Car Review: Hyundai - i20  Series 08 (3 stars)

The Hyundai i20 is a great improvement on the Getz, but it still lags behind the best

The Getz was one of Hyundai's most successful models ever, blending Oriental engineering and reliability with European style. Indeed, it was Hyundai's top seller to date in the UK. Its low price appealed to buyers who wanted something different to the mainstream European small cars with big prices, but in objective terms it ended up trailing on quality.

The problem is that Hyundai wants to be able to compete on more than cheapness and a few toys to sweeten the deal - it is making concerted efforts to be taken seriously as a mainstream player in the European market.

This is where the i20 comes into the equation - gone are the cutesy names and in are the Apple-esque monikers that you can't help but feel depersonalise the cars. Which means the i20 is an improvement on previous Hyundais in terms of the quality of the interior and the driving experience as a whole, but it still lags behind the class best.

There is plenty of room in the cabin, which is a point in the i20's favour, but the dashboard plastics and other materials that you come into contact with on a regular basis feel cheap and flimsy - it doesn't have that premium feel.

The ride is on the harsh side too, the settings are overly firm and have difficulty settling down as a result. That said, the handling is pleasing - the i20's chassis was developed in Germany at Hyundai's European HQ. The handling is one of the areas where you can feel the influence of those experienced engineers and designers with half an eye on demanding European buyers.

The other area is the engines. Whilst the 1.4-litre diesel might be the sensible buy, with its 64mpg and 116g/km CO2 emissions, our pick of the range on offer is the 1.2-litre petrol engine. It likes to be revved and lends the i20 a characterful, perky air.

All i20s come with the standard bits of equipment that you'd expect these days - MP3 connectivity comes as standard on all models, for instance - but pricier items like the sat-nav are harder to justify. You might just want to invest in a portable device or a good map.

Overall the i20 makes a strong case for itself as a bargain buy - perhaps not up there with the best in the class, but the low entry price is very tempting.

Hyundai i20 Series 08 StatisticsCar Reviews

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