The i20 brought prestige gear to the city car segment
IT’S A measure of the transformation of small cars that the Hyundai i20 of a few years ago boasted features fitted only to high-end models of the previous decade.
In the case of the i20, the items from further up the food chain were auto on-off headlamps and auto door locking, which would have been unthinkable in a comparable naughties model. The multi media options were in keeping with the previous Benz S-Class limousine.
The i20 was an attractive little hatch with pleasant styling and neat proportions with good all-round vision.
A three-door model opened the range and there were fivedoor variants.
There was comfortable accommodation for four with a boot of decent proportions to carry their gear. The base spec was the Active, in three or fivedoor guise, with standard airconditioning, remote central locking and fold-flat mirrors.
Available only as a five-door, the mid-range Elite added a trip computer, leather-wrapped steering wheel and alloy wheels. The range-topping Premium five-door included such previously undreamt-of luxuries as automatic air, bigger alloy wheels and a smattering of leather trim.
In the Active, a 1.4-litre engine (73kW/136Nm) delivered performance that was modest but adequate for the class. The Elite had the 1.4 or a larger 1.6-litre with extra punch (91kW/156Nm).
The transmission options on all models were five-speed manual or four-speed auto, driving the front wheels.
After a rocky start in Australia — a serious chassis flaw in early Excels threatened to ground the brand for good— Hyundai has had a largely trouble free run and has built an enviable reputation. Quality has improved markedly and reliability is underwritten by a five-year warrant which is extant on even the earliest i20s.
Today Korea generally surpasses Japan for sophistication and quality. Buyers can have confidence when shopping for a used example. The i20, one of the latest generation of models, shows no signs of having any major flaws that should concern potential second-hand buyers.
There was one recall to replace a label on the jack— a relatively minor issue. Buyers need to be aware that the first Active cars to arrive here were equipped with front airbags only, which meant it was rated four stars by ANCAP. Later models, with a full complement of front and side airbags, rated five stars.
Importantly all had electronic stability control, as well as anti-lock brakes, traction control and electronic brakeforce distribution, all of which contribute to impressive safety cred.
As with any used car purchase, make sure your potential choice has been serviced as per Hyundai’s recommendation.
Good value-for-money, solid performance, top safety and it’s reliable. It’s worth checking out.