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Juliet McGuire

First drive in the new Hyundai i20

The Hyundai i20 has been in the game since 2009 and has enjoyed quite a bit of success. Look, there is no denying that its arch enemy is that of the Volkswagen Polo. It is the arch enemy to every player in this segment, think Kia Rio and Ford Fiesta as well, it’s as if VW doesn’t have to do anything and the Polo will sell in droves. But, while the i20 has been successful, it was due an upgrade. And so, enter the new third generation.

LOOKING GOOD

Hyundai i20

The i20 has never held a sexiness about it, in fact, it has been rather bland. But this new model is really upping the ante. It has taken on Hyundai’s new “Sensuous sportiness” design language and it shows. The lines are sharper, the edges more defined. It looks really great, even if there are people who disagree with me. I don’t love it in Fiery Red, though, it is not so fiery, but in Phantom Black or Starry Night it looks pretty darn good. And there are two-tone options available too.

It is also now bigger, wider and higher than the outgoing model. Which means more shoulder room and more rear legroom. Even the boot is bigger now at 311-litres, which you know is a huge plus for me.

SPEAKING OF THE INSIDE

Hyundai i20

The cabin is really well put together and boasts an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can also expect daytime running lights, electric windows, rear parking sensors, a reverse-view camera, auto headlights and airconditioning. The range-topping Fluid model adds an interior mood lamp, cruise control, rear air vents, a rear USB port, a wireless charger with USB port and electric folding side mirrors. It also boasts six airbags. It feels quite grown up and modern inside which is what the i20 needed.

UNDER THE BONNET

There are three engines to choose from. First up is the 1.2-litre petrol unit pushing out 61 kW and 115 Nm, then there is the 1.4-litre petrol engine with 74 kW and 133 Nm, both these engines are naturally aspirated. The one you want, thought, is the 1.0 turbo engine which gives you 90 kW and 172 Nm. It comes mated to a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual clutch auto which is far better than any of the previous autos the i20 offered. There is a slight delay as you put your foot flat, but overall, the engine feels rather sprightly.

FINAL SAY

Hyundai has done a great job with the new i20 and I think it will continue to be successful for the brand. While it makes for a good alternative to the ever-popular Polo, I doubt it will steal many sales from it. But, who knows, people may just surprise us. What can’t be matched is Hyundai’s extensive warranty at seven years/200 000 km. It also comes with a four-year/60 000 km service plan. Take one for a spin!

PRICING OF THE NEW HYUNDAI I20

1.2 Fluid Manual: R289 900
1.2 Fluid Manual Two-tone: R294 900
1.4 Motion Auto: R305 900
1.0 TGDI Fluid MT: R330 900
1.0 TGDI Fluid MT Two-tone: R335 900
1.0 TGDI Fluid DCT: R355 900
1.0 TGDI Fluid DCT Two-tone: R360 900

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