DRIVEN: HYUNDAI I20

Hyundai it seems has been on a roll lately. We had a chance to check out the new Sonata and were impressed with all the features that came included in the base model. Their warranty also happens to be among the best in the business (10 years/100,000 miles). They have also been selling their lower models like hot cakes especially in India. The i10 and i20 are among the most sold models currently in the market. We tested the 1.2L, 84HP petrol version (you also get a 1.4L petrol and 1.4L diesel version) of the Hyundai i20 around the roads of Bengaluru as part of our quest to test out all the hot hatchbacksto see what the fuss was all about. Here’s what we found out.
Plus: If you drive around Bengaluru, you will notice how bad the roads really are. Not to mention the number of speed humps on any major road. The raised ride height on the Hyundai i20 was a blessing in disguise for us on the trip. Yes there were adverse effects, but the ride height makes it livable to drive this car around town. Another thing we noticed is the amount of storage space. There are numerous cubby holes in the car but all of them are surprisingly large once you open them. Special mention also goes to the trunk of the car and we were honestly taken aback by the amount of space you got from this compact car. The car is also very easy to drive and the steering wheel is very sensitive to the touch and responds almost instantaneously (almost too sensitive for our liking though). You also get airbags all around which is a great addition to even the base version of the car. The engine though lacking in power, makes up for it by being able to deliver the power in the lower and middle region of the power band which makes city driving a breeze. We also felt the seats were also quite supportive. All this while getting about 16 kilometers per liter on the petrol version! That’s among the best we’ve tested while driving around the city.
Minus: That sensitive steering we talked about earlier makes the car feel very twitchy when you take it out on the highway. You don’t get that rock solid feel as the speed increases which is further exaggerated by the raised ride height. You will notice significant body roll when you try to take those bends a little too fast. It makes your drive very unsettling. The interior we felt was made out of very cheap materials and we noticed a lot of rattles while pottering around town. Considering the price, we are not surprised.
Overall: Hyundai has definitely delivered a winning combination in the i20. The combination of base features coupled with the price is hard to beat. This shows especially with the wait times associated with the purchase of a brand new i20. Hyundai has set the bar pretty high for themselves. It will be interesting to see how they follow-up with such a successful entry into the market.
The Hyundai i20 is currently on sale in India from Rs. 4,85,000 (~$9,700) to Rs. 7,90,000 (~$15,800) for the petrol version and from Rs. 6,10,000 (~$12,200) to Rs. 7,60,000 (~$15,200) for the diesel version.

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