Hyundai has updated their premium hatchback offering the i20 for the Indian market. There is no doubt that the Elite i20 hatchback attracted a lot of attention when it was launched but the sales figures dipped south when Maruti introduced the Baleno in India because it offered the better package at that price point. But Hyundai is unwilling to leave the competition yet and thus decided to updated their current premium hatchback.
Although the changes are subtle both inside and outside the additional equipment now added to the hatchback surely has made the current hatchback a better value for money product for certain. So without any further due let’s get straight to the point, shall we?
DESIGN AND STYLE ;
The Hyundai Elite i20 2017 has been one of the best looking hatchbacks in the country. Its looks have been its USP and attracted many buyers. The Fluidic Design 2.0 in the Hyundai Elite i20 2017 makes it look fresh and premium in styling. Car buyers have picked up the Elite i20 mainly due to its styling. The aggressive look with the sleek front grille and the hexagonal lower grille are unique. The pulled back headlamps sleek and thicker towards the side. They extend upto the fenders. The large fog lamps are glamorous. From the side too the Hyundai Elite i20 2017 looks premium, specially with the blacked out door pillars. The alloy wheels are smart and contribute to the overall styling.
The Hyundai Elite i20 2017 tail lamps are another talking point. It seems inspired from the Alfa Romeo Giuletta but looks very handsome. The Hyundai Elite i20 2017 is a car design that mostly nobody will dislike . Its quite a masterpiece that doesn’t just do the job. The Hyundai Elite i20 2017 also gets projector headlamps and DRLs, which weren’t there on our test car. This update came in a bit later after Maruti Baleno was launched. The Dual Tone variant offers black roof on the Red and White colour options.
CABIN AND COMFORT ;
Step inside the cabin and the first thing to notice is the beautifully layered dashboard with beige and black colour tones. The design of the dashboard is driver oriented which makes you feel connected to the centre console. The design of the three-spoke tilt and telescopic steering wheel can also be seen on the Grand i10 but this one has a different layout of controls and chrome outlining on the horn pad. The instrument cluster is neat and falls easy on the eyes with analogue tachometer and speedometer having digital temperature and fuel gauge on either side. The party piece of the instrument cluster is the MID screen in the middle that displays a host of information you can’t think of for a car in this segment, no wonder Hyundai calls it supervision cluster. It has steering position reminder so that you are aware of the wheels before you start moving, you can set your service reminder, it also has parking sensor display, doors open/close display, settings for auto unlock, dual tripmeter, gear shift indicator and much more. However, instantaneous fuel consumption, distance to empty and average fuel consumption is shockingly missing.
The electro-chromatic rearview mirror gets a neat display for rear parking camera with steering adaptive guidelines. There are anti-pinch power windows as well that automatically fold down if obstacles are detected. You have keyless entry with push button start so keep the key in your pocket, press the request sensor on the door handle to lock/unlock the car and push the button to start/stop the engine. The AC vents are positioned ergonomically and the steering doesn’t obstruct the air flow for the driver. Automatic climate control works smoothly and chills the cabin within no time. The centre console has a serene uncluttered design and each button and control are placed ergonomically. The big letdown though is the tiny digital screen in the middle. Buyers nowadays expect a fancy touch screen with a whole lot of drama inside for a high-tech infotainment experience. Nevertheless, the Elite i20 comes with a 2-DIN audio system with CD, AUX, USB and Bluetooth connectivity and additionally 1 GB of internal storage space. It has 4 speakers with 4 tweeters and the audio quality feels quite crisp and rich. The Bluetooth can stream calls and music from your Smartphone and all the audio and supervision cluster controls can be found on the steering.
The central locking button is placed in the middle of the centre console just above the hazard lights but sadly there is no speed sensing auto door lock. So you have to reach the button every time you get going. There are two 12V sockets placed on the lower end of the centre console. The newly designed gearknob feels good to hold with rich materials. The quality, fit and finish is superb and has further improved quite some notches above the outgoing model. The plastics have a smooth touch, controls and switches have tactile feedback including the stalks that are a pleasure to use. Speaking of stalks, it now has lane changing one-touch indicators and auto-headlamps with escort function but sadly no rain sensing wipers. The seats at the front are very comfortable that have good back and neck support with ample under-thigh support. The driver’s seat is height adjustable with good flexibility. The driver’s foot-well is well spaced out featuring a dead pedal.
