Hyundai Elite i20 Performance & Test Drive

Hyundai Elite i20 Overview

The Hyundai Elite i20 has been a popular choice since it first hit our roads in late 2014, with over 10,000 units finding buyers every month. It’s done well in all our previous tests as well, defeating the ever practical Honda Jazz and the crowd favourite, Maruti Suzuki Baleno (click here to read our three-way shootout). Not too long ago, we also reviewed the refreshed 2018 Elite i20 with a 1.4-litre diesel and a 6-speed manual, but sometimes revisits are in order especially given the fact that nothing in the buzzing hatchback segment stays still for long. This time around, we have the petrol-CVT version on test which we think is the sweet spot in the range. More importantly, this new CVT model is considerably cheaper and better equipped than the previous i20 automatic. On paper, then, the Elite i20 CVT seems like a great deal, but does that translate to a practical and convenient city runabout? Read on to find out. Book a test drive for Elite i20 in Tryaldrive

 Check for Hyundai Elite i20 On Road Price in New Delhi

Hyundai Elite i20 Exterior

The facelift is not extensive, but manages to give the i20 a fresh appearance. The change is more evident at the front than the rest of the car. New headlamps adorn the two sides of the reworked, slimmer bonnet grille. The headlamps exude a very European flavour and also give the face-lifted i20 a fresh introduction that brings it into the fold of the same fluidic design philosophy that all of Hyundai’s new products now sport.

A simpler, slimmer bonnet grille with a single slat in black, off-setting the oval, chrome Hyundai logo in the centre is more pleasing. The other change that brings the new i20’s look more aggression is the large airdam and the triangular fog lamps in the redesigned front bumper. In fact, the redesigned i20 is now longer overall by over 50mm largely due to the change in the front bumper.

From the side the face-lifted i20 looks identical to the outgoing model. Turn indicator LEDs in the door mirrors, the familiar grab handles and the strong crease of the tornado line catch the onlooker’s eye at the sides. The gradually rising shoulder and the glass area remain the same. At the rear of the face-lifted i20, the overall features continue to resemble the previous model. The bumper has been slightly redesigned with new reflectors positioned to again refer back to the fluidic design of the other models. While the tail-lamps overall design has been carried forward, the combination has been reworked to give it a more modern and structured appearance. Overall, the exterior redesign has been a low-budget, yet cost-effective job, giving the new version a fresh look.

Hyundai Elite i20 Interior

The i20 CVT’s cabin feels premium for the money – there is soft-touch padding around the arm rest and top half of the dash, supplemented by silver trim highlights on the centre console. The dual tone dash is finished in black and an odd shade of light brown, however, the fit and finish is solid and better than the competition. Like the manual version, the only visible update over the old car comes in the form of some new buttons on the steering wheel and that’s about it.

The touchscreen infotainment system, identical to that in the manual version, is quick to respond and offers a crisp UI. The audio quality from the 4-speaker/4-tweeter is impressive, too. As for comfort, the seat fabric is new and although it may not look as plush as a full leather treatment, the seats themselves are adequately soft and comfortable. The rear isn’t short on space or comfort either – there is more than enough legroom and headroom and the low beltline means the visibility all around is great. The boot, meanwhile, remains the same at 285 litres, expanding to 1,042 litres when the rear seats are folded flat. There’s nothing really to fault in here except for the lack of equipment over the manual Asta (O) trim.

Speaking of equipment, this particular CVT Asta variant gets all the essentials including front airbags, ABS, touchscreen infotainment system, parking sensors with rear camera and height adjustable driver’s seat. That said, it misses out on some niceties such as automatic headlamps, keyless entry, projector headlamps, leather wrapped steering wheel and gearknob, parking sensor display and a rear wiper.

Hyundai Elite i20 Performance

The new i20 variant was the 1.4-litre Gamma VTVT petrol engine mated to the four-speed automatic transmission of before. The 1,396cc engine produces a maximum power of 100 PS at 5,500 rpm and a peak torque of 13.9 Kg-M at 4,200 rpm. The engine is very quiet and refined during the regular driving cycles, but gets a bit ‘buzzy’ when I stomp on the pedal and the four-speed auto gearbox gets into a tizzy trying to find the right slot for meeting my demands.

