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Will the Hyundai i20 be the bright spot of 2020?

S.Muralidhar | Updated on November 05, 2020 Published on November 05, 2020

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With two out of every five sold worldwide being from India, this model’s third-gen will have to match that performance

Hyundai has had a string of blockbusters over the last few years. Many have expanded the brand’s portfolio, powering it into new segments. But, the i20 has remained a key model, offering buyers the refinement, features and quality of a premium sedan, combined with the practicality and easy manoeuvrability of a hatch. In today’s context, with so many additional options for buyers in the sub-compact, sub-4-metre sports utility vehicle segment, the prospects for a premium hatch have become tougher. So, the new Hyundai i20 has to work harder to get into the minds of buyers.

The previous generation i20 is still quite fresh and doesn’t look dated. But, the new gen i20, which was launched globally last year, promises to deliver a car that not only carries forward the new design language but also an even more refined hatch. Hyundai is also using the opportunity to up the choice of powertrains on offer for the i20. Two petrol engines, one diesel and three transmission options are available in the mix, including the 7-speed DCT, the Intelligent manual transmission (clutchless manual) and the IVT automatic.

Sharper design

Hyundai calls the 2021 i20’s design focus as ‘sensuous sportiness’. Looking past that marketing talk, the car’s design seems sharper and edgier now. In pictures, it seems to be sprung higher on its 16-inch alloys. But, in the flesh, the new i20 sits as squat and comfortably as the outgoing model. In fact, the wider grille at the front, the Z-shaped LED tubes in the rear tail-lamps and the chrome connecting garnish on the tailgate make the new model seem wider. The side profile seems identical to the outgoing model. The overall stance, the lower roofline and the DLO (glass area) were the main reasons why the i20 felt like a sedan without a boot and that is still captured in the new-gen model. There are more highlights, though, which further the impression that the design is sharper with more creases. The cabin exudes a very European vibe. The dashboard has a strong horizontal orientation with slatted air-con vents that extend across the entire width of the fascia, broken only by the base of the instrument binnacle and crimped at the centre stack. Both the infotainment system and the instrument cluster are digital screens that are crisp and offer an excellent collection of information regarding the vehicle, navigation, connectivity options and media playback sources. The instrument cluster features the, now fast becoming standard in Hyundai vehicles, digital speedo and rpm meters in reverse orientation. The backlighting and screen construction delivers a crisp, easy-to-read layout. Auto aircon, wireless charger, ambient cabin lighting, premium 7-speaker Bose audio and brushed aluminium pedals are some of the other features that are offered in the top variant of the new i20.

Though not in the same state of tune, the powertrains for the new model have been borrowed from the Venue. Petrol engine options include the 1.2L Kappa delivering 83/ 88PS (manual/auto) of peak power, and the one-litre Kappa Turbo GDi delivering 120PS of power. The Diesel engine option is the 1.5-litre U2 CRDi engine generating 100PS of peak power. Transmission options between the three engines include the IMT, the Intelligent Variable Transmission, two manual gearboxes 5-speed and a 6-speed, and the 7-speed DCT (dual-clutch transmission). Except for the 1.2L Kappa petrol’s IVT combo, the rest of the powertrain variants are rated to deliver over 20 kmpl of mileage. The Diesel engine and 6-speed manual variants boast of a rated mileage of 25.2 kmpl.

Safety features

The new i20 has been built on Hyundai’s K platform and said to be more robust.

While we can’t comment about the car’s on-road performance yet (review out next week), the expectation is it will be better than the predecessor. That will be something, given how good the ride in the outgoing model was already especially at the rear. The new i20 also gets a bunch of safety features including 6 airbags, vehicle stability management, ESC and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

Hyundai’s plan with the i20 has always been to up the value game by bringing in features that are usually found in cars that are higher up the price and size chain. The prices for the new i20 start from ₹6.8 lakh and range up to ₹11.18 lakh, just a bit on the higher side for a car in the premium hatch segment. But, the variant strategy could be designed to deliver more value to cover that differential. The new i20 gets all of the connectivity features offered by Hyundai’s proprietary BlueLink tech and it also gets 17 other server-based voice recognition features.

Look out for the review next week.

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Published on November 05, 2020
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