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Hyundai i20 1.2 Petrol

9th Dec 2009 8:00 am

The i20 is not a cheap car


  • Make : Hyundai
  • Model : i20

The i20’s wide stance and prominent nose really stand out and, as it drives past, you notice the strong character lines on its flanks, which adds to the tautness of the shape. Another standout feature is the large fog lamps housed in prominent blisters on the lower bumper. Perhaps Hyundai’s designers were so caught up with the front that they ran too close to the deadline as far as the rear is concerned.

The end result is a very generic rear, which does gel with the rest of the design, but doesn’t stand out. The build quality is noticeable the moment you grab the chunky door handles to open and shut the nicely weighted doors. This is indicative of a car that can last well for years on our roads.

The i20’s mechanical layout follows the absolute supermini standard with MacPherson struts suspending the front end and a torsion beam axle at the back, damped by gas-charged shock absorbers all round. Electric power assistance for steering is about the most radical item on the spec list and makes this the first Hyundai in India to get it. All versions of the i20 ride on 14-inch rims but tyre sizes vary. The base version (Magna) gets steel wheels shod with 175/70 R14 rubber, the higher-end Asta (pictured) gets a 185/65 footprint.

The i20 gets a well designed and functional cabin, albeit not one that moves the game forward in any significant way. On the plus side, the Hyundai is certainly spacious, with decent accommodation in the front plus a good range of seat and steering column adjustments. It’s possible to sit one-six footer behind another in reasonable comfort and three abreast at the rear is not a big squeeze either.
A boot capacity of 295 litres is decent for this class of hatchback and the flat load area and wide tailgate aperture and 60:40 split rear seats, makes the most of it. There are lots of cubbyholes, and the cooled glovebox is one of the largest we have encountered on an Indian car.
The Asta version gets six airbags, seatbelt warning lights for all five passengers and electric folding rear view mirrors. The i20’s centre console features electronic climate control and an integrated music system with steering-mounted controls. The Asta also has USB connectivity, in addition to an auxiliary port for your iPod or MP3 device. A multi-information display on the dash tells you the outside temperature, time, day and date, and also journey information.
The shiny plastics look downmarket and the dark brown colour isn’t to everybody’s taste and the vents for the air con are also not in keeping with the overall positioning of this car.

The lightness of the i20’s controls is immediately apparent and clearly this Hyundai has been designed around ease of operation. The clutch pedal’s lack of resistance takes some getting used, but the generous assistance of the electric power steering and the light gearshift make the i20 a restful companion in urban environment.
The Hyundai’s soft suspension does a decent job of dealing with speedbreakers and potholes and appears well up to the task of dealing with Indian roads. But, as you up the pace, you begin to notice inconsistencies in the damping. Over patchy roads, the i20’s front tends to bob, which can get uncomfortable. There is some body roll too, which means you can’t corner enthusiastically either. The light steering, which is a boon in the city, feels vague at high speeds and the over-assistance can be disconcerting at high speed.
The i20 isn’t for spirited driving and feels best when driven at a relaxed pace. The i20 has ABS with EBD, or brake-force distribution, which varies the amount of braking to each wheel depending upon the grip available. ABS is an absolute must, especially on our gravelly roads and during the monsoon, and the i20’s system works well. ABS however is not available on the cheaper Magna variant.

Hyundai i20 1.2 Petrol
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