HYUNDAI I20 ACTIVE REVIEW
Hyundai’s i20 is neatly styled and has a lot of immediate appeal. While currently sold alongside the Getz, it is set to replace it as Hyundai’s entry-level model in March this year.
For the past two years, the Getz (see reviews) has battled out top spot in the light car segment with Toyota’s Yaris. The i20, though more expensive than the retiring Getz, is a better car in nearly every way.
At $15,490, the three-door Active is the cheapest in the i20 range.
- Quality: As with most light cars, the i20 Active’s interior is packed with hard plastics and somewhat basic comfort features. It’s an appealing cabin however and build quality is very good - easily among the best in its class.
- Comfort: The seats are firm but supportive. And, although the seating position can feel high, headroom is generous and the steering is tilt and reach adjustable.
There is good legroom up front, though finding a comfortable position for your left leg in the manual is challenging, and rear legroom in the three-door is poor.
- Equipment: Standard features include power windows/mirrors, USB/iPod/aux/Bluetooth connectivity, cooled glovebox, remote central locking with folding key fob, and a full-size spare wheel.
- Storage: Rear storage is a reasonable 290 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats in place. There are also storage spaces in centre stack, console and doors.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: The i20 Active’s 1.4 litre engine is light on power and torque, but is nonetheless sprightly enough around town and on the highway. It has no trouble keeping with the traffic or overtaking safely in normal driving.
The manual transmission is smooth, although the shift between first and second could be better defined.
Turning circle is a tight 5.2m. The slim A-pillars offer good front visibility but the sharply raked rear windows make headchecks a pain.
- Refinement: While light cars generally suffer from poor insulation, the i20’s cabin is relatively quiet. Wind noise is low, while road and tyre noise is obvious only on coarser roads or when cornering quickly.
- Suspension: The i20 benefits from Australia-specific suspension, and while potholes and bumps aren’t entirely soaked up, the ride is smooth and comfortable. Overall, the i20 offers quite good road-holding.
- Braking: Ventilated discs up front and solid discs at the rear. Feel through the brake pedal is good, offering quite good braking performance.
- ANCAP rating: 5-Star
- Safety features: Six airbags (driver/passenger, front row head/side), ABS, ESC, EBD, TCS, Brake Assist, five-seat seatbelt reminders.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: The i20 is covered by Hyundai’s five-year / unlimited-kilometre warranty.
- Service costs: Service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km. Costs TBC.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- Toyota Yaris YR Three-door Manual ($14,990) - The Yaris YR three-door is less powerful but offers the same 6.0 l/100km fuel economy. With comparable features and storage, the Yaris however carries only a 4-Star ANCAP rating. (see Yaris reviews)
- Holden Barina Three-door Manual ($12,990 drive-away) - Currently in run-out, the heavily discounted 2010 three-door Barina (4-Star ANCAP rating) offers comparable features and power but lacks the build and driving quality of the i20. (see Barina reviews)
- Nissan Micra ST-L Manual ($14,990) - Cheaper with comparable features, power, fuel economy and storage, and an excellent drive. The i20’s interior feels better, but not by much. (see Micra reviews)
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Hyundai’s i20 is a huge leap forward and a worthy replacement for the sales-leading Getz.
As an entry-level option, the neat and stylish i20 Active is well-built, offering good-driving and lots of standard features.
If rear legroom is an issue, go for the five-door Active ($16,490). Otherwise, while not the cheapest in the segment, Hyundai's 5-Star ANCAP-rated i20 three-door offers safe, inexpensive motoring.