Hyundai i20 GLS 2012 Review

Hyundai i20 GLS 2012 Review

Two months ago I spent an excellent couple of weeks driving around Northern Queensland in Hyundai’s previous incarnation of the i20, the Getz. 2800km of budget motoring ranging from the tropical Napier-like town that is Cairns through to the dusty and rutted outback roads of Chillagoe got me intimately familiar with Hyundai’s smallest car. And it made me realise how far it’s come in six years.

Back in 2006, the competition didn’t have much to worry about when Hyundai launched a new model, but things are different now. The i20 has a lot to live up to because its big brother, the i30, is a very fine car. We drove the previous version of the i20 back in 2011. We liked the generous interior space, safety credentials and the good standard of equipment.

Not much has changed here. The i20 comes with a six-speaker stereo that supports Bluetooth streaming (e.g. you can stream internet radio from your phone straight into the stereo, as well as answer phone calls hands-free using buttons on the steering wheel). There’s a pollen filter for the climate control air conditioning and a fire extinguisher fastened in the passenger footwell.

Safety features include anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, automatic headlights, brake assist, electronic stability control, reversing sensors, six airbags and vehicle stability management.

The i20 comes with a speed limiter, not that you’ll be getting up to illegal speeds quickly as its heart is a 1.4-litre 73.5kW 4-cylinder engine. This is good for 5.9l/100km on the urban/extra urban cycle in the automatic. If you want better economy you can get the manual, for which Hyundai’s quoted figure is 5.3l/100km.

It drives the front wheels via a four-speed gearbox. We mentioned in the last review that only having four speeds is fine for around town, but was a bit dated then. If you do a lot of open road driving then a fifth ratio would be optimal, and slightly softer seats would help, too, as they are quite firm.

Boot space is given in preference to rear seat legroom, creating quite a sizeable load area of 295 litres that incorporates a luggage hook and cargo net.

On the outside Hyundai’s Fluidic Design language sees a sharper profile. Body-coloured exterior door handles, front and rear bumpers and mirrors. There’s a strong shoulder line and sculpted sill line.

This top-of-the-line i20 has 185/60R15 tyres. They could do with being wider still because the handling is a little less refined than some of its competitors.

The main warranty is a 3-year, 100,000km mechanical warranty which is less than you’d get if you bought the same car in the UK (5-year unlimited kilometer), but it compares well with its competition.

There are only a couple of things to be aware of if you’re considering purchasing the i20. The handling is not as competent as some of its competitors, and the thick A-pillar creates a bit of a blind spot.

The i20 continues Hyundai’s ascension towards a prestige brand. It has got further to go than the i30 in that race, but this version is still a good improvement over the previous model. As an around-town car it offers excellent fuel economy, a practical size and good looks.

Price: $26,990

Pros

New Fluidic Design brings it better supermini looks

Improved fuel economy

Cons

Squiffy handling is outclassed by the competition

Big blind spot in the A-pillar

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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