When Hyundai released the i20 supermini in in 2008 it was regarded as one of the class leaders, with value for money and a spacious cabin among a host of strong points.
Most of it, really. The new i20 is longer, lower and wider than before, which from the outside lends it a sleeker look than the one-box shape of the outgoing car. New headlights (which on high-end variants feature LED daytime running lights) give the car a grown-up appearance at the front. A double front grille, with a slim upper section and larger area below also help to freshen things up.
To see what a huge change Hyundai has made, scroll to the bottom of this page for a shot of the old i20.
At the rear, the lights sweep horizontally beneath the window – as opposed to the old vertical units – and feature more modern looking lighting graphics.
The updates continue inside. An attractive two-tone dash layout is a pleasant departure from the previous solid but drab cabin, and lends the i20 an almost European feel. It should be quieter and more refined than before too, thanks to better sound absorption materials.
Even the base S model is well equipped, offering electric front windows, remote locking, and USB connectivity for portable music players. Meanwhile, the top-spec Premium SE offers parking sensors all round, heated steering wheel and the option of an opening panoramic glass sunroof – a first in the class.
Not that the old model was ever short on space, a 45mm increase in wheelbase means that the cabin offers room which Hyundai claims is “class leading.” The same applies to the boot, which at 326 litres, comes close to cars from the segment above and even beats the Ford Focus.
What powers it?
Buyers will have a choice of three petrol and two diesel motors for the i20. The S and S Air trim levels are fitted with a 1.2-litre petrol engine, producing 74 horsepower, while higher spec models are offered with either an 83hp 1.2 or a 99hp 1.4-litre.
The most efficient model in the range is known as the S Blue, and is powered by a 74hp 1.1-litre diesel. Thanks to start-stop technology and low rolling resistance tyres, it emits CO2 emissions of just 84g/km, so road tax is free! The Premium and Premium SE versions can be equipped with the more powerful diesel: a 1.4 unit producing 89hp.
Hyundai has used more high-strength steel in the latest i20 (42 per cent versus 16 in old one, for those with an eye for metallurgy stats), which has resulted in body rigidity increasing by 64 per cent. This will allow for greater control of suspension components for improved ride and handling, and should make the new i20 safer in an accident too.
How much will it cost?
The new i20 will be on sale from January 2015. Prices start from £10,695 for the entry-level S model, and climb to £16,725 for the 1.4-litre diesel Premium SE.