Com­pact SUV in Hyundai i20 line

Hyundai has in­tro­duced a new i120 hatch­back, as well as a new com­pact SUV ver­sion, the i20 Cross, re­ports John Ox­ley.

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The newly-styled Hyundai i20 has stiffer and stronger body­work, im­prov­ing both safety and han­dling, while the Cross fea­tures styling and prac­ti­cal add-ons as well as a 20mm ride height lift and its own de­sign of 17 inch al­loy wheels, fit­ted with Pirelli tyres. The hatch has 16-inch al­loys. Aimed prin­ci­pally at the fleet mar­ket, the i20 hatch shares its 1.4-litre 74kw/134nm en­gine with the Cross, as well as the stan­dard four-speed au­to­matic gear­box. The en­gine meets Euro6 emis­sions stan­dards, and both cars use 6.7L/100km on av­er­age (157g/km CO2). Hyundai New Zealand gen­eral man­ager Andy Sin­clair says i20 Cross is set to ex­pand the com­pany’s ap­peal in the small fam­ily wagon sec­tor. Both i20 and i20 Cross are built in Hyundai’s Turk­ish fac­tory, with the Cross ver­sion an op­por­tu­nity, he says, to talk to new cus­tomers and to grow the Hyundai fam­ily. “We are grow­ing our fam­ily wagon of­fer­ing and at the same time en­gag­ing a new group of po­ten­tial cus­tomers. We can see the i20 Cross ap­peal­ing to first-time Hyundai own­ers as much as those who are fourth or fifth-time own­ers,” he says. Trim ad­di­tions on the Cross in­clude stylised front and rear bash guards, as do stan­dard roof rails. At the front there are halo­gen pro­jec­tor head­lamps and LED day­time run­ning lights, wide up­per and lower ra­di­a­tor aper­tures, and a black-fin­ished lower bumper half. Down each side the i20 fea­tures tough wheel-arch mouldings, and durable side sills. Fur­ther dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion be­tween the hatch and the Cross comes in the shape of the front and rear fog lights, which are round on the Cross, trape­zoidal on the hatch. An­other one for the “train spot­ters” is that the grille slats on the hatch are checked, and hor­i­zon­tal on the Cross. There’s also a larger rear spoiler. One of the fea­tures of the new mod­els is their use of high strength steel, now up to 40 per­cent for in­creased tor­sional rigid­ity. The elec­tric steer­ing is also im­proved, giv­ing crisp and pos­i­tive con­trol, while the rear sus­pen­sion has been re­designed for bet­ter ride and han­dling. Safety fea­tures which con­trib­ute to its four-star safety rat­ing in­clude a full com­ple­ment of six airbags – drive and pas­sen­ger dash, front seat side airbags and cur­tain airbags to pro­tect both front and rear pas­sen­gers. The re­vers­ing cam­era de­ploys au­to­mat­i­cally and dis­plays within the rear view mirror. Ac­tive safety fea­tures also in­clude the full suite of elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, trac­tion con­trol and ve­hi­cle sta­bil­ity con­trol. There are also rain sens­ing wipers and dusk-sens­ing lights. Stan­dard on both mod­els are lane de­par­ture warn­ing, tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing, cruise con­trol plus speed lim­iter, park­ing as­sis­tance, hill start as­sis­tance and park­ing as­sis­tance. There’s a ra­dio/cd with six speak­ers and steer­ing wheel con­trols. Ex­cel­lent un­der-body air­flow con­trol has re­sulted in a su­perb co­ef­fi­cient of drag of just 0.30, which is ex­cel­lent for a small hatch­back. At the launch, just be­fore Christ­mas, only Cross ver­sions were avail­able, and we were able to take these on a short drive (with a full road test to fol­low soon). The first im­pres­sions were of a very well­built car, with crisp steer­ing and han­dling. The in­te­rior fea­tures semi-soft sur­faces, and the dash­board and con­trols are well laid out. On-road per­for­mance is much as ex­pected in this en­gine size seg­ment, although at times the short­age of cogs in the gear­box, re­sult­ing in a broader-spread of gear ra­tios, could be felt. On the whole, though, a wel­come ad­di­tion to the seg­ment. It’s in­ter­est­ing to note that Hyundai is of­fer­ing a spe­cial launch dis­count of $2,000 on both mod­els – avail­able “as long as its lasts”.

Prices i20 1.4 auto $26,990 i20 1.4 Cross $29,990

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