Hyundai i20 Mk 1 (2009-2015)
A decent supermini whose keen price and generous equipment levels may well compensate for a lack of flair.
Looks modern
Is economical and good value
Has a long warranty
It’s not great to drive
The cabin’s dull
Rear legroom is limited

Hyundai i20 Mk 1 review (2009-2015)

The i20's not bad, but it’s short of the flair and polish that the best-in-class Ford Fiesta and VW Polo deliver.

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What is the Hyundai i20 Mk 1?

Hyundai makes some fine cars these days, but the i20 supermini isn’t quite one of them. It’s not bad, but it’s short of the flair and polish that the best-in-class Ford Fiesta and VW Polo deliver, especially when it comes to driving enjoyment. On the other hand, the i20 is well priced — from £9,995 — and comes generously equipped: even the cheapest models have air-conditioning. It’ll be reliable, too, and you get a standard five-year warranty. So if you don’t do big mileages and most of your trips are in town, this tidily unremarkable hatchback could make sense, especially as it’s very economical and produces low CO2 emissions. Even so, the standards in the supermini class are high enough that the i20’s appeal depends heavily on price and standard equipment.

The drive

The i20 scores straight away with a trio of pluses, in that it’s quiet, rides well and is easy to drive, making it a good urban shopper. Its civility is spoilt slightly on coarse surfaces, when mild road roar breaches the peace, and some may consider the steering too heavy at low speeds. Oddly, the steering then feels rather light on the open road and a bit too keen on self-centring. Throw in a bit of body roll and you have a car that’s less than deft on country roads.

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The i20 comes with a 1.2 or 1.4-litre petrol engine, a very frugal 1.1 diesel or a 1.4 diesel. If economy is everything, the 88.3mpg 1.1 CRDi Blue eco-version could appeal, although many will be frustrated by its lack of zest. And it’s £1,200 more expensive than the 1.2 petrol, which, with its good economy and perkier performance, is the best buy. The 1.4 petrol isn’t much faster than the peppy 1.2, and the pricey 1.4 diesel is slower, which is why the small petrol engine is our choice.

The interior

If you like black, silver and grey, you’ll like the i20’s interior, those being the only colours it comes in. That makes it a little oppressive, but you should get a lift from the decorative faux aluminium and the knowledge that you’re driving a very well-equipped car for the money. Classic may be the cheapest spec, but it provides air-conditioning, six airbags, an iPod connector, electric front windows and remote central locking. The only drawback is that if you need Bluetooth phone connectivity, you must shell out an extra £1,000 for the i20 Active, because that feature is not an individual option.

The cabin is reasonably spacious for the class, even if legroom is a little tight, the boot is a good size and the split rear seats tumble forward to provide a big load deck. The i20 is tidily finished too, if unexceptional.


The one to buy

Hyundai i20 1.2 Classic 5-door


£10,595 (correct at time of first publication)
1248cc, 4 cylinders
84bhp @ 6000rpm
88 lb ft @ 4000rpm
5-speed manual
0-62mph in 12.7sec
Top speed:
57.6mpg (combined)
Road tax band:
L 3995mm, W 1710mm, H 1490mm

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