Hyundai i20 Active Review
With the UK public’s appetite for small crossovers continuing unabated, the die was cast some time ago for the Hyundai i20 Active to join the fray rivalling models such as the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008.
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Excellent engine
- Rugged looks
- Five-year warranty
What's not so good
- Basic car is nicer to drive
- No four-wheel drive
- Ride a little jiggly
Hyundai i20 Active: what would you like to read next?
While those three take the form of standalone models, the Hyundai i20 Active is recognisable as an i20 hatchback served with a few ‘lifestyle’ touches such as roof bars, new bumpers and body cladding, a boot-lid spoiler and an aftermarket-style fuel-filler cap. The only technical change is suspension that is raised by 20mm.
TheHyundai i20 Active can be had with just one engine, but the all-new 100hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol is a peach – offering urge beyond what its capacity promises and extremely low running costs.
Equipment levels are decent – with 17-inch alloy wheels, a DAB digital radio, LED daytime running lights and rear parking sensors present and correct, the Hyundai i20 Active is suitably armed for the urban theatre.
The i20 Active isn't bad but it may be too niche and one-sided for some
The i20 is one of brand’s most popular models with nearly 94,000 units sold in the UK alone. The Hyundai i20 Active should help broaden its appeal still further and while there are few technical advantages to choosing it instead of the basic hatchback, its chunky looks and raised ride height are bound to help it appeal to buyers looking to have a crossover for hatchback money and running costs.
Jump from a standard car into the Hyundai i20 Active and the most obvious difference is the car’s taller suspension.
Aside from the better view out and added clearance over speed humps, there aren’t many positives to be drawn from the Active’s hiked suspension.
Despite the raised suspension, the i20 is as easy to drive as any small car
Hyundai’s rightfully proud of its new 1.0-litre petrol engine, which in the standard i20 replaces the old 1.4-litre model.
It’s the only option available in the Active, but we don’t see that as a problem. Thanks to a turbocharger it feels spritely – getting from 0-62mph in 10.7 seconds. The extra torque provided by the turbocharger successfully masks the car’s tall gearing and provides enthusiastic acceleration in second and third gear, and the engine sounds pleasantly thrummy as it does it, before fading into the background on the motorway.
Downsizing from a 1.4 to a 1.0-litre engine capacity means there are savings to be made. Fuel economy now sits at 58.9mpg (rather than 51.4mpg) and CO2 emissions drop from 127 to 110g/km.
Perhaps because of the car’s 17-inch alloy wheels, the Active’s ride feels choppier than the standard i20’s on a well-worn British B road, while also suffering from a little more roll in corners and some added dive under braking.
The steering is unchanged from the standard car, but somehow feels less direct – as if the body takes a nano second longer to respond to direction changes – and offers little in the way of feel to help you judge the grip the front tyres have.
Things settle down at a faster cruise where the Active’s big-car feel makes it a relaxing place to rack up the miles. That’s helped by the extremely refined new 1.0-litre engine, the sound of which you can barely make out from the small swell of wind and road roar that does make its way into the cabin.
Back in the city the car’s light steering, slick-shifting five-speed gearbox and smooth clutch make it easy to drive at low speeds. Reversing is an incident-free affair thanks to the standard-fit rear parking sensors.