Underestimate the Korean car makers at your peril. The current darling of the scrappage scheme, Hyundai, has just unveiled an excellent new three-door i20 diesel. Ian Robertson reports
Regular readers of What Diesel will remember our recent head to head test between the flagship Hyundai i20 Style and What Diesel’s car of the year 2009, the Ford Fiesta. It was a close run thing, and had the Fiesta not been as accomplished as it was, the Hyundai may well have pipped it to the post. So with 15bhp less, and a 2.6 second slower 0-62mph time, does the entry level 74bhp Comfort model fair as well as its more powerful counterpart?
Jumping into the driver’s seat and things are off to a great start. The dashboard is a pleasing design, with a durable, solid feel, while all of the major controls are logically and clearly laid out. The interior has a grown up feel, and is certainly brightened up by the vivid blue seats, although the seats could do with a touch more side support. The wide doors give good access to the rear cabin, but as you would expect from a small car, rear space is limited to two, yet compares well to its peers which offer similar levels of room. Unlike many superminis, the i20 is a comfortable motorway cruiser, with great levels of refinement and low levels of engine and wind noise. The suspension is pliant and well damped, and the handling tidy, but the light steering could do with a little more feel. Throw good visibility into the mix and the i20 makes for a great city car. And yet despite only having 74bhp on tap, swift progress can be made, providing you keep the turbocharger on boost. With CO2 emission of just 116g/km and fuel consumption of 64.2mpg on the combined cycle, the i20 appeals to those looking for frugal motoring – road tax costs only £35 per year.
At £10,350, the i20 as tested is one of the cheapest and best value diesels on sale in the UK, yet you can expect generous levels of equipment. Hyundai has always been renowned for its value for money, and this i20 is certainly no exception. Air conditioning, electric and heated power folding door mirrors, electric windows, 15-inch alloy wheels, together with a full compliment of safety devices mark this model out as exceptional value, while hi-tech equipment like an iPod connection and an MP3 compatible CD player will appeal to trendier, younger buyers. To cap it all, there’s that five-year warranty, for extra piece of mind.
RIVALS: Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 16v Multi Jet 75 Dynamic , Mazda2 1.4 TS2 Diesel, Nissan Micra 1.5 dCi 86 Acenta
- Engine: 1396cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 5-speed manual
- Max Power: 74bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 162lb ft at 1,750-2,350rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 1,100kg
- Combined Consumption: 64.2mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 116g/km (C)
- 0-62mph: 16.2secs
- Max speed: 100mph
- Insurance group: 3
Great value, good equipment levels, five-year warranty, durable and solid feel
Seats could do with more support, lethargic feel until turbo cuts in, steering feel could be better