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The Hyundai i20 has everything from a sporty design, spacious interiors, exciting features to clever engines that made it an instant success. First launched in the year 2009, the i20 received its mid-life facelift in 2012 when the car also received mechanical updates. Wearing new curves and styling element, the face lifted i20 looks fresher and sportier. However, it shares a great resemblance with the old i20, the new large headlamps, revised front bumper, slim grille, chrome door handles, tail lamps and rear spoiler give it a unique look.
The icing on the cake is its premium cabin made of rich quality plastic and top-notch features. The leather covered steering wheel, glossy chrome gearlever, new digital temperature and fuel gauges, armrest for driver’s seat and well-cushioned seats with rich upholstery are up-market, adding more to its elegance. Hyundai launched the facelift i20 in two petrol (1.2-litre Kappa and 1.4-litre Gamma AT) and one diesel (1.4-litre CRDi) engine options. The new Hyundai i20 gets the same 1.2-litre Kappa petrol engine but with the dual VTVT (Variable Timing Valve Train) technology for the intake and exhaust valves, which has helped the car get better in terms of fuel economy.
Mated with a five-speed manual transmission, the new i20 Kappa petrol delivers a mileage of 15kmpl on urban roads and 17kmpl on highways. It is competent to mark 0-100kmph in speedometer just in 15.2 seconds and attains a top speed of 154kmph. This power-unit makes a maximum power of 82.9bhp @ 5200rpm and 113.7Nm of peak torque @ 4000rpm. The 1.4-litre Gamma AT petrol engine churns out a peak power of 98.6bhp @ 5500rpm and a torque of 136.3Nm @ 4200rpm. It is coupled with a four speed automatic transmission and consumes more fuel than the Kappa petrol unit. It offers a mileage of 11.4kmpl in city and 15.1kmpl on highways.
The Gamma AT petrol engine features an over drive lock mechanism and variable line pressure system that improve its efficiency and life. It accelerates 0-100km within 15.4 seconds and achieve a top speed of 170kmph. Coming to the new i20 diesel, its 1.4-litre CRDi diesel engine delivers the best torque output in this segment. However, the power figures aren’t too exciting. It produces a maximum power of 88.8bhp @ 4000rpm and 220N of peak torque @ 1750 – 2750rpm. This powertrain is boosted with Electric Exhaust Gas Recirculation with cooler and hydraulic lash adjustors that reduce the NVH levels, emission and maintenance cost of the car. It delivers an impressive mileage of 18kmpl in city and 23kmpl on highways.
The i20 diesel excites with its acceleration competency. It can achieve 0-100km in just 13.2 seconds with a top speed of 166kmph. When it comes to performance and handling, the new Hyundai i20 fails to distinguish itself from its elder sibling. Despite improved refinement levels, the engine breathes out even on smooth roads. The throttle response is prompt, but not better than before. The mid-range performance is good. The suspension is tuned for better drivability over broken surfaces.
The facelift Hyundai i20 is available in two petrol and one diesel engine options. The 1.2-litre Kappa petrol engine now gets the VTVT (Variable Timing Valve Train) technology that contributes to the fuel economy of the car. It is mated with a five-speed manual transmission. The Kappa petrol engine is relatively more fuel efficient than the Gamma petrol unit, delivering a mileage of 15kmpl on urban roads and 17kmpl on highways. The 1.4-litre Gamma petrol engine offers a mileage of 11.4kmpl in city and 15.1kmpl on highways. The 1.4-litre CRDi diesel engine is coupled with a six-speed manual transmission and delivers the class leading fuel economy of 18kmpl in city and 23kmpl on highways.
The design of the new Hyundai i20 is inspired from the company’s patented fluidic sculpture, which gives it a true European look. Hyundai has added some new styling elements like large headlamps, revised front bumper, slim grille, tail lamps, chrome door handles and rear spoiler to the car. However, it looks identical to its original version. The 14-inches, 8 spoke alloy wheels enhance sporty and outgoing personality of the car. The puncture resistant tubeless tyres are affixed on these wheels. The base variants of the new i20 (Era, Magna and Magna optional) are assembled with the 175/70 R14 size of tyres and top variants (Sportz, Asta and Asta optional) get the 185/65 R14 size of tyres. The wheels are robust enough to maintain the balance of the car, but are smaller than the top-end variants of its rivals (i.e. Maruti Swift ZDi and ZXi).
