Hyundai Elite i20 Facelift Review & Test Drive

Hyundai Elite i20 Overview

It’s the facelift of a very popular premium hatchback, so naturally, there was a lot of anticipation for it. When the wraps came off it at the 2018 Auto Expo, however, the first impression was that not much had changed. Even afterwards, when we placed photos of the old and new side by side, it was a tricky game of ‘spot the difference’. Now that we have the car with us for some closer inspection, let’s see if there’s more than meets the eye. View Offers & Price on Elite i20 in Kolkata at CarzPrice

Hyundai Elite i20 Style

Now, before we answer that, let’s talk styling. The Elite i20 might run on juicy looking 16in wheels, but as you can tell, it’s no SUV. It is, nonetheless, a good looking large hatchback, we will give it that. The Elite i20 now follows what Hyundai calls its Fluidic Sculpture 2 design, which to you and me means a car that’s less flamboyant and in-your-face, and more palatable than the likes of the Hyundai Verna and Elantra. It still has Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille and pulled back head lamps, but the mesh that integrates the fog lamps as part of the bumper is a new addition; and it looks good. The bonnet has more creases now and daytime running lights, interestingly, have been given a miss. Hyundai says customers weren’t willing to pay for it.

In profile, the increase in wheelbase of the Hyundai Elite i20 is obvious. What isn’t as clear is the reduction in length. The new i20 is 10mm shorter. But with its stronger shoulder line that runs from the front fender all the way into the tail lamps; the sloping down roofline; and the blackened C-pillar, the Elite i20 looks sportier and has a larger than class road presence. It is the rear where the Elite i20 looks very unlike the previous generation car. Its large LED tail lamps that run into the hatch dominate, and they look beautiful. But then on, it lacks the same styling flair the Elite i20 displays upfront and in profile. It has this ugly protrusion under the Hyundai badge (for the reversing camera) and the bumper though flowing in design, lacks character.

Hyundai Elite i20 Interior

Coming to the interiors, the new i20 easily possesses the best looking interior among them all. Not even the Volkswagen Polo, which I feel is a classy interior job indeed, can hold a candle to the sheer presence of the i20 interiors. It is impressive enough to be counted among the more luxurious German set of premium hatchbacks.Starting off at the dashboard, the basic idea Hyundai have captured is to try and make this look like a wrap-around dashboard with some of the elements inclined towards the driver. It’s similar in form to what BMW offers in their cars and I dare say some of the elements even look like they came straight off a BMW.

Again there are no mellifluously flowing lines to showcase a fluidic theme, instead it’s all hard kinks and corners captioning a more edgy design theme. The cut of the air-con vents, the hexagonal-ish housing for the air-con vents and the audio system, the climate control system and even the instrument panel behind the steering wheel are all superbly detailed and styled. It’s a very intuitive cabin and very easily you begin to memorise just where your fingers need to reach, to make audio changes or change the interior climate.More than just the way everything inside this cabin is styled I believe people will be taken aback just as I was with the attention to detail and the way things function. This is a fabulous form and function kind of cabin. Take for instance the controls for audio and the multi information display on the steering wheel. The buttons and knobs are soft touch and require minimal effort to operate. They are also smartly placed, all audio and phone controls on one side of the wheel and MFD on the other.

The multi function display clearly shows the global reach of this car. There is a host of information displayed in it, especially multi region units for speed and temperature which clearly indicate that Hyundai have fabricated this as a single unit for a universal market. The most interesting feature in this MFD is the one which tells you if the steering is centred or locked into one side. So if you have backed up into your parking while having forgotten to straighten out the wheel and come back to start the car in the morning, the MFD will indicate that your wheels need to be straightened out before you ignite the engine and roll out, probably straight out onto your driveway rather than a wall. I also liked the reminder feature which allows you to set the reminder for your service intervals, either as in number of days or kilometres to go before the next service. Now if only Hyundai had to put in a fuel log feature in it, it would seriously rock.

Hyundai Elite i20 Engine

There have been no mechanical changes on this facelifted i20, but there has been a bit of retuning to both the engine and the chassis. For instance, Hyundai says it has achieved a nine percent increase in fuel economy thanks to a slight remapping of the engine and those aero ducts in the front bumper. In truth, you can feel it a bit when you drive. In this diesel car, for example, the bottom end feels a bit stronger and some of the punch at the top end is missing, thanks to changes to the fuelling. The change is not too drastic, and if you drive primarily in the city, you will appreciate the improved low-end responses. What remains unchanged is the smooth nature of this motor and the light and easy gearshift action.

In a bid to make it a bit more engaging to drive, Hyundai has also tinkered a bit with the suspension and the steering of the i20. They’ve stiffened the rear suspension a little bit and you can feel that in the way the car isn’t quite as bouncy coming off a large speedbreaker, for instance. They’ve also sharpened up the steering a bit and reduced the slack at the centre position to make it feel a bit more engaging than before. Truth be told, this is still no driver’s car, and to truly improve the dynamics would require a full generational leap – as we saw with the new Verna, but it’s good to see Hyundai is trying to improve things on the current-generation car. For information on contact details of Hyumdai car dealers in Chennai visit Hyundaiprice.in

Hyundai Elite i20 Driving

On the handling front, I do feel that the new i20 is seriously underpowered for the kind of control it exhibits. It’s tightly controlled in corners and while there is some body roll, it’s not unsettling nor does it at any point make you feel unsafe. I did find the steering a bit elasticky and it’s not as impressive as in the Grand i10 but it’s light enough for urban commutes with enough weight for when you take it out of the city. The assistance fortunately is not excessive and like in the Verna or the previous i20, you do not need to be extra cautious when taking the steering wheel off centre.

Compared to the diesel variant, the petrol i20?s steering setup feels lighter, thanks to the lesser weight of the petrol engine. But that also makes the steering feel more lifeless. The engine however, feels livelier than its diesel counterpart. Being a naturally aspirated mill, it has a more linear power delivery with no flat spots to complain about. The engine is rev happy and gets the car rolling from as low as 1,200 rpm. Needless to say, it is also quicker and more refined than its diesel sibling.

Hyundai Elite i20 Safety Features

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 Price

Hyundai Elite I20 Ex-Showroom Price in Mumbai 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 Mumbai. Check for elite i20 On Road Price in Mumbai

Hyundai Elite i20 Bottomline

Overall, this facelift appears to be a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, and really, not much was broken with the Hyundai i20. It’s also worth remembering that Hyundai has been giving the i20 small, regular updates over the years, particularly to the equipment list, and this is why the facelift doesn’t feel as much of a change as most facelifts do. The long equipment list couldn’t have gotten much longer and the interior quality was already pretty much at the top of the class. Even the changes to the engine mapping are very minor. What is much appreciated is the small but effective attention that’s been paid to dynamics, for whatever it’s worth. So yes, the i20 hasn’t changed all that much with the facelift, but then, it didn’t really need to.

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *