The Hyundai ix20 is a sort of halfway house between a traditional supermini and an MPV. It has a spacious cabin in a small body, but it’s not that great to drive.
The Hyundai ix20 is what’s known by many people as a mini-MPV – a car that shoe-horns some of the space and versatility of an MPV into a small car. Once upon a time, several manufacturers made alternatives – including models such as the Nissan Note and Citroen C3 Picasso – but today SUVs are all the rage, so perhaps the most obvious alternatives are the Honda Jazz and Kia Venga. However, if you were willing to look at small SUVs, you might also consider the Vauxhall Crossland X, Renault Captur or Peugeot 2008.
Admittedly, the Hyundai ix20 isn’t the sharpest-looking thing on the road, but the slightly inflated body is there for a reason – and that reason is space. Although this is a pretty small car – only a little longer than a Ford Fiesta – there’s enough space inside for five adults in comfort.
Thanks to the high roofline, there’s plenty of headroom, whether you’re sitting in the front or rear seats; and, for the same reason, the windows are large, making for a light and airy cabin, as well as good visibility for the driver.
There’s lots of legroom in the front, too, as well as plenty of adjustment on the driver’s seat and steering wheel. Meanwhile, the rear seats recline and slide, so that you can choose whether to maximise passenger space or boot capacity. However, even if you slide the seats all the way forwards, rear-seat passengers will still have a reasonable amount of space.
Strangely for an MPV, there aren’t many cubby-holes around the cabin, but the 440-litre boot is impressive. And, when you fold down the rear seats – which are 60/40 split on every model – this increases to almost 1,500 litres. The boot is a good, square shape, too, with the only disappointing feature being the high lip that you have to lift luggage over.
As you would only expect of what is a relatively cheap car, there are a few hard plastics littered around the cabin. However, not only is it all well built and easy to find your way around, it feels up to withstanding the rigours of everyday life.
As you would only expect of a family car, the suspension has been set up with an emphasis on comfort and the car is designed to be easy to drive, if not the most engaging.
It’s amazing how fast the motoring world moves. When it was launched, the ix20 was one of umpteen mini-MPVs. Now, though, everyone wants SUVs and the ix20 feels about as up-to-date as an episode of the Benny Hill Show
The light controls and good visibility make the ix20 easy to drive in town, although at low speeds, it can feel a bit uncomfortable on poor surfaces. Happily, you won’t feel too many bumps once you’re out of town, but the downside of that is that the car’s body leans a lot in bends, and the light steering doesn’t give much feedback at higher speeds.
Although there was a wider range of engines to choose from in the past, there’s just one engine available now – a 125hp 1.6-litre petrol that you can pair with either a manual or an automatic gearbox. Both set-ups provide similar performance, with 0-62mph taking about 11 seconds, but the manual version is a little more economical, with official economy of 37.1mpg.
That’s not especially good, but where the Hyundai ix20 is more impressive is in terms of the value it offers. In particular, it comes with plenty of equipment, and even the most basic model has air-conditioning, alloy wheels and automatic headlights. If you step up just one trim level, you add sat-nav and a rear-view camera.
Every model also comes with the same safety package, which includes active head restraints on the front seats to help prevent whiplash injury, and optional extras like a hill-hold assist system, to make hill-starts easier and prevent the car from rolling back.
Overall, the Hyundai ix20 is a reasonably good car, but no better than that. On the plus side, it’ll be roomy enough for most people, is cheap to run and looks good value for money, as well as being backed by a five-year warranty.
However, there are some issues with the quality here and there, it’s not the sharpest car to drive and some alternatives offer a bit more storage space. Perhaps most crucially of all, though, most buyers now prefer something with an SUV body.