2012 Hyundai i20 1.2 85 review

* Updated Hyundai i20 driven * Cleaner engines and a fresher look * On sale now, priced from 9995...

30 May 2012
2012 Hyundai i20 1.2 85 review

The Hyundai i20 has been given some mid-life tweaks, including updated headlights and foglights, and a hexagonal grille that brings it into line with the rest of Hyundai's model range.

The rear end gets redesigned lights and a new bumper, while the interior has an updated centre console, plusher materials and fresh seat fabrics.

It's not just the i20's looks that have been cleaned up the engines are now more efficient. The 1.2-litre petrol engine in our test car, for example, now does an average of 57.7mpg, an improvement of 2.3mpg.

What's the 2012 Hyundai i20 like to drive?
The engine produces 83bhp compared with the previous car's 77bhp but it still takes its time to get the i20 up to speed, and you'll need to work it hard to get there.

It's happy enough to cruise along once you're up to 70mph, staying quiet and subdued, but if you get stuck behind slower traffic, you'll need a downshift and plenty of revs to get back up to speed.

Hyundai i20: updated exterior and interior brings the i20's looks into line with that of the latest Hyundais

There's a bit of wind and road noise at the national limit, but neither is overly intrusive.

The light steering and tight turning circle come in handy when you're manoeuvring at town speeds, but once you leave the city limits, the steering feels lifeless and it's too willing to self-centre.

There's some body lean in corners, which makes the handling feel a touch soggy. However, the suspension delivers a comfortable ride most of the time, which is more important in a car such as this.

Hyundai i20: ride is generally comfortable

What's the 2012 Hyundai i20 like inside?
Some of the previous i20's hard plastics have been replaced by plusher, soft-touch surfaces, which make the cabin feel a lot more upmarket. It's now on a par with some of the better superminis, even if it can't match the VW Polo.

Hyundai i20: soft-touch plastics and simple dashboard

You'll be hard pressed to notice the differences on the redesigned dashboard, but all the controls are simply laid out and easy to use.

The large windows and high seating position give you a good view out, although taller drivers may feel like they're perched up a bit too high.

Your passengers won't have much cause for complaint, though, because there's enough space for four adults to sit comfortably. The boot is also a good size for the class.

Should I buy one?
The i20 is an affordable car to buy, and the increased efficiency means you'll pay less to run it.

Don't think that Hyundai is stingy with kit, either. Entry-level Classic cars get remote central locking, air-conditioning, electric front windows, stability control and six airbags; Active trim adds alloys, Bluetooth and powered rear windows. Style models get climate control, automatic lights and wipers, and a reversing camera.

Hyundai i20: value for money and a five-year warranty

However, while the i20 is a good car, the supermini class has some truly great ones. The Hyundai will do everything you ask of it, but competitors such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo will do them better. Still, the Hyundai is a shade cheaper than those competitors, so it's an excellent budget choice.

Ford Fiesta
Vauxhall Corsa

What Car? says

Rosie McMahon