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2014 Hyundai i20 review – quick spin

A weekend away in a rental i20 gives Robert Pepper an opportunity to write a 2014 Hyundai i20 review and see how well the thing stands up to abuse…

WE NORMALLY SOURCE our test cars directly from the manufacturer, but over the weekend I was presenting some seminars in Brisbane and rented a Hyundai i20 from Budget.  This one was 20,000km old and had certainly been through a bit more use than the average press car.

The Hyundai i20 is Hyundai’s second smallest car after the i10 and can be yours for less than $14,000 driveaway. For that you get the car, five years unlimited kilometre warranty and ten years roadside assist.   Hyundai claim it is nimble, agile, eye catching and has power to spare but I’d say they must be living in a parallel universe… if that’s what you want from a car then there’s lots of other options such as the Fiesta ST, Fiat 500, smaller Renaults and the like, even the Mazda2 which m’colleague Higgins rated rather highly.   Or I suppose there’s this.

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The i20 is simply a small, cheap, no-fuss no-frills small car that’s good value and very easy to drive, doing its job in an inoffensively bland sort of way.
 
The switchgear and controls will be familiar to any Australian, and the hard plastics may not be luxurious but are at least be hard wearing. Cheap in this case doesn’t mean tacky. The stereo and Bluetooth system isn’t the best, but there’s the usual 12v socket as well as a seperate USB input. The vehicle had a few minor scratches on the interior vinyl, but overall I reckon it’d last as well as any other car and better than most.
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Reasonably capacious boot for the size of car, and a usefully sized lip. Three good headrests as well for safety.
There’s pretty decent space in the boot, and I spent time in the second row with no complaints. The front doesn’t feel cramped despite the small exterior dimensions.  And thank you Hyundai, there’s a full-sized alloy spare wheel. Even for a city car that’s a brilliant move and on that point alone the i20 should move up your shortlist.  On the base Active model there’s no steering wheel media controls, nor is there cruise control on the vehicle at any trim level which will not endear it to drivers planning freeway trips.  The wheel is adustable for both reach and tilt, a nice touch not found in many more expensive vehicles, and the driver’s seat is properl height-adjustable.  Roadholding is on the low side of average, but safe enough.
 
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The engine is a 1.4L petrol that can develope 73.5kW at a rather frantic 5500rpm, and you know manufacturers are desperate when they measure power down to half a kilowatt. Our car was a six-speed manual, and while I didn’t drive the auto I suspect it’s best avoided as it has a mere four speeds so the engine has to work that much harder in every gear. I felt the i20 was adequately powered, but Mrs P who drives with her foot welded to the floor felt it was “gutless”, so that engine with two less gear ratios to choose from is unlikely to impress her any further.
 
But this is a budget car, and with halfway intelligent driving you can zip along reasonably well around town with no need to explore the higher rev limits. Our fuel consumption of 8.7L/100km was well above the combined cycle figure of 5.3L/100km, but we often had three or four people in the car with travelling bags, there wasn’t much freeway cruising and the aircon was kept working hard to combat the Brisbane humidity. Oh, and I wasn’t driving all the time either…

PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS

The i20 is a comfortable, easy-to-use but basic city car which should provide worry-free motoring for many years.  If you don’t need cruise control and don’t mind driving a manual it is worth a further look, but a few more dollars will buy better appointed, more interesting and more powerful small cars.

2014 Hyundai i20 Active

Price : from $13-$14000 (+ORC); Engine : 1.4L 4cyl petrol; Power/torque : 73.5kw / 136Nm; Transmission : 6-speed manual, 4-speed auto option; Fuel consumption : 5.3L/100km ADR81/02 combined ; Turning circle : 10.4m; Dimensions: 3995mm L / 1710mm W / 1490mm H; Safety : 5 star ANCAP (retested 2014); Fuel : 91 RON petrol; Weight : 1150kg approx

 


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Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper