New Hyundai i20 revealed

  •  Bigger Fiesta and Polo rival set for Paris show
  •  Longer than before, for more interior space
  •  Due on sale in early 2015, from around £10k
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This is the new Hyundai i20, which will join the forthcoming Skoda Fabia and Mazda 2 in providing fresh competition for the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta when it goes on sale at the start of 2015.

This i20 gets a different chassis from the outgoing model, with a 45mm extension in the wheelbase. Hyundai claims that the increase helps to deliver much-improved cabin space, particularly for rear passengers; the Korean manufacturer says the car 'can comfortably seat five adults' and that the combined front and rear legroom is the best in class.

The overall length of the car is 4035mm; that's a little longer than the outgoing model, and 6cm longer than the Ford Fiesta. It follows Hyundai's recent trend - epitomised by the i10 - of launching vehicles that are large for their class. The new i20's boot capacity is 326 litres; that's 36 litres up on a Fiesta's and 46 more than the latest Polo's.

The new i20 is the first Hyundai to have been styled under the direction of Peter Schreyer, the ex-Audi designer who has been credited with the strong look adopted at Hyundai's sister firm, Kia. Schreyer is now responsible for the styling of both brands, and has been tasked with giving Hyundai a crisper 'family' look.

The i20's front end has a familiar feel, with the deep hexagonal grille that has already been seen on the i30, i40 and Santa Fe. However, the side profile of the car represents a big step over the predecessor; there's a blacked-out C-pillar at the back of the rear doors, breaking up the metal line and making the roof look as though it's floating on top of the cabin.

Hyundai hasn't released any images of the cabin. However, it has revealed that the car will be offered with an integrated rear-view camera, so the fascia will need to include some form of colour central display. This will be a key component of the front cabin, given the recent gains made by the Polo in infotainment.

The car in the initial release images has a glass roof; Hyundai has stated that the i20 will be offered with a full-length panoramic sunroof that can tilt or open fully.

No details of engines or trim levels have been revealed, but we'd expect the existing 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol motor to be retained, along with a trio of diesels: a 1.1 with 74bhp and a 1.4 with either 89bhp or 99bhp. A three-cylinder petrol edition is also likely, using the 66bhp 1.0 that features in the i10, and a performance variant from Hyundai's recently-announced 'N' sub-brand will follow, probably in 2016.

The regular versions of the new i20 will make their public debut at the Paris motor show in October, before arriving in showrooms at the start of next year. Prices are expected to rise only slightly over those of the existing car's; that should give the new i20 a starting figure of around £10,500.

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