Hyundai is probably the most-known Korean automobile manufacturer, and there is good reason for that, the cars they manufacture are very reliable, loaded with features and lately, they have become quite the lookers too. Very frequently, we can see Hyundai cars leading in the segment and one of the best examples for all the above quoted reasons is, the new Hyundai Elite i20. Hyundai first launched the i20 in 2008, and in 2012, they launched a refresh/facelifted i20 and both were excellent cars and sold very well. Everyone who bought or used an i20 were very happy with and it pleased consumers and critics alike, so when Hyundai planned to launch the next-gen i20, everyone knew it had big shoes to fill if it had to continue selling like the car it replaced.
Hyundai launched the second-gen i20 in India in September 2014, named the Elite i20 and it became an instant hit with the masses. Here is a detailed review and a mega picture gallery of the Hyundai Elite i20. The Hyundai Elite i20 is a Global product and the Global launch of the hatchback was done in India. The Indian version is very much the same as the car that is sold globally, which means that the quality standards are pretty high even on the car sold in India.
If one asks me to describe just one thing I love the most about the Elite i20, I would without thinking for a moment, say that it is the way the car looks. The fluidic design language seen on the previous-gen i20 looked good already, but the fluidic design v2.0 just took the i20 to an all new level in terms of design. The Elite i20 is very appealing to look at and the word that immediately comes out of my mouth when I see an Elite i20 is, ‘HAWWT’!! Yes, being a Petrolhead, I do check out all cars and the Elite i20 is one I just cannot resist looking at.
The overall design of the Elite i20 looks like a fusion of European, futuristic and modern elements. Up-front, the Elite i20 has a slim, hexagonal grille, which looks like it is staring at you right in the face and this combined with the swept back headlamps and sleek fog lamps give the front of the Elite i20 an uber-chic look. What surprised us the most about the Elite i20’s front-end is the absence of daytime running lights, as it was quite the highlight of the front fascia of the outgoing i20.
Speaking of highlights, the major one when viewed from the side profile are the 16 inch diamond cut alloy wheels, though they are only available on the top-of-the-line Sportz and Asta variants, they are the ones which give the side profile of the Elite i20 the looks everyone has been praising. Other than the alloy wheels, the blackened B and C pillars, and the rising window line give the Elite i20 a distinctive look.
From the back, the Elite i20 has a more mature and bold look with the 2 piece, LED tail lamp taking the credit here. The design of the tail lamp seems to have taken inspiration from a good ol’ Alfa Romeo, a feature, us petrolheads will never complain about. Moving to the inside, one will find that the Elite i20 has got an increase in the legroom because of the extended wheelbase, courtesy – the new platform.
The interiors are all clad with a dual-tone theme – black and beige, which both looks and also feels good. The quality of the materials used in the dashboard is excellent. The designers at Hyundai have also provided a silver finish at different places across the dashboard like the gear lever, surrounds of the buttons and even on the steering wheel, the steering wheel is a three spoke one and has quite a number of steering mounted controls. The seats have good upholstery and are nice and soft, but one might find that the seats lack lower back support, other than that, the seating position is really comfortable and the drivers seat is fully adjustable, so finding an ideal driving position should not be a task at all. The Elite i20 is easily the most spacious in its class.
Hyundai has loaded the Elite i20 with a lot of features like automatic headlamps, push button start, automatic climate control, an eight speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and internal storage of 1GB, a steering sensitive rear parking camera etc. however it is disappointing that Hyundai have reduced the number of airbags in the top-end model to just 2 airbags, and another feature that Hyundai has missed, which could have made the i20 impeccable is a touch-screen infotainment system which could have been provided at least as an option on the top-of-the-line variant. Even the rain sensing vipers and the sunroof which were options on the outgoing model have been axed.
On the drivetrain front, the Hyundai has retained the engines from the outgoing i20 to power the Elite i20, but has tweaked them a little. The petrol engine has been tweaked for more performance through better throttle response, and more refinement has been added to the diesel.
The diesel engine is a 1.4-litre CRDi unit with a maximum power output of 89 BHP and an impressive maximum torque figure of 220 NM, and this engine is coupled to a 6-speed gearbox. Now, this gearbox is not exactly a slick shifter but does feel pretty god, and this engine-gearbox combination is more suited for highway use and returns 22 kmpl. What is different here is that it is not as noisy as other diesel cars in its segment, credit goes to the excellent engineering which has brought down NVH levels in the car.
Powering the petrol Elite i20 is a 1.2-litre four-cylinder Kappa engine with a maximum power output of 82 BHP and maxiumum torque figure of 115 NM, and the petrol is available only with a 5-speed manual gearbox to send power to the front wheels. The petrol powered Elite i20 returns 18.5 kmpl.
Looking at driving dynamics, the i20 was already a car that handled pretty well, it went around corners precisely, but the suspension on the outgoing model was pretty hard and quite a few thuds were felt inside the cabin. Hyundai has solved the issue by giving the Elite i20 softer suspension. So, it is not only in terms of design but also in the way the car handles that the maturity is felt. Thanks to the soft suspension, bad roads are no longer a problem, and make no mistake it still takes to corners with confidence. The steering has a precise feel to it and weighs up well as speed climbs, a bit of body roll might be felt at high speeds while undertaking sudden lane change maneuvers.
Looks like Hyundai has yet another winner on their hands in the Elite i20,as it has everything that a premium hatchback buyer wants, and this is seen in the sales figures of the car over the past few months. the Elite i20 costs Rs. 4.89 lakhs for the base petrol model and goes all the way upto Rs. 7.67 lakhs for the top-of-the-line diesel variant.
To read more on Hyundai Elite i20, Click here
GALLERY: Hyundai Elite i20