sion development, though there are four-wheel disc brakes. The five-speed manual gearbox is what you expect, but there is still only a fourspeed auto across the range.
Hyundai claims a lot of work went into cutting noise and improving the driving dynamics of the car, but it has no Australian input on the suspension settings.
THE i20 is a good-looker with big headlamps alongside the family grille, a cute back end and reasonable cabin space. The interior steps up a long way from the Getz, particularly in the finishing of the plastics — and even the layout and operation of the dials and readouts — because it’s aimed at people who could be spending more than $20,000.
The seats are well shaped and have space for four adults, visibility is good in all directions and the final finishing is as good as anything in the class.
THE i20 comes with everything you need and expect these days, from six airbags to anti-skid brakes, but there is a catch.
The first shipment of basic Active cars has only a pair of front airbags and there will be a price increase next month when it, too, moves to a six-airbag interior.
So Hyundai currently claims a four-star rating for the $14,990 car and a full five-star result for the rest of the range, with five-star across the board soon.
The car has ABS braking and electronic stability control, with traction control included, as well as electronic brakeforce distribution.
But there is no chance to compare the operation of the electronics with its rivals, or the sort of cars — let’s say a BMW 5 Series — which set the benchmark for calibration of active safety systems to avoid a crash.
THE i20 is nice enough for the size and price, though it does not rival the sporty feel of a Ford Fiesta or the all-round quality of the pricier (much) Volkswagen Passat.
The best comparison is against the Getz and the i20 is roomier, quieter, more comfortable and compliant than Hyundai’s current babyclass contender.
The engine is sprightly up to about 4000 revs, but is not keen to push to the redline, and the gearbox is slick and easy to use.
The suspension is all right for the job, but I find the steering has the same sort of ‘‘binding’’ feel that mars the bigger i45, without the wobbly front suspension of the Sonata replacement.
So it’s fine for the price and everyday commuter work, but not remotely sporty.
She says (with Alison Ward)
THE i20 is what it is— a cheap small car, mostly for first-car buyers. It fits four people fine, and it actually has a bigger boot than I expected. It doesn’t have much guts, which I also expected.
I’d definitely wait to get the six-airbag model, even if it cost an extra $500.
But I couldn’t buy one, for a single, simple reason.
The air vents in the centre of the dash blow straight on to my hands all the time, freezing my hands and making driving a pain.
So that’s game over for me.
A BIG step up from the Getz, and solid for the size and price. But not a standout.