2020 Hyundai i20: A step up especially in terms of space, comfort

The new i20 has loads of visually interesting bits, and comes with a choice of five engine-gearbox combinations

The third-gen i20 arrives in India just months after making its debut in global markets, featuring a dramatic design and a choice of five engine-gearbox combinations.

With its tipped-forward stance, prominent frameless grille and proliferation of cuts and creases on the chin, the new i20 has loads of visually interesting bits. But while the shoulder line and unconventional C-pillar get your attention, the detail that is likely to define this car are the ‘Z’ shaped LED tail-lights.

Inside, the cabin is well-thought-out and user-friendly. The low-set dashboard allows a good view out, the touchscreen and digital instrument cluster are in clear sight, and frequently used buttons are also within easy reach. The horizontal slats that extend from the air-con vents enhance the visual width of the dashboard and feeling of space inside.

The 10.25-inch touchscreen is the largest in its class. It is slick to use, packs in Hyundai’s BlueLink connected car tech and is paired with a nice sounding Bose audio system. Sadly, the all-black cabin can look dull; the plastics on the glovebox lid and windowsill feel scratchy, and there is no use of fabric or soft-touch materials on the door pads either. Front seat comfort is good but cushioning at the lower back is a touch soft on versions with fabric upholstery. Leatherette upholstery is unique to the Turbo version and it does help uplift the ambience inside.


  • Engine 1197cc, 4-cyls, naturally aspirated petrol; 998cc, 3-cyls, turbocharged; 1493cc, 4-cyls, turbocharged
  • Max Power 83hp at 6000rpm; 120hp at 6000rpm; 100hp at 4000rpm
  • Max Torque 115Nm at 4200rpm; 172Nm at 1500-4000rpm; 240Nm at 1500-2750rpm
  • Gearbox 5-speed manual; 7-speed dual-clutch automatic; 6-speed manual
  • Length 3995mm
  • Width 1775mm
  • Height 1505mm
  • Wheelbase 2580mm
  • Boot Capacity 311 litres
  • Tank size 37 litres
  • Tyres 195/55 R16

Where the new i20 feels vastly superior to its predecessor is in rear seat space. There is ample kneeroom and headroom for six footers, and fitting in a third passenger is not much of a squeeze either. The seatback is nicely reclined, and the centre armrest is also well positioned. There is plenty of other equipment too — LED projector headlights, an onboard air purifier, ambient lighting, and a segment-first tyre pressure monitoring system, among other things.

There are five engine-gearbox configurations to choose from starting with an 83hp, 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol, offered with either a manual or CVT auto gearbox. Next is a 120hp, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol, which is offered with either an iMT or a 7-speed dual-clutch auto. Rounding out the line-up is a 100hp 1.5-diesel, offered solely with a 6-speed manual.

Hyundai’s 1.0 Turbo GDI engine is not the liveliest engine at low revs but the i20’s DCT does a good job of masking the weak bottom end. Part-throttle responses are good and there is a nice tug from about 2,000rpm or so; the engine pulls cleanly in the mid-range. Drive with verve and you will note the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox is not as quick and snappy as you would expect of a DCT. Sport mode does speed things up to an extent and the gearbox is also nice and responsive to manual shifts via the gear lever but, sadly, there are no paddleshifters.

Coming to the diesel, Hyundai’s 1.5-litre unit is not an outright punchy engine but what you will like is its flexibility. The build of speed from low RPMs is rather nice. There is a slight bump in power around 2,000rpm and that power stays with you till about 4,000rpm. The standard-fit 6-speed manual is slick, and the clutch is also well weighted. The 1.2-litre petrol in comparison is rather humdrum, with meek low-speed responses. You will find yourself hunting for lower gears in stop-start traffic, something made easier by the light clutch and slick gearbox.

The i20 steering is smoother than its predecessor’s and handling is quite tidy. True to Hyundai tradition, it is the diesel that is the best setup of the i20s. The car tends to wash wide and while there is grip from the chassis, the tyres don’t hold on gamely enough. Still, it is a pleasant car to drive. In terms of ride comfort, the i20 rounds off the bumps well. Ride quality is well judged and the suspension is nicely damped.

As a product, the i20 takes a step up, especially in terms of space, comfort and driving manners, with the diesel being the nicest to drive. The turbo-petrol DCT has its appeal as an upmarket hatchback with a fun side, rather than as an all-out sporty hatchback.

The i20’s prices start at ₹6.8 lakh for the 1.2 petrol-manual while the fully-loaded 1.0 Turbo DCT costs ₹11.18 lakh. The best-specced diesel costs ₹10.6 lakh, which makes the i20 pricier than all its rivals.

Whether buyers will see the new i20 as a no-compromise premium hatchback will determine if the latest i20 can build on the success of its predecessor.

Source: Read Full Article