Hyundai i20 Motion
Entry-level models can be attractive in more than one way - Hyundai's i20 shows us why.
Bargain basement, bottom drawer, cheap seats.
These phrases don’t evoke a positive feeling and most people wouldn’t want to hear them while shopping for a new set of wheels. In our world of high efficiency and cool technology, some vehicles like the cheapest Hyundai i20 can prove otherwise.
With only a few exceptions to this rule, I often notice that the most affordable car in a certain model range isn’t only the most financially sound decision but also quite a relaxing one. They look almost identical to their siblings, won’t suffer as much depreciation and are often easier to live with.
Starting at N$213,000, the Hyundai i20 1.2 Motion I tested benefits from its maker’s stylish design language, their generous equipment strategy and that impressive 5-year / 150,000km warranty. Its service plan is slightly short at two years or 30,000km but that’s part of the N$ 23,000 saving towards the next model.
More cost cutting, in no particular order, includes the lack of alloy wheels, rear park beepers, power ( rear) windows, climate control, a luggage net, power folding exterior mirrors and, uhh, that’s it, actually.
Not only does that hardly equate to N$23,000 but, hand on heart, I didn’t miss any of them while driving.
I for one welcomed the deletion of fog lamps at the front as my powers of observation tell me that the chief culprit for driving around on a clear day with all lights blazing is the Hyundai i20. Apart from the hubcaps on our grey test car, only true experts would be able to identify it as the el-cheapo version.
Even the colour coding and trim is identical to the more expensive i20’s, as is the really important stuff like alarm & immobilizer, Bluetooth, airbags, seat adjustments, seat belts with load pre-tensioners, remote central and child locking, rear folding seats, escort lighting, one-touch triple indicating and a few storage binnacles.
Convenience features it shares with its dearer brothers are a chilly glove box, trip computer, six decent speakers and a CD/AUX/USB radio sound system; among others. There are more upsides to this cheapy edition. If you really want to add parking sensors and fancy wheels, just pick your favourites from an aftermarket store!
I would almost advise against such a move as the slightly smaller wheels (185/70R14) have more rubber to act as damping when compared to the fancier i20’s 195/55R16 setup.
The basic rear suspension structure and my test car’s skinnier tyres gave a softer ride and more advanced warning when I pushed the boundaries of grip.
You’re not going to believe me but it gets even better. Skinnier tyres mean less rolling resistance so fuel consumption and noise levels are both lower.
Using the tyre dimensions above, a local shop gave me the following retail prices: N$1,100 vs N$1,400.
Yup, they're cheaper too.
As I've established that this budget version is just about identical and doesn’t skimp on the good stuff, I can tell you that driving it doesn’t feel much different from other models.
Having tried the 1.4 i20 on various occasions, I would certainly advise that petrol heads go for that one – with the biggest engine in this range.
This 1.2-litre pushes out a respectable 61kw and 115Nm which means top speed is “only” 165km/h and 0-100km/h takes a laborious 13.6 seconds.
Perhaps as gratitude for my journalistic praise, our eager grey specimen shot past the 100km/h mark in a (Gps-verified) 12.88 seconds at sea level.
While still not impressive, this little engine and car make for a fairly pleasant everyday combination.
It idles almost motionless, has sufficient torque in most of its five forward gears, brakes as asked to, features decent headlights and breezy, light steering feedback including a wellhoned homing instinct.
Hyundai claims average petrol consumption of 5.9L/100km from the 45L tank which, with a bit of effort, should be doable. Hell, its tried technology and lack of gadgets should spell cheap maintenance in the long run.
The only real problem I foresee with this car is a fully-laden holiday journey with overtaking hazards.
Other than that, this is one impressive bottom drawer model. Forget the rattling plastic cover where the radio’s supposed to be or a rubber grommet in place of an air-con button. This 1.2 Motion has all the i20 style, most of the features, is more comfortable and probably cheaper to run.