2021 Hyundai i20: a new design, comfortable cabin and nippy powertrain

The 2021 Hyundai i20 features a distinctive design, a new punchy turbo-petrol engine, good fuel efficiency, and almost all the standard specs you would want in a hatchback. However, the small car faces stiff competition from the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Mazda2, Kia Rio, Nissan Micra, and Toyota Starlet.

Is it good enough to beat the sales scores of the Polo and Fiesta? We review the third-generation i20 to find the answer:

What’s new?

Apart from the turbocharged mill (which we will discuss in detail later), the new 2021 Hyundai i20 is longer, wider, and offers a slightly improved ground clearance than the previous generation. It offers 88mm of extra legroom and 40mm more shoulder room for rear occupants.

Furthermore, Hyundai has enlarged the load bay area, offering 311 litres of space compared to 285 litres available in the 2nd-gen models. You can also make use of a luggage storage net to enhance the carrying capacity.

Hyundai offers the 2021 i20 in only two trim levels: Motion and Fluid – both featuring different powerplants. The Motion carries a naturally aspirated 1.4-litre petrol engine, while the Fluid comes with a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder turbo-petrol unit generating 90 kW and 172 Nm of torque mated to a six-speed manual gearbox (seven-speed automatic is optional). It is undoubtedly punchier and more responsive than not only the naturally aspirated unit but is also more potent than the Fiesta and Polo’s 1.0-litre turbocharged engines. However, the torque figures are nearly equal, but they can’t match the i20’s engine eagerness.

The 1.0-litre turbo mill certainly addresses the lack of punch and refinement we experienced in the previous generation. According to Cars.co.za, the i20 demonstrated a hint of delay at pull away but zipped around smoothly afterwards, thanks to the accessibility of the peak torque from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm. It means you don’t have to rev hard to get your desired speed.

The 1.0T Fluid variant uses smart-looking 16-inch alloys covered in 195/55 tyres, offering a more stable ride than the second generation. The ride quality is now better than before, thanks to the forgiving suspension.

The new turbo engine didn’t hit the third-generation i20’s fuel economy badly. Hyundai says it returns 6.5L/100 km, but the independent test from Cars.co.za delivered 5.7L/100 km.

The ergonomically friendly interior features a new 10.25-inch instrument cluster and an eight-inch centre touchscreen with infotainment supporting Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Other facilities include a wireless charging pad, 2x USB ports for the front, 1x USB for the rear occupants, electric windows, electrically adjustable and auto-folding side mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, rear park assist, a reverse-view camera, and more. 

Hyundai has given the digital display an innovative look, with the speedometer and engine revolution meter placed on either side. The seats wrap in artificial leather, offering adequate comfort.

The 2021 Hyundai i20 starts at R275,900, and the turbocharged 1.0T Fluid manual goes for R330,900. The automatic variant costs R355,900. (Prices correct at time of publication.) All models offer a 5-year/150,000 km manufacturer’s warranty and an extra 2-year/50 000 km powertrain warranty. Furthermore, Hyundai presents a 5-year/160,000 km perforation warranty, seven years (or until 150,000 km) roadside assistance, in addition to a 4-year/60,000 km service plan.

Compare the i20 to other hatchbacks available in South Africa. Visit the MotorHappy blog to read our monthly car reviews

Please note the imagery supplied in this blog was taken off www.cars.co.za .

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