Open your i to a good
Hyundai offers a lot for less than $15,000, writes Paul Gover
IT’S arrived a week late, but the Hyundai i20 is ready to go on the carsGuide treadmill. The baby Hyundai comes with the sort of ‘‘all-new’’ promises you get with a major model change, from the engine and suspension right through to the safety pack and cabin equipment.
It also has many ‘‘surprise-and-delight’’ features that are new for a South Korean car with a $14,990 starting price, including automatic door locking and auto-off headlamps.
These sorts of things were a big deal when they first came on a Lexus LS 20 years ago and set a target for Hyundai’s price-first rivals.
But the i20 is not what it seems. It’s not a replacement for the top-selling Getz. Instead, Hyundai Automotive is using the Euro-focused i20 to spread its reach in the small-car class, most likely using a baby i10 with a $13,000-ish price after the Getz dies next year.
THE $14,990 starting point for the i20 is above the Getz, partly because it is newer and costs more to make and partly because it will be part of a two-car attack next year. There’s also a good chance the $14,990 three-door hatch will be the subject of Hyundai’s long-running ‘‘driveaway’’ pricing policy after early demand slows a little.
Eight models are in the line-up, but only the 1.4-litre Active manual makes the bottom line, with an automatic gearbox adding another $2000 and the top-line 1.6-litre Premium auto taking the price all the way to $23,490, with $320 extra for metallic paint.
The value story is still strong because the basic car comes with airconditioning, power steering and remote central locking, and the electric mirrors fold flat for tight parking spots.
Moving up to the Elite brings a trip computer, leather-wrapped steering wheel and alloy wheels. The Premium gets automatic airconditioning, bigger alloys and combination leather/cloth trim.
Compared with its rivals, the value deal on the i20 is impressive, even if the bottom line is not as sharp as some contenders.
THE mechanical platform for the i20 is new and that means lots of good things, including the latest Gamma-series four-cylinder engine. Outputs are 73.5kW/ 136Nm as a 1.4-litre and 91.1kW/156Nm in the larger 1.6, with claimed economy from 6.0 litres/ 100km and CO
2 emissions from 142g/km.
But it has only a simple torsion-beam rear axle, standard for the class, which limits suspen-
Quiet achiever: Hyundai says it has put a lot of hard work into cutting noise and improving the driving dynamics of the i20.