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