Watch video: 2018 Hyundai Elite i20 Facelift review: Nip and tuck job or any better?

Popular Hyundai i20 received its much-awaited facelift at the Auto Expo 2018, but does the new additions on the hatchback got enough to counter the Maruti Suzuki Baleno? We recently drove the new car and here's the first drive review of the new 2018 Hyundai i20.

By: | Updated: March 9, 2018 5:50 PM
2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: New headlamp cluster featuring DRLs and projector headlamps. Also gets new front grille. 2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: New headlamp cluster featuring DRLs and projector headlamps. Also gets new front grille.

Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL) recently launched the facelift Elite i20 at the Auto Expo 2018. Ever since its launch, the Elite i20 has been an extremely successful model for the South Korean company and was the best-selling premium hatchback in India till the Maruti Suzuki Baleno came in. With product lifecycles of cars shortening quickly, it was time Hyundai gave the Elite i20 a makeover and that's exactly what Hyundai has done. While most facelifts end up being a nip and tuck job, Hyundai has gone the extra mile to enhance the value offering. Whether these changes are going to be enough to maintain the Elite i20's competitiveness and strengthen it further is what we found out by driving the new Hyundai Elite i20 recently.

Design

2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: Overall dimensions remain unchanged 2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: Overall dimensions remain unchanged

The key change in the exterior design of the car is the inclusion of the cascade grille, which was first introduced in the new Verna. Finished in gloss effect, the new i20 looks wider and slightly more upmarket than the previous model. The headlamps now feature LED DRLs (Daytime Running Lamps) and projector units. Positioning and cornering lamps not only are a new inclusion but they also add to the overall driving convenience and safety.`

On the side, notable changes include new 16-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, which complement the i20's sharp and sporty styling. A blackened-out C-Pillar adds further to the design by giving a floating roof effect.

Changes at the rear are quite substantial and the most noticeable one is the new tailgate design. New tail lamps along with a dual-tone bumper accentuate the Elite i20's attractive design and ensure that the car looks fresh among its competitors.

Design changes in the new Hyundai Elite i20 are subtle yet well-thought and add a whiff of freshness to the overall package. The Elite i20 for long has been the best-looking car in its segment and with the facelift, things just got better.

Interiors

2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: 17.77 cm touchscreen infotainment system compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto 2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: 17.77 cm touchscreen infotainment system compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto

Hyundai Elite i20 has been liked by buyers a lot for its interiors and I've said it earlier as well that the Elite i20's interiors are reminiscent of German luxury cars from a generation back. The new model doesn't spoil the successful formula and simply builds on it. The infotainment system has a 17.77 cm touchscreen and comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Navigation is supported through SD card and there's USB, Aux-in and Bluetooth connectivity as well.

Adding to the comfort quotient is a fully-automatic climate control, which features a rear AC vent for faster and effective cooling. A sliding front armrest and a wide armrest at the rear seat make the cabin comfortable for occupants in both rows.

2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: Top variants continued to get multi-functional steering wheel 2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: Top variants continued to get multi-functional steering wheel

Space hasn't changed but that isn't an issue as the Elite i20 offers good legroom and headroom. The seats themselves are quite good at the front and the rear seat too is one of the better ones in the segment with impressive under-thigh support and a comfortable incline angle of the backrest. Material and fitment quality is impressive and easily the best in its segment.

Powertrain

2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: 1.2 Kappa Dual VTVT engine shedding a power of 81hp and 115 Nm of torque mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox 2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: 1.2 Kappa Dual VTVT engine shedding a power of 81hp and 115 Nm of torque mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox

The new Hyundai Elite i20 comes with the same engines as found in the older model but there are some tricks in the bag. The petrol engine is a 1.2 litre Kappa Dual VTVT unit, producing about 81 hp and 115 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm and was the one we tested. The diesel engine is a U2 CRDi unit with a power output of 88 hp and 220 Nm of torque between 1,500 to 2,750 rpm. Hyundai claims an improvement in fuel-efficiency of nine percent in both engines on the back of tuning and improved aerodynamics. Our test run returned a fuel-efficiency of 14.8 kmpl with almost all of the driving carried out in city traffic and a heavy right foot during performance testing.

Both engines are mated to a five-speed manual transmission, which is light and easy to operate. The ratios are well-suited for the engine and coupled to a light clutch, the new Elite i20 continues to be comfortable to drive in heavy traffic.

The petrol engine is smooth and refined and barely any noise filters into the cabin at city speeds. There's very little lag once you start rolling, which quickly disappears once you cross about 1,500 rpm. Acceleration is respectable and reaching triple-digit speeds is easy, translating into quick and easy overtaking on highways.

Ride & Handling

2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: The rear of the car newly designed tail-lamps and modified rear bumper 2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: The rear of the car newly designed tail-lamps and modified rear bumper

Traditionally, handling hasn't been a forte for Hyundai cars but the latest crop of cars have improved vastly and the Elite i20 is one of them. The car remains planted at highway speeds and goes around corners with confidence. A series of quick directional changes too are handled well by the chassis during spirited drives. However, the Elite i20 isn't a performance-oriented car and hence there's some body-roll but it's evident only when pushing really hard. Braking from a high speed is also good and the front disc and rear drum setup along with ABS and EBD bring the car to a quick and sure-footed halt. ABS intervention has been programmed smartly and the system doesn't feel as intrusive as on some other cars but does its job well.

Ride quality on the Elite i20 hasn't been changed and remains good for urban usage as most surface irregularities are filtered out well. Add to this a light steering wheel and you get a car that's easy and comfortable to drive. The feedback from the steering wheel though could have been better as the correlation between the steering weight and actual feel from the front tyres doesn't match.

Safety

2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: The top variant of Elite i20 Asta gets six airbags. 2018 Hyundai i20 facelift: The top variant of Elite i20 Asta gets six airbags

Hyundai was the first carmaker in India to offer six airbags in a hatchback with the first i20. The company has maintained its focus on safety since then and the new Elite i20 continues to be one of the safest cars in its segment. Front-dual airbags with ABS are standard offering and one can opt for six airbags on top variants. ISOFIX mounts are a well-thought inclusion and along with reverse parking camera, the Elite i20 offers a safe and convenient experience to its occupants.

 

Conclusion

The updates done to the new Hyundai Elite i20 facelift are subtle but well-planned and improve the overall value offering for consumers. With improved fuel-efficiency, the car is going to be slightly lighter on your pocket too. Talking of pocket, the new Elite i20 is priced between Rs 5.35 lakh to Rs 9.15 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi. At this price, the new Elite i20 offers an impressive set of features, safety equipment and the fact that the Elite i20 is still the best-looking car in its segment is a cherry on the cake.

New 2018 Hyundai Elite i20 Price List:

 1.2 litre  1.4 litre
Elite i20 Petrol Diesel
Era Rs 534,900 Rs 673,000
Magna Era Rs 599,900 Rs 731,000
Sport Rs 659,400 Rs 783,400
Asta Rs 711,500 Rs 835,900
Asta(O) Rs 790,500 Rs 915,500

 

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