Old money in new i20

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

HYUNDAI’S new i20 does not look new. In­stead, its bulky, more lin­ear de­sign hints of old money.

De­signed with what can only be de­scribed as Hyundai’s new retro look, the new i20 does away with the flu­idic lines that have set the Korean brand apart from its ri­vals.

In­stead of im­press­ing on the out­side, one of the key goals for the de­sign team was to en­sure the new i20’ s per­ceived in­te­rior qual­ity was among the very best in the seg­ment.

And for once, none of the KZN mo­tor­ing hacks at the re­gional launch could moan about hard plas­tics, as high- grade Ther­mal Plas­tic Olefin ( TPO) is used in­side the i20. The softto-the- touch ma­te­rial is highly durable and main­tains a pre­mium look and feel even af­ter fre­quent use. Pi­ano- black in­serts, in ad­di­tion to chrome de­tail­ing around the air vents and gear- shift lever, com­plete the old- money look in­side.

The new i20 has ei­ther a 1 197 cc ( 61 kW/ 115 Nm) or a 1 368 cc ( 74 kW/ 133 Nm) four- cylin­der petrol. The en­try level 1,2 comes only with a five- speed man­ual, while the 1,4 has ei­ther a four- speed auto box or a sixspeed man­ual gear­box.

Shift ac­cu­racy and snap- in feel has been im­proved with the ad­di­tion of a guide plate in­serted in the con­trol­shaft cou­pling. Since its launch in 2005, 68 031 i20 mod­els have been sold in SA, mak­ing this SA’s sec­ond most popular hatch af­ter the Volk­swa­gen Polo. Hyundai SA’s mar­ket­ing direc­tor Stan­ley An­der­son said 400 i20s are al­ready im­press­ing cus­tomers at Avis as rental cars. And we all know how tough rentals cars have to be, so the new i20 has what it takes.

Hyundai’s five year or 150 000 km war­ranty is stan­dard.

( Im­pres­sions gath­ered at a launch spon­sored by the man­u­fac­turer.)

PHOTO: QUICK­PIC

Out with the flu­idic lines and in with the lin­ear for that more un­der­stated, clas­sic look: the new Hyundai i20.

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