At the rear you get generous legroom, which has improved because of the longer wheelbase. The seatback angle is comfortable, you have height adjustable headrests and the back support is good along with ample headroom but on both the extreme sides you don’t have thigh support because there is a gap between the seat and door pad. Three abreast can sit easily with an almost flat floor, rear AC vents work well to keep passengers comfortable at the back but the rising window line could make short people claustrophobic. There is enough storage space for everything to fit in the right place. There are cupholders in the front, ample door pockets, ticket holder in the centre, space in front of the gearlever for phones and iPods, front arm rest storage, sunglass holder on the top, rear seatback pocket but only behind the passenger seat and cooled glovebox which is generous in size. The 285 litres of boot space is accommodating but a tad smaller in size (reduced by 10-litres) compared to the previous i20 but you have 60:40 split seats at the rear for better flexibility.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;
The i20 diesel comes with the same 1.4-litre, common-rail engine as the previous i20. There’s no change in power (89bhp at 4,000rpm) or torque figures (22.4kgm at 1,750-2,000rpm) either. The six-speed manual gearbox has been carried forward too, albeit with slightly shorter third, fourth and sixth gears to aid drivability. Engine refinement is good with a quiet idle and a subdued clatter being the only sound from the engine bay to keep you company in slow urban commutes. You don’t need to rev the engine very hard to get the best out if it because power comes in nice and early, and this is followed by a gentle surge after 2,000rpm. You’ll also seldom find the need to pass 3,000rpm to get past slower traffic. If you do so, you’ll find the engine quite loud on its climb to its 4,900rpm limiter. While not the most enthusiastic of performers, the i20 diesel makes a strong case as a car for city driving. Helping in no small measure here are its smooth-shifting gearbox and adequately light clutch. A light, if somewhat snappy clutch, and easy gearshifts are some of the traits you’ll find in the i20 petrol too. While power and torque outputs are unchanged from the earlier i20, the 82bhp, 1.2-litre motor has been re-tuned for better bottom-end responses. The engine does feel better than before but it’s still not the liveliest at low engine speeds. However, things get progressively better as you rev harder. The i20 petrol builds speed quickly and revs quite readily past 6,000rpm. Just don’t expect it to excite you.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
It was a weak zone for the phased-out Hyundai i20, and people were hoping that Hyundai pay attention to this aspect and come out with a better option. The Elite i20 comes loaded with a tilt and telescopic steering with a motor-driven (electric) power steering wheel. It is lightweight, which makes it easier to operate, and maneuver the hatch through narrow and congested streets. Hyundai i20 Elite uses McPherson Strut with Coil Spring in the front suspension while the rear suspension features Coupled Torsion Beam Axle with Coil Spring. The diesel engine is mighty powerful as it reaches the 0-100 kmph mark under 14 seconds while clocking a top speed of 165 kmph. The petrol motor is also performance oriented as it achieves the 0-100 kmph barrier in 15 seconds with a top speed of 145 kmph.
In fact, when it comes to comfort and convenience related equipment, the Elite i20 scores quite well; at least in this top of the line Asta trim. It gets steering mounted controls and single zone climate control system; electric ORVMs with auto fold and a cooled glove box; height adjustable seat and Bluetooth telephony; auto headlamps and keyless entry and start; and a reversing camera as well.What it could do with, however, was a rear central armrest, a better trip computer and a leather pack. On the safety front, there’s ABS and front two airbags. Sadly, the six airbag option available on the previous generation i20 has been skipped on the new car.
Hyundai definitely have a finger on the pulse of the Indian buyer, they very effectively know just what it is the market demands and are responding with highly emotional products. The only emotions they aren’t touching are the ones that enthusiasts bear, so if you are looking for a hot hatch and the i20 definitely looks the part, this is not the car for you.If you want a smooth effortless and feature rich product then the i20 ticks all the right boxes. I am impressed but only so much, I want the European spec with more power and better dynamics but that’s me. For the general populace, this is a superb car though I do feel Hyundai should have priced the higher variants a bit more competitively. They would have taken a hit but would have gotten an immensely stronger customer base. Superbly finished, good looking with a great drivetrain and refinement, a list of features to put the competition to shame, the i20 can go on to achieve great things for Hyundai. It’s definitely an evolutionary product and one that will either take the competition back to the drawing board or offering massive discounts. Either way, it’s something that will earn you your neighbour’s envy for a long time to come!