The entry-level 83bhp 1.2-litre petrol feels peppy and flexible for a small engine; the 98bhp 1.4 is gutsier but has no great advantage. Diesel buyers can choose between one of two engines: the super-frugal 74bhp 1.1 or the 89bhp 1.4.
The i20 is easy to drive in town thanks to its compact dimensions and punchy engines, but the steering could be lighter. Unfortunately, it becomes too light at higher speeds, and it’s also too keen to self-centre. Combine that with the pronounced body lean, and it's not as much fun to drive as the class best. That said, the handling is always stable and predictable, and the ride is comfortable.
Even the entry-level petrol engine stays hushed when you're cruising, so there's little from under the bonnet to disturb you. You hear a bit of wind noise rushing down the car's sides, but road noise is the i20's main source of sound. It's still reasonably quiet all round, though.
The i20's pricing is very aggressive, especially when you factor in the stack of kit each model comes with. Fuel economy and emissions are also very good, so it'll cost you peanuts to run. Resale values aren't great, but they're no worse than you get from some of the more popular cars in the class.
The cabin materials are sturdy, so they shouldn't be ruined by the prying fingers of fidgety kids. Some soft-touch surfaces make things look fairly appealing, too. The i20 was awarded and average rating for reliability in the 2012 JD Power customer satisfaction survey, and the five-year warranty is reassuring.
The i20 gets stability control as standard across the range, which will help drivers avoid sticky situations. Other safety measures found in all models are six airbags and active head restraints, so most of the bases are covered.
The i20's windows are big and the driving position is quite high, so it's very easy to see out of. However, taller drivers might feel that they're perched up a touch too high. The dashboard's plain design makes it pretty easy to use, but the bland looks means there's little to get excited about.
The i20 has as much room as many of its mainstream rivals, with enough cabin space for four adults to sit comfortably. However, five's a squeeze and there's not a lot of rear legroom. The boot is wide and a decent size, and the rear seats are split-folding affairs that tumble forwards.
Entry-level Classic cars come with air-conditioning, remote central locking and electric front windows, which is enough for it to be our favourite. Active spec gets masses of kit, including alloys, electric rear windows, Bluetooth and front foglights. Style models get luxuries such as automatic lights and wipers, climate control and a reversing camera that’s integrated into the rear-view mirror.
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This is our pick of the i20 range. There's no need to buy a more powerful engine, and Classic trim provides most of the kit you really need at a bargain price.