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Third Generation Hyundai i20 Steps Up the Game

The Hyundai i20 is undoubtedly among the most sought after premium hatchbacks in Nepal. The first generation of i20 entered the Nepali market in 2009 and has gained popularity over the years as it provides class-leading premium features. The i20 is still one of the most preferred hatchbacks in Nepal as it holds up its value well. After its massive popularity, the second generation was launched in 2014 and in early 2020, the third generation i20 was first unveiled for the European market. After a long wait, Laxmi Intercontinental, the authorised distributor for Hyundai vehicles in Nepal, has finally brought the new i20 to the Nepali market. The car is available in Magna and Sportz variants which have been launched with a price tag of Rs 36,96,000 and Rs 41,96,000 respectively.

I was eagerly waiting to experience the all-new i20 to see if the car holds its over-a-decade-old legacy. I finally got my hands on the 2020 i20 during a test drive conducted by Hyundai. So, let’s find out if the newly revised car can hold its legacy.

Exterior

The new Hyundai i20 looks much different than its predecessors. The 3rd gen i20 gets lots of lines and creases making the car look busier, sharper and sportier. The funky design elements make the car visually interesting. The huge parametric jewel pattern front grille dominates the front. The ‘sweptback’ angular headlamps and the DRLs placed close to the fog lamps give it a sporty stance. Coming to the side, the sharp creases and the newly designed C-pillar gives the car a smart appeal. However, the rear end of the car seems quirky with the unique Z-shaped tail lamps. Overall, I find the car quite striking with its sharp and sporty design elements.

Interior and Features

As soon as you hop into the car, you are welcomed by a neatly laid out all-black interior. The horizontal slat across the dashboard gives it a modern look. The control for air-conditioning, placement of the infotainment system and the toggles/buttons for other functions are user-friendly. Use of better materials could have made the cabin feel more premium. To make up for that, the car provides ample head and knee room for both front and rear occupants. The rear seat is wide enough to accommodate three people and the seat itself is well cushioned and comfortable. At the back it gets A/C vents, USB charging ports and centre armrest. The boot has an impressive 311 litres of storage space.

The Magna trim of the new i20 is equipped with 2-DIN audio system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel mounted controls, air conditioning, glove box cooling, electric adjustable rear view outside mirrors whereas the Sportz variant gets additional features such as TFT multi information drive display, rear camera, electrically folding wing mirrors, voice recognition and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, our test drive unit of the i20 Magna was fitted with an aftermarket touchscreen infotainment system and reverse camera. The aftermarket system on the review unit was quite responsive and easy to use although we couldn’t confirm if the system supported smartphone connectivity. The car misses out on features like automatic climate control, alloy wheels, LED projector headlights, a sunroof, air purifier and others. To fill this gap, Laxmi Intercontinental could bring the fully-loaded Asta variant which is available in the Indian market.

Driving and Safety

The newly launched Hyundai i20 is only offered in 1.2 Kappa petrol engine mated with a 5-speed manual transmission.The 1197cc, four cylinder, naturally aspirated engine produces 81.86bhp of maximum power and a peak torque of 114.74Nm. The engine feels much more refined and well-tuned compared to the first gen i20. There are no vibrations and very less engine noise inside the cabin even at upper rev range. However, the 1.2l engine isn’t the most exciting as the peak torque only comes in at 4000 RPM. As a result, it takes some time for the power to kick in. Once the power kicks in, the car picks up speed without much effort. Another good thing about the car is its light clutch and smooth gearbox making it easier to drive around the city traffic.

Coming to driving and handling quality, the car does both the jobs really well. The steering is way smoother than its predecessor and it has a nice feel while going around the corner. The suspension on the new i20 is well damped, effectively soaking the city potholes and bumps. The disc brakes on the front and the drum on the rear brings the car to a complete halt at a very short distance.

Regarding safety, the new i20 is equipped with driver and passenger airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS) with EBD, reverse parking sensors, smart pedal, speed alert system, impact sensing auto door unlock and speed sensing auto door lock as standard in both the variants.

Verdict

The 3rd generation Hyundai i20 definitely steps up the game especially in terms of comfort, space and driving experience. The car can be great for daily and occasional highway drives. The funky yet sporty design looks quite modern which definitely matches the characteristics of the car. The i20 is a great option for Nepali consumers considering the easy availability of parts and accessories, and its resale value.

 

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Review overview
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