- Spacious interior
- Enjoyable to drive
- Sleek styling
With the i10 now one of the most ubiquitous city cars on our roads, Hyundai has firmly established its credentials as a small carmaker in recent years.
For those who need something slightly bigger, however, the i20 has flown under the radar to a large degree, especially when compared to its diminutive sibling.
Following a comprehensive makeover towards the end of 2021, the South Korean brand's offering in the supermini class is well worth considering.
The i20 faces stiff competition from the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen's Polo, to name a few. I tested the i20 in mid-range Premium spec, and it definitely has plenty to commend- including a stylish new look, decent space, and an enjoyable driving experience.
Smooth, clean lines and sharp angles while a lower roof and slightly increased width and length - as well as a longer wheelbase - all help to create a more dynamic presence on the road.
Multiple trim grades are available including SE Connect, Premium, Ultimate and the more aggressively styled N Line - offer buyers plenty of choice while there is a fully-fledged, hot hatch N version now available which will excite the boy racer brigade.
Whichever version you go for, it will be well-equipped. They may not be as affordable as they used to be, but the sheer amount of kit Hyundai throws in relative to like-for-like rivals still means their motors always offer good value for money.
Our mid-range Premium model may be the sweet spot of the range in that regard, boasting some impressive bells and whistles not always expected in a small car.
A 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system dominates the dashboard, incorporating digital radio, navigation, Bluetooth with voice recognition, Apple and Android smartphone connectivity, a reversing camera and a range of Hyundai Bluelink connected services with a free 5-year subscription.
You also get a digital driver’s display, drive mode select, climate control, heated front seats, rear privacy glass, cruise control, automatic emergency braking, hill start assist, and lane keep assist.
Power for most of the range comes from a mild hybrid system combining a 1.0-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol engine with a 48-volt electric motor, delivering 99bhp and 127lb ft torque and carbon dioxide emissions from 115g/km.
The sport-focused N Line variant gets a slightly more punchy 118bhp version and both are matched with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard, with an optional 7-speed automatic also available.
The 3-cylinder is a peppy little engine and makes for a lively and responsive drive in town traffic and along winding country lanes – where a tight chassis and quick, direct steering add a surprisingly good fun factor.
Grip is reassuring, and body roll kept to a minimum, offering the driver plenty of encouragement to take full advantage of some impressively agile handling capabilities.
The pay-off for this engaging dynamic agility is a firm edge to the ride quality, larger potholes and scars on the road surface sending a shudder through the cabin, but it rarely strays into uncomfortable territory.
The falls away a little at the top end but not to the extent that the i20 Premium struggles at motorway speeds – where the inclusion of a sixth gear for the manual, not always a given in this class, helps keep the revs at a reasonable and relaxed level.
Interior space is an area where the i20 Premium scores heavily against some of its rivals. Head and legroom in the rear is decent and, although shoulder space would be tight, it can just about accommodate three adults in the back too for shorter trips.
The boot, at 352 litres, isn't much smaller than many in the class above and rises to 1,165 litres with the 60/40 split rear seat backs dropped down, helping to make the i20 Premium a genuinely appealing supermini.
Supermini's aren't typically known for their practicality, but the Hyundai i20 Premium's spacious interior and decent sized boot make it one you can rely on. Providing an economical hybrid engine and decent levels of equipment, the i20 is a joy to drive, too.