Hyundai has also tweaked the 1.2 Kappa, the other petrol engine, with the addition of a dual VTVT – its version of variable valve timing and control. The result is a marginal boost in power to 84PS at 6,000 rpm. The 1,197cc engine manages to produce a peak torque of 11.6 Kg-M at 4,000 rpm. This engine is paired with a five speed manual transmission.

The other engine option that is also available is the 1.4-litre U2 CRDi diesel engine. The four-cylinder 1,396cc engine is the most torquey of the trio generating 22.4 Kg-M between 1,500 to 2,750 rpm. It produces a healthy 90 PS of power at 4,000 rpm. The engine is mated to the same 6-speed manual gearbox.The rear wheels get disc brakes now in the ABS variants. The suspension has been carried forward and so the ride is very similar to the previous i20, which essentially means that it is very oriented towards city driving. Drive over clean tarmac and it is almost premium sedan like both at the front and rear.

Hyundai Elite i20 Driving

It develops 115Nm of torque at 4,000rpm where the CVT invariably will hold the revs when you floor the accelerator, but there is no getting anywhere quickly, and not quietly either – the trademark rubber-band effect is noticeable even at part throttle, something which can be infuriating at times. Fortunately, there is a manual mode (but no paddle shifters) which gives you more control and makes spirited driving somewhat rewarding. All in all, the i20 CVT isn’t the punchiest premium automatic in its class but in urban conditions when the drivetrain isn’t under pressure, it’s smooth and efficient.

Like the manual version, the i20 CVT has had its rear suspension tweaked. By that we mean the damping has been changed to make the rear less bouncy at speed. At speed you can feel the upgraded rear-end improving the car’s highway manners, with less of the up-and-down movement. That said, if you decide to chuck the i20 through some corners, it’s not going to set your world on fire – the steering feel is still inconsistent off centre and there is more body roll than what you would expect. On the plus side, the i20 retains its class leading refinement over bad roads – road noise is minimal and the suspension remains rather quiet as it irons out jittery surfaces.

Hyundai Elite i20 Safety

Hyundai has incorporated a decent braking system in the hatch, which consists of disc brakes on the front and drum brakes on the rear. It is supported immensely well by the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), but that is limited to the top three variants. Earlier, Hyundai i20 used to be the only hatchback under Rs. 10 lakh that offered as many as half a dozen airbags and was impeccably safe. But, now the scenario has reversed as even the top-end trim has only 2 airbags. The base and mid variants don’t feature a single airbag, while the Sportz trim comprises of only driver’s airbag. The parking assist feature with reverse parking sensors and rear camera with ECM display comes handy during parking the hatch. There are front fog lamps to improve visibility in inclement weather conditions.

But, again, both the aforesaid features are with Sportz and Asta trims. Additionally, the top-end trim also features seat belt pretensioners for the driver and front passenger, automatic headlamps, impact-sensing auto door unlock and clutch lock. On the security front, it has immobilizer, smart keyless entry, and central locking (door and tailgate) to endure any event of burglary or thievery. It can be propounded nonchalantly that the current gen Elite i20 stands nowhere close to its predecessor in terms of safety features. The company has disappointed thoroughly in the safety and security aspect.

Hyundai Elite i20 Cost in Mumbai

Hyundai Elite I20 Ex-Showroom Price in Mumbai ranges from 5,27,312/- (Elite i20 1.2 Era Petrol) to 9,09,448/- (Elite i20 1.4 Asta Option Diesel). Get best offers for Hyundai Elite I20 from Hyundai Dealers in Mumbai. Check for i20 price in Mumbai at Carzprice

Hyundai Elite i20 Conclusion

The Hyundai Elite i20 with all these changes surely can compete easily with some of its potential rivals like the Maruti Baleno and the Ford Figo and Volkswagen Polo in the Indian market. The changes to the exterior and interior are limited to cosmetics, but that does not take the light away from the fact that the i20 is considered as one of the bestsellers of the Indian auto market.

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