Hyundai Elite i20 Hatchback First Drive & Transmission

Hyundai Elite I20 Overview

When we look at the record that Hyundai has made here in India, we tend to wonder just how the South Korean manufacturer overshot numerous local and international competitors to become the second largest carmaker in India. Well, when you look at a car like the Elite i20, you tend to get a glimpse of the answer. Style, comfort and performance come together in this vehicle, making it quite a likeable package.

Ever since its introduction, the Elite i20 has found favour with Indian buyers. Newer rivals have entered the fray, making things all the more competitive, but Hyundai’s premium hatch continues to get buyers into the brand’s showrooms. However, we’re not here to sing hymns of its praise. We take a close look at the Elite i20 and tell you what’s hot and what’s not.  For information on contact details of Hyundai car dealers in  Chennai

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Hyundai Elite I20 Look

Hyundai believes the previous generation i20 had a youthful, sporty and hi-tech stance and now while retaining the same characteristics of the styling, they are promoting the Elite i20 with a bold, dynamic and powerful image. We agree with them because it looks powerful indeed and has mature design elements that grow on you with time. The front profile looks imposing with the hexagonal grille having a honeycomb mesh and chrome outlining. The wide swept back headlamps integrate reflectors on the top that act as faux daytime running lights because DRLs are not being offered with the new gen i20 as opposed to the outgoing model. The bonnet has strong creases that add to the visual appeal. There is a pause between the bonnet and bumper on the nose that houses the Hyundai badge neatly. At the lower end you’ll find trapezoidal fog lamps with sharp bumper lip.

The side profile reveals the sporty stance of the Elite i20, which appears forward leaning. The 16-inch ‘diamond cut’ alloys look premium and fill the wheel arches very well while the ORVMs have integrated turn indicators. There is a strong shoulder line that emerges from the headlights and continues upwards to the tail lights. The blackened B and C pillars gives the sense of a floating roof and we quite like it but it is a ‘love it or hate it’ styling cue. It’s integrated neatly to the body but the panel itself feels plasticky and boxy when you knock it. That said, the rear styling of the Elite i20 definitely grabs attention with its broad stance and big car feel. The three step detailing on the huge tail lamps looks upmarket and the bumper gets busy styling integrated with reflectors and one side reverse lamp. The rear parking camera is protruding in the middle and further down is the hatch opening button. The Hyundai logo integrating the button with a hidden camera would have made the tailgate look cleaner. The Elite i20 is 10 mm shorter and 24 mm wider with a 45 mm longer wheelbase.

Hyundai Elite I20 Comfort

While the cabin space is par-for-the-course, the upmarket ambience will be quite a deal maker. Premium hatchbacks today offer quality we’d expect in segments above and the Elite’s cabin is a perfect example.The dashboard is elegantly designed, with uniquely styled AC vents and a centre console with controls that are easy to navigate through. The lower portion of the dashboard is coloured black, while the upper half stretching all the way into the windshield is beige.We enjoyed the diversity of the atmosphere, and thought it fed off a trend that most car makers are following today here in India. The audio system is positioned at the top of the centre console, right below the central AC vents.Though it comes as a highlight, the central screen could have been bigger for improved ease of use on the move. The controls for the system are arranged around the display, and a large engine start/stop button is placed by the side of the console. The new edition has been updated with an advanced AVN(Audio Visual Navigation) system that comes along with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Below is the climate control console which hosts a slender screen with blue illumination. At the lower end of the console, you have a small storage area where occupants can keep phones and other spare items. Also incorporated here are dual 12V power sockets, a USB and an AUX port, adding convenience to the passenger’s experience.The 3-spoke steering wheel is draped in leather, adding to the upmarket experience of the cabin.The instrument cluster comes with an analogue tachometer and a speedometer, and the illuminated dials make it easy to read in any condition.Door pockets are present in all of the doors, but we have to stress that they’re too shallow to hold anything substantial. The entire arrangement is ergonomically sorted and everything falls to hand quite easily. Armrests and headrests provide added comfort, and the lumbar support is excellent too. The seat upholstery bumps up the premium feel in the cabin, while the contrasting beige and black stitching is a visual treat.Added bling comes in the form of the metal highlights on the gear knob, parking brake and the inside door handles, showcasing the attention to detail.

