All-new Hyundai i20 makes its global premiere in India

Busting the myth that expensive hatchbacks just don’t sell in India, the original i20 that was launched in 2008 went on to become a big-seller for Hyundai. With a price tag that was alarmingly close to some midsize sedans for the top variant, the i20 was a revelation, one that we perceive as a sign of the Indian market coming-of-age. We are least surprised then that Hyundai chose India for the global premiere and launch of the second-generation i20. Launched in New Delhi today, the all-new i20 is given the 'Elite' prefix (akin to 'Grand' in the new i10).

Adopting the Korean brand’s Version 2.0 of the popular ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design philosophy, the new i20, designed by Hyundai’s R&D Center in Germany, looks mature and modern. Viewed up front, the signature hexagonal air dam and stretched headlights are unmistakably Hyundai. The profile, which is now more sedate, sees significant changes. Gone are the series of creases and curves that adorned the previous-generation model, replaced by taut, cleaner and muscular lines. The pronounced shoulder line, flared wheel arches and blackened C-Pillar stand out in profile while the rear is all about those terrific taillights that has built-in LED elements and extend well into the tailgate.

Cars from Hyundai has built an enviable reputation for smart packaging and excellent interior quality and the new i20 is no exception. The dual-tone dashboard that has a mix of black and beige looks rich and busy, hinting at the long list of features on offer. Amongst others, dual front airbags, Antilock Braking System (ABS), rear parking assist with steering adaptive display, steering-mounted bluetooth and audio controls, music system with 1GB internal storage, lane change indicator, service reminder, automatic headlights, climate control, rear air-conditioning vents, smart pedal, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a supervision instrument cluster are part of the kit. Though the new i20 in Asta trim has all the features that an hatchback would ever need, the absence of 6 airbags, rain-sensing automatic wipers, sun roof and navigation system, all of which were on offer in the old i20 at some point, is surprising.

The 1.2-liter Kappa engine with a power output of 83 ps at 6000 rpm and torque rating of 11.7 kgm at 4000 rpm and the 1.4-liter U2 CRDi diesel engine with 90 ps of maximum power at 4000 rpm and 22.4 kgm of peak torque between 1500 to 2750 rpm are carried over from the old i20. They are mated to a 5-speed manual and a 6-speed manual transmission respectively. Again, the 1.4-liter petrol variant with automatic transmission that was offered in the old i20 is conspicuous by its absence. A more powerful petrol engine would have put the long hood in the new i20 to good use, but it isn't to be.

The new i20 is available in a total of ten variants, five each in petrol and diesel. Prices for the petrol variants range from INR 4.90 Lakhs to 6.47 Lakhs while the diesel variants are priced between INR 6.10 Lakhs and 7.67 Lakhs. All prices are ex-showroom New Delhi. With just marginal increase in prices vis-à-vis the old model, the new i20 offers a host of improvements on almost all fronts. While that makes the new i20 appear to an easy sell, the strong pricing overlap with the Grand i10 and Xcent might be a dampener. 

Competing with cars like Maruti-Suzuki Swift, Volkswagen Polo, Nissan Micra, Fiat Punto Evo and the upcoming Tata Bolt and Honda Jazz, the i20 is all set to make a splash in the premium hatchback segment. Are we looking at the next bockbuster from Hyundai then? Well, probably yes!


  1. I liked the old i20 more, also it had more features in the Asta (O) variant.

    1. We agree, DRLs, sunroof and 6 airbags should have been optional atleast in the top-end variant.