The Hyundai i20’s perky 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines are great all-rounders, but you can’t get it with a motorway-friendly diesel
You can get the Hyundai i20 with four petrol engines, and with either a manual or an automatic gearbox.
If you’re on a very strict budget, one of the 1.2-litre non-turbocharged cars is worth considering. These come with just 75hp and 84hp (so they feel a tad sluggish) but they’ll have no trouble pottering around town. Hyundai claims they’ll return around 50mpg, but you can expect to see a figure in the low-to-mid forties in normal driving conditions.
The Hyundai i20 won’t put a great big gurning grin on your face on a twisty country road, but it will ferry you home comfortably after a hard day’s work
If you take in a broader mix of city and countryside driving, one of the turbocharged 1.0-litre models will be much more suitable. These come in 100hp and 120hp flavours and accelerate from 0-62mph in 10.8 and 10.2 seconds respectively. They’re by no means sporty, but they’ll happily take in the odd motorway journey without struggling. You can expect both versions to return around 45mpg compared to Hyundai’s claimed 56.5mpg.
Both 1.2-litre models and 100hp versions of the 1.0-litre engine comes with five-speed manual gearbox as standard, while 120hp 1.0-litre i20s get a six-speed to help make them quieter at motorway speeds. Both gearboxes are smooth and easy to use – even around town – but the seven-speed automatic you can get in 100hp cars is even better. It’s smoother than most dual-clutch gearboxes at slow speeds and really takes the sting out of long drives in heavy traffic.
It’s only small, but the Hyundai i20 is surprisingly comfortable to drive. On a rough country road its fairly soft suspension does an impressive job ironing out potholes and bumps without any unpleasant body lean that might cause your passengers to feel slightly queasy. Around town, it’ll soak up potholes and drain covers better than some much larger (and more expensive) cars, too.
Speaking of driving in town, the i20’s very easy to manoeuvre thanks to its light steering and good visibility. Its small size makes it a doddle to park, too. You even get a reversing camera as standard across the range, rear parking sensors on SE models and front and rear parking sensors on Premium Nav and Premium SE Nav versions.
Head out of town and onto a motorway, and you’ll only hear a slight hum from the engine in 1.0-litre models, and there isn’t too much noise from the tyres, either. Unfortunately, the Hyundai i20’s door mirrors and windscreen produce quite a lot of wind noise at speed. You do get cruise control as standard in SE models and above, however, to help make long motorway journeys that bit more relaxing.
The previous Hyundai i20 (on which this new model is based) scored a four-star safety rating from Euro NCAP back in 2015. The tests have been made much stricter since then, however, so if safety is your main priority, you’ll want to avoid basic S models and go for an i20 fitted with automatic emergency braking as standard. This feature helps you avoid low-speed collisions by automatically applying the brakes if the car detects an obstacle in the road ahead.