The rear of the new model hasn’t received much alteration and looks familiar to its old version. The redesigned rear spoiler, tail lamps, electro chromic mirror, auto headlight control function, rain sensing wipers, rear parking camera add more to its new appearance. The build quality is as robust as before. The new Hyundai i20 is bigger than its elder sibling. Its length has been increased by 55mm and now it measures 3995mm. The width (1710mm), height (3940mm) and wheelbase (2525mm) remain unchanged. The ground clearance of 165mm helps the car in its handling and drivability. All variants of the new Hyundai i20 are available in six shades - Coral White, Ember Grey, Maharajah Red, Sleek Silver, Twilight Blue and Bronze.
Hyundai played a safe game by making no major changes to the interiors of the new model. The cabin feels airy with the beige theme, while the black and brown shades are used in the areas with frequent human touch. The seats are comfortable with good lateral support, but complained for the hard components. There is ample legroom, headroom and shoulder-room for front and rear passengers. The ingress and egress are easy for an average height Indian. The driver seat gets an armrest and height adjustment feature. Despite having compact dimensions, it offers ample cabin space for five passengers.
The electrically adjustable ORVMs and rear view mirror provide wide view of the area while driving the car. However, the low slung seats arrangement and mounted dashboard work against the visibility. The 4-spoke steering wheel is light and smooth. The dashboard is simple yet purposeful. The new Hyundai i20 comes with a plenty of rich features like new MID display, more efficient climate control unit, sound audio system with Bluetooth, USB and Aux-in support, chrome gearlever, lots of storage space and many more. The boot space (295-litre) is good enough to store a small family luggage. If you want more, you can fold its rear seat (with 60:40 folding ratio) to avail more cargo area.
Engine and Transmission
The engine options remain unchanged with the new Hyundai i20, but are tuned for more power. The facelift i20 is available in two petrol (1.2-litre Kappa PL and 1.4-litre Gamma AT) engine and one diesel (1.4-litre CRDi) engine options. The 1.2-litre Kappa engine is now boosted with the dual VTVT (Variable Timing Valve Train) technology, which enhance the fuel economy and engine performance. It churns out a peak power of 82.9bhp @ 5200rpm and a torque of 113.7Nm @ 4000rom. The Kappa petrol is mated with a five-speed manual transmission and easily accelerates 0-100km just in 15.2 seconds with a top speed of 154kmph. It offers a mileage of 15kmpl in city and 17kmpl on highways.
The 1.4-litre Gamma AT petrol unit develops 98.6bhp of peak power at 5500rpm and torque of 136.3Nm at 4200rpm. It is coupled with a four-speed automatic transmission and offers a decent mileage of 11.4kmpl on urban roads and 15.1kmpl on highways. It sports an over drive lock and variable line pressure system contributing to overall performance of the engine. The new i20 Gamma is a real thrill for the car enthusiasts that can accelerate 0-100km just in 15.4 seconds with a top speed of 170kmph. The new Hyundai diesel produces the best torque output in this segment. However, the turbo lag is significant till 1700rpm.
Its 1.4-litre CRDi diesel power-unit produces a maximum power of 88.8bhp at 4000rpm and 220N of peak torque at 1750 – 2750rpm. This power-unit features an Electric Exhaust Gas Recirculation with cooler and hydraulic lash adjustors that contribute to its well-controlled NVH levels, lower emission and low maintenance. In terms of fuel efficiency, the new i20 diesel proves to be a better performer than the Maruti Swift and the Volkswagen Polo. It delivers a mileage of 18kmpl on urban roads and 23kmpl on highways. This economical engine is competent to achieve 0-100km within 13.2 seconds with a top speed of 166kmph.