Hyundai Elite I20 Performance

The new i20 gets the same petrol and diesel powertrain configurations as before though minor tweaks for efficiency and better load management have been employed. I have driven the 1.4-litre 16-valve 4-cylinder CRDI. You get 90PS at 4,000rpm with a superb 222Nm of max torque between 1,500 – 2,750rpm from this engine. Max engine rpm cuts off at 4,750rpm. The power and torque ratings in the new i20 diesel are adequate for every situation though I do feel Hyundai should have tuned it for better bottom end characteristics. The turbocharger kicks in at 1,400rpm and the boost improves acceleration past that point however, under that mark it feels a bit sluggish. Dense traffic as a result will see you shifting through first and second gears constantly, moreover since it comes coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission which is a fuel efficiency enhancer. Hyundai claims an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 22kmpl for the diesel, with 19kmpl for the petrol. Interestingly the petrol engine gets a 5-speed manual. There is no automatic at the time of launch but expect one in the future.

The new i20 gets the same petrol and diesel power train configurations as before The new i20 gets the same petrol and diesel powertrain configurations as beforeThe diesel engine then, as I mentioned, has got a strong mid-range and you only feel the punch once the turbo kicks in. Acceleration after that is brisk and makes this an effortless highway cruiser. Though having said that it’s no slouch in city traffic either, the responses are sharp and you can get going pretty quickly when the need arises to get past slower moving traffic in urban areas. The diesel is also superbly refined and thanks to immense sound deadening, there is barely any engine clatter audible inside the cabin.The highlight of the Elite i20’s diesel drivetrain is the slick shift leverThe highlight of the Elite i20’s diesel drivetrain is the slick shift lever

The highlight of this drivetrain though is the slick shift lever which has short precise throws. I do like the way you can just give it a light nudge to slot into the required gear. Reverse gear on this can be found in the same place as first gear but engaging it requires you to raise the lever and then slot it into reverse. It’s a safer move unlike what you get in the VW Polo.

Hyundai Elite I20 Driving

Hyundai has worked towards improving the ride and handling on the Elite i20 and it shows on the move. Though the suspension has been carried over from the older car in theory, the geometry as well as the damping characterisers have been revised significantly. The setup is slightly firmer than the older i20. Surprisingly, it hasn’t affected the ride and the i20 still rides quite well; it feels pliant, absorbent and well judged.

The improvement in handling on the other hand is more than obvious. The body roll, the pitch and the waywardness under quick direction changes have all been tied down tightly giving the i20 a more confident, stable and exploitable handling character. We would have liked a less artificial steering response though; the current setup fails to connect the driver with the happenings. Braking on the other hand, even though Hyundai has ditched rear disc brake in favour of a drum setup, is stable and strong.

Hyundai Elite I20 Safety

In fact, when it comes to comfort and convenience related equipment, the Elite i20 scores quite well; at least in this top of the line Asta trim. It gets steering mounted controls and single zone climate control system; electric ORVMs with auto fold and a cooled glove box; height adjustable seat and Bluetooth telephony; auto headlamps and keyless entry and start; and a reversing camera as well.What it could do with, however, was a rear central armrest, a better trip computer and a leather pack. On the safety front, there’s ABS and front two airbags. Sadly, the six airbag option available on the previous generation i20 has been skipped on the new car.

Hyundai Elite I20 Cost in Hyderabad

Hyundai Elite I20 Ex-Showroom Price in Hyderabad ranges from 5,27,767/- (Elite i20 1.2 Era Petrol) to 9,09,277/- (Elite i20 1.4 Asta Option Diesel). Get best offers for Hyundai Elite I20 from Hyundai Dealers in Hyderabad. Check for Elite i20 price in Hyderabad at Carzprice

Hyundai Elite I20 Bottomline

Hyundai definitely have a finger on the pulse of the Indian buyer, they very effectively know just what it is the market demands and are responding with highly emotional products. The only emotions they aren’t touching are the ones that enthusiasts bear, so if you are looking for a hot hatch and the i20 definitely looks the part, this is not the car for you.If you want a smooth effortless and feature rich product then the i20 ticks all the right boxes. I am impressed but only so much, I want the European spec with more power and better dynamics but that’s me. For the general populace, this is a superb car though I do feel Hyundai should have priced the higher variants a bit more competitively. They would have taken a hit but would have gotten an immensely stronger customer base. Superbly finished, good looking with a great drivetrain and refinement, a list of features to put the competition to shame, the i20 can go on to achieve great things for Hyundai. It’s definitely an evolutionary product and one that will either take the competition back to the drawing board or offering massive discounts. Either way, it’s something that will earn you your neighbour’s envy for a long time to come!

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