New Hyundai i20 released – First-drive impressions – TopAuto
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Wednesday / 8 December 2021
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New Hyundai i20 released – First-drive impressions

Hyundai has unveiled the new i20 hatchback – and we got to drive it.

The new i20 competes against best-sellers like the VW Polo, offering a more complete standard equipment list, a cheaper starting price, and an attractive modern design.

The car is available in two trim lines, with two roof options, two transmissions, three engines, four seat variants, six exterior colours, and eight derivatives.


As standard, the i20 is available in the Motion and Fluid trims, with the latter being more luxurious.

Standard features in all models comprise:

  • Bluetooth
  • Keyless entry
  • Manual air-conditioner
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • All-round electric windows
  • 8-inch infotainment display
  • Multifunction steering wheel
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Automatic headlights with daytime running lights

The pricier Fluid gets a trendier cabin, as it swaps the fabric seats and urethane steering wheel for artificial leather variants – and adds several features including cruise control, a wireless charger, electric folding wing mirrors, mood lamps, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Across the line-up, every i20 is fitted with rear parking sensors and a reverse camera, ABS with electronic brake force distribution, driver and passenger airbags, and a full-size spare wheel.

It must be mentioned that this generation of i20 has not been put through any NCAP safety tests, but Hyundai states the new reinforced body structure is made with 30%-stronger steel than the outgoing model.


In the engine department, there is a choice between a 1.2-litre or 1.4-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine, or a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor.

The 1.2-litre is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, generates 61kW and 115Nm, and achieves a 5.9l/100km fuel consumption.

The 1.4-litre comes with a 6-speed automatic gearbox only, produces 74kW and 133Nm, and achieves a 6.9l/100km fuel consumption.

The range-topping 1.0-litre turbo can be ordered with a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, delivers 90kW and 172Nm, and achieves a 6.9l/100km fuel consumption.

In the rear, the new hatch can now fit 311 litres of cargo, which is a 26-litre improvement on the old model – while rear legroom as well as overall shoulder room has been increased, too.


The South African pricing and model line-up for the new Hyundai i20 is as follows:

  • Hyundai i20 1.2 Motion MT – R275,900
  • Hyundai i20 1.4 Motion AT – R305,900
  • Hyundai i20 1.2 Fluid MT – R289,900
  • Hyundai i20 1.2 Fluid MT 2-tone – R294,900
  • Hyundai i20 1.0 TGDI Fluid MT – R330,900
  • Hyundai i20 1.0 TGDI Fluid MT 2-tone – R335,900
  • Hyundai i20 1.0 TGDI Fluid DCT – R355,900
  • Hyundai i20 1.0 TGDI Fluid 2-tone – R360,900

All models are sold with a 5-year/150,000 mechanical warranty with an additional 2-year/50,000km powertrain warranty, a 4-year/60,000km service plan, and 7-year/150,000km roadside assistance.

First Drive

We got to drive the new range-topping Hyundai i20 1.0TGDI Fluid 2-tone, in both the automatic and manual versions, this week.

The car is about 5cm shorter than its main competitor, the VW Polo, but is both wider and taller.

It’s easy to get in and out of, and the artificial leather seats in the variant we had were very comfortable.

The digital instrument cluster and well-rounded infotainment system stood out immediately at this price point, and I was informed that it is standard across the entire range – which got a big thumbs up.

After we were on the road, it was time to do the mandatory prodding and pulling to see what this car is all about.

The interior is built sturdy and the plastics feel high-quality, especially when put side-to-side with segment competitors.

The infotainment system is intuitive and smooth – whether you’re fiddling with the screen or adjusting features with the steering wheel.

I even got to charge my phone on the built-in wireless charging pad.

Even more impressive, however, was the driving.

In its manual guise, the spirited 1.0-litre i20 has quick pull-aways and the top-end was not lacking in the slightest.

The sixth gear really can be used for cruising, as fifth gets you to 120km/h and beyond without showing any signs of strain.

On the way back from the 180km round-trip we did, the DCT transmission made the overall experience more comfortable, but took a bit of character out of the drive.

It is a bit slower off the line and with gear changes and drinks more fuel – at least on our drive.

Across both, the steering was a pleasure, as it is firm and direct, and the suspension was comfortable.

All things considered, Hyundai has made a genuine competitor in this segment. You don’t pay for anything you don’t need, it looks good, and the variant we drove has some proper pulling power.

A Hyundai insider also hinted that the i20 N version is on its way in the future., which we look forward to.

Hyundai i20 – Photos

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