Hyundai i20 Expert Review

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Introduction

When we look at the record that Hyundai has made here in India, we tend to wonder just how the South Korean manufacturer overshot numerous local and international competitors to become the second largest carmaker in India. Well, when you look at a car like the Elite i20, you tend to get a glimpse of the answer. Style, comfort and performance come together in this vehicle, making it quite a likeable package.

Ever since its introduction, the Elite i20 has found favour with Indian buyers. Newer rivals have entered the fray, making things all the more competitive, but Hyundai’s premium hatch continues to get buyers into the brand’s showrooms. However, we’re not here to sing hymns of its praise. We take a close look at the Elite i20 and tell you what’s hot and what’s not.

Pros
  • Dual airbags standard across all variants.
  • Fantastic exterior styling.
  • The 1.4-litre diesel engine gives you quite the drive with a great gearbox adding a cherry on top.
Cons
  • 1.2-litre petrol is underwhelming.
  • ABS restricted to the mid and top variants.
  • Tall and husky people may feel confined within the limited cabin area.

Stand Out Features

  • Projector headlamps

    Projector headlamps

  • The new AVN system with Bluetooth.

    The new AVN system with Bluetooth.

CarDekho Verdict

The Elite i20 is a great blend of style, quality, features and function. It’s not as spacious as the Baleno or Jazz, not is the petrol powertrain as engaging to use as the Swift. However, the fit and finish quality is impeccable and the Elite’s trim quality levels are a benchmark. There’s a good amount of features on offer too and let’s not forget, the car looks fantastic too.

"The Elite i20 is a great all-rounder and makes for a great buy."

Exterior

It would be a pretty bold statement to say that this is the best looking vehicle in its class, but we're sure many others would agree with us. The designers have fortunately veered away from excessive cuts and slashes for the sake of making it look attractive and instead, the Elite gets an understated layout which grabs attention rather than begging for it.

 

Overall, it has a clean and sharp profile that injects a sliver of sportiness into its image. Admittedly, if you removed the Hyundai emblem, we would've easily mistaken it for something made by a European manufacturer.

The face is aggressive thanks to the sleek, swept-back headlamps, with muscular lines down the bonnet complementing the chiseled fascia. The chrome outline on the grille adds just the right amount of flash to the front.

The Elite i20 is a handsome car thanks to the sharply styled front bumper, which also slims down the car’s front. Even the indicator lights hide in plain sight and are well-integrated into the headlamp cluster.  

 

 

The chrome door handles are a bit much, but then again, Indians do love their chrome. The 16-inch alloy wheels that are nothing short of droolworthy and are a design highlight. You won’t feel the need to forage through aftermarket options.

Unlike the Baleno or Jazz, the Elite i20 doesn’t have any MPV-like overtones. The blackened C-pillar slims down the side profile, as does the shoulder-line and door cladding. It’s also interesting to see how the shoulder-line connects the tips of the head and tail lamps.

The rear doesn’t get the same slimming elements as the front, but it isn’t bulbous like the Baleno either. The LED-look tail lights look particularly good at night and perhaps a little black cladding in the rear bumper would improve the look from the back.

Exterior Comparison

Honda WRV Maruti Vitara Brezza Ford EcoSport Fiat Grande Punto
Length (mm) 3999 3995 3999 3989
Width (mm) 1734 1790 1765 1687
Height (mm) 1601 1640 1708 1525
Ground Clearance (mm) 188 198 200 195
Wheel Base (mm) 2555 2500 2520 2510
Kerb Weight (kg) 1176 1170 - 1105

Boot Space Comparison

Maruti Baleno Volkswagen Polo Fiat Grande Punto
Volume 339-litres 280-liters 280-litres

Interior

While the cabin space is par-for-the-course, the upmarket ambience will be quite a deal maker. Premium hatchbacks today offer quality we’d expect in segments above and the Elite’s cabin is a perfect example.

The dashboard is elegantly designed, with uniquely styled AC vents and a centre console with controls that are easy to navigate through. The lower portion of the dashboard is coloured black, while the upper half stretching all the way into the windshield is beige.

We enjoyed the diversity of the atmosphere, and thought it fed off a trend that most car makers are following today here in India. The audio system is positioned at the top of the centre console, right below the central AC vents.

