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.
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.
Despite the raised suspension, the i20 is as easy to drive as any small car
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.