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

What is it?

It’s when you can’t stay in sixth gear on a flat surface through a 50mph motorway roadworks without its engine grumbling about the load, at well under 2000rpm, that you realise where the i20 Blue finds some of its ability to return 76.4mpg on the combined cycle.

This leggy gearing is no higher than the standard 89bhp diesel variant of the i20 supermini. But it makes the 111g/km car the ideal starting point.

From there, Hyundai adds stop-start, a rear wheel wind deflector and an underfloor cover for the rear suspension. When I was a lad studying engineering, I was told that up to 30 per cent of a car’s aerodynamic efficiency comes from underneath it, so this stuff can make a big old difference.

So, too, do low rolling resistance tyres, with the upshot that the i20 Blue has emissions 12 per cent lower than the standard Comfort trim on which it’s based. Its 98g/km is the lowest in Hyundai’s range. And although it’s 3g/km higher than a Ford Fiesta Econetic, it’s also £1300 cheaper and still gets you free road tax. It’s pretty well equipped, too.

What’s it like?

The i20 Blue isn’t, unlike the Fiesta, is a great pleasure to drive. The diesel’s a grumbly enough thing at idle, though you hear it less once you’re at speed. In general the ride and handling blend is okay; but whatever favours the eco tyres do for the ride, they presumably contribute to the steering’s lack of precision and response compared to other cars in this class.

Should I buy one?

In some respects the i20 is, well, respectable. It has an average interior finish and a feel that it’s lower in premium than the Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa or Volkswagen Polo count against it, but none of those offers so few emissions for such little money.

Hyundai i20 Blue

Price: £13,195: Top speed: 108mph: 0-62mph: 13.5sec; Economy: 76.4mpg; Co2: 98g/km; Kerbweight: 1222kg; Engine: 4cyls, 1396cc, turbodiesel; Power: 89bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 162lb ft at 1750-2750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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sjharley 27 August 2011

Re: Hyundai i20 Blue

I struggle with the i20 full stop, when you can get a i30 comfort for less than 11k why would you spend 9.5k on something smaller and worse from the same manufacturer...surely if you can't stretch to the i30 then the i10 Makes more sense to me than the i20. I mean ford have a five grand gap from base fiesta to base focus on their list prices.

tannedbaldhead 26 August 2011

Re: Hyundai i20 Blue

nimmler wrote:
ONLY buy Korean cars is because they are cheap with a long warranty.

I have no doubt a lot of people will. That said, there are a few gems spattered about the Hyundai/Kia range.

And yes,

nimmler wrote:
This BLAND forgettable car
isn't one of them.

thebaldgit 26 August 2011

Re: Hyundai i20 Blue

I agree with TegTypeR that the Hyundai i20 is now starting to show its age, and i am guessing that they know this and are releasing these sort of cars to shift models.