Hyundai of­fers more of same

ROAD TEST/ Hyundai has added the Ac­tive vari­ant to its i20 range to take on the pseudo cross­over B-seg­ment bri­gade, writes Lerato Matebese

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

Volk­swa­gen’s Cross Polo was the first model to bring the faux cross­over look to the B-seg­ment of the mar­ket, of­fer­ing a slightly raised ride height, plas­tic ap­pendages and roof rails over its con­ven­tional si­b­ling, but en­gines and over­all ca­pa­bil­ity re­mained, well, ex­actly the same.

How­ever, the model opened it­self up to an au­di­ence that as­pires to the out­doorsy, SUV­type ve­hi­cle, but not nec­es­sar­ily with the price tag nor the run­ning costs that come with such ve­hi­cles. It of­fered own­ers some­thing a touch dif­fer­ent from the gar­den va­ri­ety model on which it is based. In fact, it is a tra­jec­tory that Volk­swa­gen has con­tin­ued with the Polo Vivo Maxx — es­sen­tially the out­go­ing Cross Polo — as it awaits to launch the lat­est Cross Polo based on the most re­cent it­er­a­tion of its best­selling model.

Now Hyundai is try­ing its hand at the fad with the i20 Ac­tive, which es­sen­tially takes the run-of-the-mill model and spruces it up with a num­ber of ex­te­rior items that in­clude front and rear scuff plates and roof rails and 16-inch al­loy wheels.

The in­te­rior is pep­pered with black and red trim­mings on the seats and door pan­els that might not be to ev­ery­one’s taste, but the rest of the cabin is stan­dard i20 ar­chi­tec­ture with good qual­ity ma­te­ri­als and con­tem­po­rary tech fea­tures.

The lat­ter in­cludes the in­fo­tain­ment screen — an op­tional item as we first ex­pe­ri­enced in the Creta cross­over and also an item found in the Tuc­son, which in­cludes nav­i­ga­tion as stan­dard and has a rel­a­tively crisp res­o­lu­tion and is easy to use.

Un­der the bon­net still re­sides the com­pany’s fa­mil­iar 1.4l en­gine that pushes out 74kW and 133Nm through a six-speed man­ual. While the en­gine it­self might feel less sprightly than its tur­bocharged ri­vals, it is a smooth op­er­a­tor with a slick gear­box that makes for re­laxed ev­ery­day driv­ing.

Dur­ing the test ten­ure, the model re­turned a fuel con­sump­tion fig­ure of 7.4l/100km, which was ac­cept­able for the most part, pro­vided you do not wring its neck to com­pen­sate for the lack­lus­tre power de­liv­ery on of­fer. In­stead what the i20 Ac­tive brings to the ta­ble is a spunkier ver­sion of the al­ready re­spectably good i20, but now with bet­ter con­nec­tiv­ity and a more con­tem­po­rary in­te­rior while of­fer­ing good build qual­ity and peace of mind thanks to an in­dus­try lead­ing sev­enyear/200,000km warranty.

As far as stan­dard equip­ment goes, the model comes well equipped, but where the i20 and the Ac­tive vari­ant truly shine is in the re­fine­ment stakes where the model feels more grown-up and com­posed than, say, the Honda Jazz or Toy­ota Yaris, which bodes well for those look­ing to buy within the Korean mar­que’s fold.

You get a fairly de­cent boot at 285l (1,001l with the rear seats folded) and there is more than enough leg and head­room up front to ac­com­mo­date most body frames, while the rear quar­ters are fairly gen­er­ous for the seg­ment.

At R279,900 the model does have to con­tend with some good propo­si­tions in the seg­ment, in­clud­ing the Volk­swa­gen Polo and even the re­cently launched Nis­san Mi­cra, which both punch with three-cylin­der tur­bocharged en­gines. while the Hyundai’s en­gine will per­form rel­a­tively well at the coast, it strug­gles at the rar­efied al­ti­tudes of Gaut­eng and, as a re­sult, you end up push­ing harder on the throttle to over­take or gain any mean­ing­ful mo­men­tum.

Then there is the fact that the i20 seems to pan­der more to a ma­ture buyer pro­file than many of its ri­vals, which in con­trast seem to have an edgy, youth­ful dis­po­si­tion that will crack a nod with those that rate styling at the top of their list.

I am not tak­ing anything away from the i20 Ac­tive, but it does lack the real cool fac­tor if it needs to take on the estab­lish­ment, which is a tall or­der in a seg­ment where con­nec­tiv­ity Type: Four-cylin­der Ca­pac­ity: 1,368cc Power: 74kW at 6,000r/min Torque: 133Nm at 3,500r/min Type: Six-speed man­ual Type: Front-wheel drive 0-100km/h: 11.6 sec­onds Top Speed: 182km/h Fuel Con­sump­tion: 6.7l/100km Emis­sion: 155g/km is equally kerb ap­peal.

You would do well to look at other of­fer­ings in this seg­ment, which not only of­fer bet­ter styling but also punch well above the Korean of­fer­ing in the power and per­for­mance stakes. Mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with Blue­tooth and voice com­mand, driver as­sist tech­nol­ogy, dual airbags, isofix child seat an­chor­age points, elec­tric boot, and USB port, cen­tral lock­ing, LED day­time run­ning lights, front and rear park dis­tance con­trol, 16-inch al­loys Warranty: Three-year/60,000km Main­te­nance Plan: Five-year/100,000km Price: R279,900 Lease*: R6,082 per month as im­por­tant as

EN­GINE TRANS­MIS­SION DRIVETRAIN PER­FOR­MANCE (claimed) STAN­DARD FEA­TURES COST OF OWN­ER­SHIP

The i20 Ac­tive pro­vides the pseudo off-roader looks but also lacks the de­sign changes of the reg­u­lar facelifted hatch.

The in­te­rior, left, gets a good level of space and equip­ment. Rear scuff plates, side sills and roof rails all give the i20 Ac­tive the look of ad­ven­ture, be­low.

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