New 2020 Hyundai i20: Beauty lies in the ‘i’ of the beholder

The design leaves mixed reactions—some may find it cool, others may feel it’s overdone. But it’s a nice car to drive; comfortable to get driven in.

By:Updated: Nov 23, 2020 10:50 AM
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While the Santro established the brand Hyundai in India, it’s the i20 that give the Korean company the image of a premium carmaker within the mass market segment. Launched a decade ago, the i20 has seen three generations in the country. We drive the latest.

2020 Hyundai i20 Exterior design

The top-end variant has ‘jewel’ pattern grille, LED projector headlamps & LED DRLs, projector fog lamps with air curtains, shark-fin antenna, i20 logo on headlamps and tail-lamps—the fuel-lid cap design can be an inspiration for design students. It’s got the unique Z-shaped tail-lamps. Yet the design leaves mixed reactions—some may find it cool, others may feel it’s overdone. Clearly, the exterior design of a car may not always look better than the sum of its parts.

2020 Hyundai i20 Cabin

While you may or may not like the exterior design, the cabin is so plush that it’s hard not to appreciate it. The plastic quality on the dashboard, the seat fabric, the space in the front row and second, and the equipment on offer (it depends on the variants) is impressive. The cabin is very quiet. Once you’ve closed the windows, minimal sound enters the cabin. Top-end variants get features such as blue ambient lighting, electric sunroof, air purifier, wireless smartphone charger with a cooling pad, and so on. It’s a spacious car—front legroom and headroom, rear seating space, luggage space, everything is generous.

Watch Video | Our 2020 Hyundai i20 review:

2020 Hyundai i20 Engines

The options are: 1.5-litre CRDi diesel with 6-speed manual transmission; 1.2-litre Kappa petrol with 5-speed manual transmission and IVT (Intelligent Variable Transmission); and 1.0-litre turbo GDi petrol with 6-speed iMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission) and7-speedDCT

2020 Hyundai i20 Drive

I drove the 1.2-litre manual and 1.0-litre GDi DCT. In both the variants, the mechanical refinement shows as soon as you start the engine. There are almost zero vibrations inside the cabin. The 1.2-litre variant is great on fuel-efficiency and good in terms of driveability (the claimed fuel efficiency is 20.35 kpl, and I got 17 kpl driving in Delhi traffic). But it’s the1.0-litre GDi that truly stands out. This variant is, indeed, expensive, but in the long term it may turn out to be value for money (depending on your driving cycle). Its claimed fuel efficiency is 20.25 kpl (I got 18 kpl driving from Gurgaon to Delhi),but where it stands out is power— it’s one of the few cars in India that can acceleratefrom0-100km/h in less than 10 seconds.

2020 Hyundai i20 – Verdict

In this class of cars, the new i20— priced from Rs 6.8 lakh for the entry-level 1.2-litre manual variant to Rs11.33 lakh for the top-end 1.0-litre DCT—may appear costly, but the equipment on offer is such that a lot of it may not be available in other cars in its class. And then it’s also a ‘connected car’, which is something not many companies offer in this segment.

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