Though it comes as a highlight, the central screen could have been bigger for improved ease of use on the move. The controls for the system are arranged around the display, and a large engine start/stop button is placed by the side of the console. The new edition has been updated with an advanced AVN(Audio Visual Navigation) system that comes along with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Below is the climate control console which hosts a slender screen with blue illumination. At the lower end of the console, you have a small storage area where occupants can keep phones and other spare items. Also incorporated here are dual 12V power sockets, a USB and an AUX port, adding convenience to the passenger's experience.

The 3-spoke steering wheel is draped in leather, adding to the upmarket experience of the cabin.

The instrument cluster comes with an analogue tachometer and a speedometer, and the illuminated dials make it easy to read in any condition.

Door pockets are present in all of the doors, but we have to stress that they're too shallow to hold anything substantial. The entire arrangement is ergonomically sorted and everything falls to hand quite easily.

Armrests and headrests provide added comfort, and the lumbar support is excellent too. The seat upholstery bumps up the premium feel in the cabin, while the contrasting beige and black stitching is a visual treat.

Added bling comes in the form of the metal highlights on the gear knob, parking brake and the inside door handles, showcasing the attention to detail.

Performance

Diesel:

The inner mechanics remain untouched from the old i20. For the diesel version, the car gets the same 1.4-litre U2 CRDi engine, which displaces 1,396cc. The 16-valve engine produces 90PS at 4,000rpm and a peak torque of 220Nm at 1,500rpm - 2,750rpm. We thought the working of the engine was pretty good, with a more linear power delivery and reduced turbo-lag when compared to the previous version. City driving is particularly outstanding with this engine with enough low-end torque on offer. The engine is meshed with a 6-speed manual transmission which we had no trouble operating. As expected, high-gear low-rev combinations work well and while it can hit high speeds with ease, this engine is best suited to cruising.

Performance Comparison (Diesel)

Hyundai Elite i20 Maruti Baleno Volkswagen Polo Fiat Punto EVO
Power 88.73bhp@4000rpm 74bhp@4000rpm 88.7bhp@4200rpm 91.7bhp@4000rpm
Torque (Nm) 219.7Nm@1500-2750rpm 190Nm@2000rpm 230Nm@1500-2500rpm 209Nm@2000rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1396 1248 1498 1248
Transmission Manual Manual Manual Manual
Top Speed (kmph) 180 Kmph 170 Kmph 163 Kmph -
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 11.9 Seconds 12.93 seconds 16.1 Seconds -
Kerb Weight (kg) 1515kg 970kg 1158kg 1173kg
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 22.54kmpl 27.39kmpl 20.14kmpl 20.5kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 58.567656765676574 bhp/ton 76.28865979381445 bhp/ton 76.59758203799655 bhp/ton 78.17561807331629 bhp/ton

Petrol:

As for the petrol variant, it gets a 1.2-litre Kappa VTVT engine which displaces 1,197cc. The power output stands at 83PS at 6,000rpm with a peak torque of 115Nm at 4,000rpm. We couldn't help but get the feeling that the motor was overworked at times, particularly at high speeds. It’s a very smooth engine and works perfectly well in the city, but take it out on the highway and it struggles. Bare in mind that a full passenger load will see you getting quite generous with your throttle inputs and high speed overtakes will need some careful planning and perhaps, a downshift too. Fortunately, the gear lever is nice to use and falls into the gear gates with precision.

Performance Comparison (Petrol)

Hyundai Elite i20 Maruti Baleno Volkswagen Polo Fiat Punto EVO
Power 81.83bhp@6000rpm 83.1bhp@6000rpm 74bhp@5400rpm 67.1bhp@6000rpm
Torque (Nm) 114.7Nm@4000rpm 115Nm@4000rpm 110Nm@3750rpm 96Nm@2500rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1197 1197 1198 1172
Transmission Manual Manual Manual Manual
Top Speed (kmph) 170 Kmph 180 Kmph 165 kmph 155 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 13.2 Seconds 12.36 seconds 14.2 Seconds 14.5 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) 1066kg 875kg 1053kg 1105kg
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 18.6kmpl 21.4kmpl 16.47kmpl 15.8kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 76.76360225140714 bhp/ton 94.97142857142856 bhp/ton 70.27540360873694 bhp/ton 60.723981900452486 bhp/ton

Ride and Handling:

Compared to the earlier version, the Elite i20 is a step up in terms of ride quality and comfort. Taking on potholes and broken roads is easy as long as you stick to low speeds. The suspension is compliant and isn’t bouncy any more. The steering is super-light at city speeds, but while it does weigh up well as you pick up the pace, it’s not enthusiast pleasing as it feels artificial.

