Hyundai has released its latest i20, a modern hatchback with its crosshairs firmly set on the VW Polo.
The i20 wants to take down the country’s best-selling passenger car by offering more space, more standard equipment, a newer look, and a cheaper starting price.
The new Hyundai i20 is available in two trims, with the more expensive Fluid variant competing against the entry-level VW Polo.
This i20 Fluid gets black cloth seats, an artificial leather gear knob and multifunction steering wheel, a manual air-conditioner with rear vents, a wireless charger, all-round electric windows, cruise control, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, and an 8-inch infotainment display that provides Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and voice control.
Its competitor the Polo Trendline mirrors plenty of these features, but provides a urethane gear knob and a steering wheel, no rear aircon vents, no wireless chargers, front electric windows only, no digital instrument cluster, optional cruise control, and a smaller 6.5-inch infotainment display that only supports Bluetooth.
However, the VW does support We Connect Go – a smartphone app that “talks” with the Polo in order to give the owner vehicle information, service appointments, 24-hour roadside assistance, and a trip monitor.
This is a feature that the Hyundai does not offer.
It’s not a dealbreaker, though, as the i20 brings along standard rear parking sensors and a reverse camera in all models – both of which have to be optioned in the Polo.
Additionally, the Hyundai comes with keyless entry, automatic headlights with daytime running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, ABS with electronic brake force distribution, impact-sensing door unlock, and driver, passenger, side, and knee airbags.
In the Polo, you get LED daytime running lights but no automatic headlights, optional keyless entry, 15-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, hill-hold assist, ABS with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, and driver, passenger, side, and curtain airbags.
This guarantees a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating for the VW Polo Range.
The new i20 has not been put through NCAP safety tests, but the company states this new generation is constructed with 36% stronger steel than the outgoing model – which got a 4-star Euro NCAP rating.
In the spirit of space and practicality, the new i20 has also been made slightly wider and taller than the VW Polo – albeit a bit shorter.
It measures in at 3,995mm long, 1,775mm wide, and 1,505mm tall – which is 4mm wider and 44mm taller than the Polo, and 58mm shorter.
As a result, the i20 carries 311 litres of cargo behind the rear seats, while the Polo provides 350 litres.
The i20 is also capable of pulling a braked towing capacity of 850kg, and carrying 70kg of cargo strapped to the roof.
VW, on the other hand, does not tell us anything about their Polo’s towing and roof carrying capabilities on the product page.
The new i20 comes with three engines and three transmissions, with this Fluid model sporting a 1.2-litre, petrol engine that produces 61kW and 115Nm.
A 5-speed manual transmission handles the drive, with combined fuel consumption rated at 5.9l/100km, 0-100km/h acceleration at 12.9 seconds, and top speed at 169km/h.
The entry-level Polo hatchback is fitted with a 1.0-litre, turbo-petrol motor that generates 70kW and 175Nm, mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
This brings combined fuel consumption to 5.4l/100km, 0-100km/h acceleration to 10.8 seconds, and top speed to 187km/h.
The new Hyundai i20 1.2 Fluid MT has a South African price of R289,900.
Included in the price is a 5-year/150,000km manufacturer’s warranty with an additional 2-year/50,000km powertrain warranty, a 4-year/60,000km service plan, and 7-year/150,000km roadside assistance.
It is also worth noting that this i20 is available with a two-tone roof option, which will cost an extra R5,000.
The VW Polo Hatch 1.0TSI Trendline has a South African price of R290,900.
This includes a 3-year/120,000km warranty, and a 3-year/45,000km service plan.