Driven #2: Hyundai i20 CRDi Magna

I remember reading the articles and test drives of the then-new Hyundai Accent CRDi in automotive magazines half a decade back and coming out surprised to see the accolades that the car received, when it's after all a diesel. Learning the technical aspects and hence the significance of Common Rail later, it then dawned on me that Hyundai has in fact been a trend-setter in the Indian automotive industry by bringing the common-rail technology to the masses through the successful Accent model. Since then, CRDi has been synonymous with Hyundai and it has almost attained a cult status now, what with the absolutely stonking CRDi mills in the Getz and Verna doing wonders for the brand. The Verna, for instance is selling only because of it's diesel engine and the performance that it comes with. Personally, I have never got to experience Hyundai's CRDi engines on the road until now.

Make way for the i20, the car which is selling like hot cakes in the market and is commanding a long waiting list even now, almost 1.5 years after it's launch. I remember the Hyundai Press Meet during the car's launch in which the automaker has mentioned that it expects to sell around 1000 units of the car in India every month. The reality - around 4000 i20's are sold every month and Hyundai is not able to make enough of them. The i20 line-up got a further boost in the form of 1.4 CRDi and the 1.4 Gamma AT versions being launched in the middle of last year. I got to drive the CRDi variant in the base Magna trim.

The i20 has been designed with the European market in mind and hence comes across as a solid, good-looking hatchback with some interesting design elements which stand out from the rest of the crowd. Case in point, the creases on the hood which ends in the logo on the grille, seemingly inspired by the F1 cars. The other notable design themes are the flared wheel arches and the sharp crease on the sides of the car which ends in the rear bumper, lending a solidity to the profile. The i20 is quite a looker on the road with only the Fiat Grande Punto looking better in it's segment. The i20 has made a name for itself by offering many segment-first features, but those come with the top-end Asta & Asta (O) variants. Nevertheless, the Magna comes equipped with a lot of features as standard, the most notable being the availability of ABS with EBD in all the diesel variants. The quality of the interiors were top-notch, though I am not a big fan of the choclate brown colored dashboard.

One foot in the accelerator pedal and I know why the CRDi's are such a hit. The i20 pulls very strongly from the start, with loads of torque available at your disposal in the first 3 gears. At around 20 kph, in third gear, take your left foot off the clutch and the car surges forward without even your right foot touching the accelerator pedal. The gear-shift is short and slick and the car just glides over slightly bad patches of the road without unsettling the occupants. Big speed-breakers and bumps, though, are felt hard inside the car  and the i20 may not handle and steer like cars from Ford or Fiat. This car feels best suited for highways and it can be a superb cruiser munching miles all day long without making a big fuss. 

The i20, though priced a little on the higher side, gets away with it because of the loads of features it comes with and the premium look and feel of it's interiors. The various engine options and variants that it comes with makes sure that a wide spectrum is covered. It deserves all the hype that it has created in the market and it's a fact that the Hyundai i20 is the first super-success in the premium hatchback segment. It has managed to do what the Jazz, Grande Punto and Fabia couldn't. I, for one, just can't wait now to floor the pedal and experience the Verna CRDi.


  1. @ Mario - Its disappointing to hear that you have ended up with a problematic i20. Take it up with the dealer seriously and try to escalate the issue if they don't respond.

  2. wat about interior and i dont know why hyundai brings same design for all their cars hammmmmmm

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