Stopping power comes from disc brakes up front and drums at the rear. All-round disc brakes were offered with the old model, but the current setup offers adequate braking strength and panic braking is a drama-free affair.

Safety

We've got to hand it to Hyundai for some impressive safety elements. The downside – some of them are exclusive to higher variants.

Dual airbags come as standard across the entire variant range, and this is definitely a plus point.

Higher variants come equipped with ABS, rear parking sensors, a rear camera, central locking, and an electrochromic rear-view mirror. Aside from this, front passengers avail the benefit of seatbelts that come with pretensioners, a keyless entry system and a rear defogger that comes with a timer. Yes, you get an immobilizer too.

Variants

  • Diesel
  • Petrol
Variants Features Price
1.4 Era Body Coloured Bumpers, Adjustable Front Headrest, Dual Airbags, 6.67 Lakh*
1.4 Magna Executive [ In adition to 1.4 Era ] Electrically Adjustable ORVM, Rear AC Vents, Wheel Covers, [ Variant 1.4 Era price ] + 54,123 =  7.22 Lakh*
1.4 Sportz [ In adition to 1.4 Magna Executive ] Driver Seat Height Adjuster, Front Fog Lamps, Antilock Braking System, [ Variant 1.4 Magna Executive price ] + 46,180 =  7.68 Lakh*
1.4 Asta [ In adition to 1.4 Sportz ] Automatic Climate Control, Tilt And Telescopic Steering, Touchscreen Infotainment, [ Variant 1.4 Sportz price ] + 57,005 =  8.25 Lakh*
1.4 Asta Dual Tone [ In adition to 1.4 Asta ] Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels, Orange Inserts In Interiors, Dualtone Exterior, [ Variant 1.4 Asta price ] + 24,481 =  8.49 Lakh*
1.4 Asta Option [ In adition to 1.4 Asta Dual Tone ] Projector Headlamps, Push Button Stop/Start, Side And Curtain Airbags, [ Variant 1.4 Asta Dual Tone price ] + 54,309 =  9.04 Lakh*
Variants Features Price
1.2 Era Body Coloured Bumpers, Adjustable Front Headrest, Dual Airbags, 5.29 Lakh*
1.2 Magna Executive [ In adition to 1.2 Era ] Electrically Adjustable ORVM, Rear AC Vents, Wheel Covers, [ Variant 1.2 Era price ] + 70,000 =  5.99 Lakh*
1.2 Sportz [ In adition to 1.2 Magna Executive ] Driver Seat Height Adjuster, Front Fog Lamps, Antilock Braking System, [ Variant 1.2 Magna Executive price ] + 47,003 =  6.46 Lakh*
1.2 Asta [ In adition to 1.2 Sportz ] Automatic Climate Control, Tilt And Telescopic Steering, Touchscreen Infotainment, [ Variant 1.2 Sportz price ] + 52,086 =  6.98 Lakh*
1.2 Asta Dual Tone [ In adition to 1.2 Asta ] Orange Inserts In Interiors, Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels, Dualtone Exterior, [ Variant 1.2 Asta price ] + 24,461 =  7.23 Lakh*
1.2 Asta Option [ In adition to 1.2 Asta Dual Tone ] Side And Curtain Airbags, Push Button Stop/Start, Projector Headlamps, [ Variant 1.2 Asta Dual Tone price ] + 57,109 =  7.8 Lakh*
1.4 Magna AT [ In adition to 1.2 Asta Option ] All Featues Of Magna, Automatic Transmission, Powerful Engine, [ Variant 1.2 Asta Option price ] + 1,35,401 =  9.15 Lakh*

There are five variants in all - Era, Magna, Sportz, Asta and Asta(O). The entry-grade ‘Era’ comes with central locking, a smart pedal, dual tripmeter, digital clock, low fuel reminder, door ajar warning and adjustable headrests. The Asta and Asta(O) have it all - a fully automatic air conditioning system, a rear wiper and washer, luggage lamp, electrically foldable outside mirrors, a parking sensor display and the auto unlock function. The Asta makes for the best option of course, but the Sportz makes for a great VFM option, if you want a balance of features, safety and affordability.

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*Ex-showroom price

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