The all new Hyundai i20 is a redefinition of the form and features that have so captured our imaginations and loyalty. By gently resculpting the body (and vigorously reworking the features) Hyundai are out to boost the speed of the i20’s ascent. This purposeful evolution of what Hyundai’s Andreas-Christoph Hofmann authoritatively calls one of their “DNA models” will ensure the i20 a place on the top of the food chain.
All three extant (European) body types are being evolved. While we are familiar with the i20 five door (now with sunroof), the i20 three door coupé would be a rare sight. In addition to an updated rear profile, the signature Hyundai cascading grill will front these new arrivals. Building on the attractiveness of the present i20’s finishes, Hyundai have gone the whole-hog and introduced two-tone roofs. While these will be matt black on most models, select variants will be released in gloss black. The European i20 Active crossover is also not spared its make-over. This bodes well for our own South African N-series (the sporty variant) receiving a similar revamp.
With ten colors to choose from for the exterior, the interior has also been granted more personalization options, with blue and red joining the existing black and grey trim.
With diesel engines falling out of favor in Europe, we are unlikely to see a new diesel version of the i20 come to South Africa. However, the tried and tested Kappa petrol engines that drove the previous generation to excellence will remain.
The 1.2 litre option will come in two variants, both sporting 5-speed manual transmissions. If history is any indication, Hyundai won’t bother to ship the less powerful 55kW variant and South Africa will receive the 62kW version only. But it is the 1.4 litre manual transmission, destined for the i20 Active, that is the source of the real excitement. This powerful 6-speed manual transmission clocks in at 88kW. No doubt this engine (plus some bells and whistles) will find its way to our i20N.
It deserves to be noted that only the 1 litre engine (never popular in South Africa) is mentioned in the same sentence as automatic transmissions. It may be that fans of the automatic i20 will be disappointed.
Supporting most popular connectivity methods, the optional 7-inch infotainment screen can mirror the driver’s smartphone. This means drivers can use their favored navigation system without relying on a manufacturer package. Needless to say, the audio system is a blast.
One of the most impressive standard additions, feature-wise, is Idle Stop and Go (ISG). This green, fuel-saving system automatically kills the engine when the car comes to a stop. And automatically rekindles it if the driver so much as looks in the direction of the accelerator. Those days of whiling away your time and money at red lights are over.
Other well-known and welcome features include the Lane Departure Warning System; Lane Keeping Assist; Forward Collision Avoidance Assist; Driver Attention Warning and High Beam Assist as optional extras.
Time will tell whether Hyundai has done justice to the i20 legacy. One thing is certain. If the new i20 is half as good as its predecessor, it will be twice as good as most other cars in its segment. Don’t take our word for it, come see for yourself. Book a test drive today and become part of the Hyundai i20 movement.