is the stereo sometimes fails to come on a quick fiddle with the fuse box and it works!.

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