Performance and Handling
The handling and driving dynamics of the new Hyundai i20 are decent. The front McPherson strut with Gas shock absorber and rear couple torsion beam axle with gas shock absorber suspensions absorb the jerks to offer a comfortable ride over bumpy roads. The turbo starts rotating at 1700rpm and shows its real power at 2000rpm. The facelift Hyundai i20 diesel performs brilliantly up-to 4500rpm and accelerates at 130-140kph, while most of the cars from this segment breathe out at high speeds. The light transmission gearbox feels smooth to operate. The NVH levels are well-controlled, but wheel noise is quite audible in cabin. Coming to the new i20 petrol, in terms of handling and ride quality, it’s great for city driving. But, at high speeds (120-130kph) it shivers and feels very nervous. The turning radius is 5.2-meters, but it’s easy to control the car at sharp turns.
Braking and Safety
The braking performance of the new Hyundai i20 is excellent. The 1.4-litre petrol engine powered i20 gets the standard front and rear disc brakes, whereas, the 1.2-litre petrol variants come with the rear drum brakes. The ABS (Anti-lock braking system) with EBD (Electronic brake force distribution) is also integrated for high-class safety purpose that helps handle the unexpected surprises and panic braking situations. Equipped with various safety features, the new i20 brings an ultimate experience of smooth and safe drive that include six airbags, ABS braking system with EBD, brake assist, driver seat belt warning lamp, Immobilizer iCATS, reverse parking sensors, child lock, impact sensing auto door unlock, keyless entry with folding key, central lock, front and rear fog lamps, burglar alarm and more.
With better looks, premium interiors, decent handling and performance, the new Hyundai i20 proves to be a practical value for money car. Its bold and sporty styling is appealing. The premium cabin remains same, but some rich modifications add more to its comfort and elegance. Both the petrol engines (1.2-litre Kappa and 1.4-litre Gamma) are good performers. The new i20 diesel delivers the class leading torque and fuel efficiency with six-speed transmission. The driving dynamics and handling are decent. The ride gets bumpy over rough roads, but doesn’t feel uncomfortable. The new Hyundai i20 is an ideal urban family car, priced at Rs.4.99 lakh to Rs.8.08 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Hyundai i20 vs Maruti Suuzki Swift vs Volkswagen Polo
The new Maruti Suzuki Swift and Volkswagen Polo are two closest rivals of the new Hyundai i20 in the Indian market. The Hyundai i20 looks younger, sportier and more outgoing than its predecessor. The new large headlamps, revised front bumper, slim grille, chrome door handles, new tail lamps and rear spoiler are the major cosmetic changes given to the car that enhance its overall appearance. The new Maruti Swift is bigger, longer and wider than before. On the other side, with compact and sporty design, the new Volkswagen Polo looks very outgoing. The robust body build and elegant cosmetic alterations mark distinction to its portfolio.
The new Hyundai i20 offers the best interior in the premium hatchback segment. There is ample space for front and rear seat passengers. However, the seat compounds are hard. In terms of comfort and richness, the new i20 has much more to offer than the two other rivals. On the other side, the Volkswagen Polo charms with its well-designed and stylish interior. The seating arrangement is very comfortable. The front and rear passengers can stretch their legs and sit comfortably. Coming to the new Maruti Swift, the offered elegance, richness and comfort of the new Swift is unmatched in its class.
The new Hyundai i20 diesel engine is more efficient than its own petrol power-units. The torque output is impressive, but when it comes to power performance, it’s just average. The throttle response isn’t prompt and there is significant turbo lag till 1700 RPM. The Volkswagen Polo petrol and diesel engines offer a decent fuel efficiency and power and torque output. But, when compared with its rivals, it has nothing exceptional to claim. The Maruti Swift offers the class leading performance and fuel efficiency that make it the most preferred choice of the Indian buyers. In terms of drivability and handling, the new Swift has an upper hand over the new i20 and Polo.
The new Hyundai i20 is a good urban family car, which is available within the price range of Rs.4.99 lakh to Rs.8.08 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). While, the Volkswagen Polo is relatively an expensive affair. The new Maruti Swift is the only car that brings true value of your money. The overall styling, engine performance and drivability of the Swift are unbeatable in this segment.
10 February 2015, 11:01 IST by Aditya Chatterjee
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