Car review of new Hyundai Elite i20: Beauty is in the ‘i’ of the beholder

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Published: April 6, 2018 12:35:29 AM

Since August 2014, a car has been running on Indian roads that has many such beholders, and the upgraded version of which was launched at the Auto Expo 2018. We drive it in and around Delhi.

Hyundai Elite i20, Elite i20, hyundai, Elite i20 featuresSince August 2014, a car has been running on Indian roads that has many such beholders, and the upgraded version of which was launched at the Auto Expo 2018. We drive it in and around Delhi.

What makes a car beautiful? Is it futuristic character lines, upscale appearance, ultra-modern looks, or is it a bold, understated and ageless design. Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder. Since August 2014, a car has been running on Indian roads that has many such beholders, and the upgraded version of which was launched at the Auto Expo 2018. We drive it in and around Delhi.

What is the Elite i20?

The Elite i20 is one of Hyundai India’s most successful cars. Ever since it was launched in 2014, the car has recorded monthly sales of about 10,000 units. Its direct competitors are Maruti Suzuki Swift—the new generation of which was launched at the Auto Expo 2018—and Maruti Suzuki Baleno. The all-new Elite i20 was also launched at the Auto Expo 2018, a day before the new Swift.

What are the exterior changes?

Key changes include a cascade-design front grille in gloss; 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels (in top-end variants); air curtains next to front wheels, which, Hyundai says, improve the aerodynamics of the car; a dual-tone rear bumper; daytime running lights near the fog lamps; a new tailgate design; and a new rear lamp design. The car also features projector headlamps with LED; positioning and cornering lamps (these are quite useful as they light up the corners when you take a left or right turn in the dark); a dual-tone exterior colour as an option (the roof in black); and a glossy C-pillar. These changes ensure the new Elite i20 looks sleek, but not over-the-top; appears curvaceous, but not bulbous; and comes across as a futuristic car, and yet not ahead of its time. Most Hyundai car designs elicit unanimous praise and approval, and the new Elite i20 sticks to the line.

What are the changes inside the cabin?

The interiors have been more or less left untouched, and yet there are improvements here and there. For instance, the sound system by Arkamys—the audio expert—is quite good for a car of this segment. Then there is a fully automatic temperature control (FATC) with a cluster ioniser, which, Hyundai says, purifies the cabin air. Some convenient features include a rear armrest with cup holder, sliding front armrest, rear AC vents, USB charger and smartphone connectivity options. One thing that disappointed me was the look and feel of the 17.77-cm AVN (audio-video navigation system), which somehow doesn’t look as premium as the rest of the cabin; its viewing angle, however, is wide and things are visible on the screen even when looked at from extreme angles sitting inside the car.

What all safety features does it get?

There are active and passive safety reinforcements—the top-end variants get as many as six airbags, and dual front airbags and ABS (anti-lock braking system) are standard. The speed-sensing automatic door lock is standard (the car locks automatically once you reach a speed of, I think, 10kph), and it gets a reverse parking camera with dynamic guidelines that show up on the screen. It also gets the Hyundai Auto Link technology—it’s an app that shows vehicle health, driving information, roadside assistance, driving history, eco driving and more on your smartphone.

Which engines power it?

There are two engine options. The 1.4-litre U2 CRDi diesel engine (89bhp of power and 220Nm of torque) that comes with the six-speed manual transmission; and the 1.2-litre Kappa Dual VTVT petrol (82bhp of power and 115Nm of torque) that comes with the five-speed manual transmission. The company says that the engines have an improved mileage of up to 9% compared to the old Elite i20. The petrol has a claimed fuel-efficiency of 19kpl and the diesel returns 24.4kpl. There is yet no automatic gearbox option in the new Elite i20; the company had said it will launch the CVT automatic gearbox in petrol in due course of time.

How does it drive?

I drove the top-end diesel model. The six-speed manual transmission is a smooth performer. The power delivery is linear and at engine speeds above 2,000rpm, if you floor the accelerator pedal in third gear, the car simply shoots ahead. The engine has enough grunt for high-speed highway cruising. Hyundai has worked well on reducing the NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels and all you hear in the cabin is a slight murmur of the diesel motor. In the sixth gear at speeds above 80kph on a smooth road, the cabin is exceptionally quiet. The car handles well on bad roads, too. The steering gives you a much better feedback than in the older car. Overall, you get a big-car feel on the move.

How much is it worth?

The price of the petrol model starts at Rs 5.35 lakh for the Era variant and goes up to Rs 7.9 lakh for the top-end Asta(O) variant. The price of the diesel model starts at Rs 6.73 lakh for the Era variant and goes up to Rs 9.15 lakh for the top-end Asta(O).

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