This is the new Hyundai ix20
It shares a great deal with sister car the Kia Venga
The ix20 has the Nissan Note and the Citroen C3 Picasso in its sights
Performance is acceptable but modest: it is not as good as the Note for example
Rear cabin space is impressive; better than a Volvo XC90
The interior is also good quality with simple, robust materials
There's nothing that seems low rent about the ix20
If you fold the rear seats flat you can accommodate 1486 litres of luggage - more than some estates
It comes with a choice of 1.4-litre petrol, 1.6-litre petrol and 1.4-litre diesel engines
All of which are given a stop-start system
What is it?
The latest offering from meteoric car-maker Hyundai – a compact MPV called the ix20 – and a car with which the firm deserves even greater success.
Over the last two years, on the back of the scrappage success of the i10 city car, Hyundai has doubled its share of the UK car market.
This year it looks like selling more than 60,000 cars in Britain: more than Fiat, Mazda, possibly Honda too.
The recipe for that success is simple: offer cars that are just as good as those of the established volume players, and in some cases better. Back them up with a great warranty. And make them outstanding value: not cheap, just good value.
Fathered by that philosophy, the ix20 has the likes of the Citroen C3 Picasso and Nissan Note in its sights.
It comes from the firm’s Nosovice plant in the Czech Republic, and shares a great deal with sister car the Kia Venga.
However, Hyundai makes the Venga for Kia, not the other way round – and as we’ll come to later, that fact allows Hyundai UK to price the ix20 even more competitively than the Kia.
What’s it like?
There is almost nothing that seems low rent about the ix20. Like the ix35 it’s handsomely styled, and has a decent quality cabin with simple, robust materials.
It’s very practical too. Hyundai loudly proclaims that, thanks to sliding rear seats, you’ll find more rear cabin space in here than in the back of a Volvo XC90. Even large adults won’t want for head- or legroom.
If you fold the rear seats flat you can accommodate 1486 litres of luggage, which is more than you get in some medium-sized estates.
All that’s missing is a folding front passenger seat for very long loads and a little extra oddment storage.
Like its Kia Venga sister model, the ix20 comes with a choice of 1.4-litre petrol, 1.6-litre petrol and 1.4-litre diesel engines – but unlike in the Venga, even the cheapest 1.4-litre petrol gets a fuel-saving engine start-stop system.
Test drives in both 1.4s revealed a car with a quiet, compliant chassis that’s perfectly suited to town use.
Mechanical refinement isn’t quite as good as we’d hoped. Hyundai’s four-cylinder diesel engine is gruff above 2500rpm and a little laggy below, but its petrol option is quieter and more responsive.
Thanks to that ISG it’s a genuine 50mpg car too, and the only petrol-engined car in the class to qualify for a £90-a-year tax disc.
There’s little on offer from the ix20 for interested drivers.
Performance is acceptable but modest, the steering system feels a little vague and inconsistently weighted, and the car lacks handling precision and body control at bigger cross-country speeds.
Such things aren’t likely to bother most mini-MPV drivers, of course – but for the record, the Nissan Note is a more engaging car to drive.
Should I buy one?
If you like a bargain, absolutely. The ix20 should cost less than £11,500, and gets ESP, air conditioning and USB connectivity as standard.
A 1.4-litre Nissan Note has a lower basic price, but fit it with the same kit, extend the warranty to five years, and you’ll find it becomes a £12,000 car that’s still less practical and economical than the ix20.
The Nissan, like pretty much every other mini-MPV, will also cost more to insure.
Cars like the Citroen C3 Picasso and new Vauxhall Meriva offer more space than this car, but at a considerable price.If you’d rather have a practical supermini that still feels small, that’s very well packaged and fit for purpose, and that you won’t have to pay a big car price for, this Hyundai comes highly recommended.
Hyundai ix20 1.4 Classic
Price: £11,395 (tbc); Top speed: 104mph; 0-62mph: 12.9sec; Economy: 50.4mpg; Co2: 130g/km; Kerbweight: 1268kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1396cc, petrol; Power: 89bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 101lb ft at 5000rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual