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2018 Hyundai Elite i20 Test Drive Review

2018 Hyundai Elite i20 – Click above for high resolution image gallery

2018 Hyundai Elite i20 Review

Car Tested: 2018 Hyundai Elite i20; Road Test No. 909

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 6.21 – 10.79 lakhs

The Elite i20 gets minor changes but remains a strong contender in its segment

Hyundai kick-started the premium hatchback segment in Asia with the first i20 that was launched way back in 2009. The i20 became an instant hit for Hyundai and masses started loving premium hatchbacks because they provide the comfort and equipment of C-segment sedans while they continue to maintain a compact footprint. The second generation of the hatchback was launched as the Elite i20 in 2014 and since the next generation is still some time away, Hyundai has given a mid-life refresh to this hot-selling car.

Motor Quest: The first generation Hyundai i20 featured a very curvy design that looked very European in nature. Post that, when the Korean automaker launched a facelift of the older car, it got a more “fluidic” design that was in-line with other Hyundais and the styling had a Korean touch to it. The Elite i20 comes with very sharp styling elements in huge contrast to the older i20.

More of the visible changes are at the rear

Exteriors – The Elite i20 gets a cascading grille with curved edges now while the front bumper gets a minor restyle. The fog lamps are a bit smaller in size while the Sportz and Asta trims get LED DRLs near the fog lamps. The Asta (O), however, gets DRLs inside the headlamp housing. The car comes with new 16-inch alloy wheels on the Asta (O) trim while the regular Asta gets 15-inch gunmetal alloys. The lower variants get steel rims. The side profile doesn’t have any changes but at the rear, the tail-gate and bumper have been redesigned and the number plate is now placed on the tail-gate instead of the bumper. The tail lamps also get new graphics while the bumper gets a black insert.

The interior get minute revisions

Interiors – Very few changes have been made to the cabin of the Elite i20. The dashboard remains the same but the design of the centre AC vents has changed. The touchscreen infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the touchscreen itself is very good to use and smooth in its operations. The vehicle comes with 6 airbags on the top variant and it also gets ISOFIX child seat mounts at the rear. The seat fabric has been changed now while the rear seat also gets a segment-first centre armrest. There are no other changes to the interiors and space and comfort levels remain similar.

Hyundai claims a 9% increase in fuel efficiency

Performance – Hyundai hasn’t made any sort of mechanical changes to the Elite i20 facelift save for some retuning that has been done to the engine and chassis. The engines get a tweaked map and the aero ducts in the front bumper aid to a slight improvement in fuel efficiency. In real world conditions, expect a rise of 1 km/l in overall efficiency. The petrol engine remains the same 1.2-litre Kappa VTVT unit that produces 83 PS at 6000 RPM and 115 Nm at 4000 RPM. Refinement levels are excellent and vibrations have been excellently dampened. The engine also feels very silent inside the cabin.

The petrol engine is refined and offers enough performance for regular usage

The engine maps have been tuned for an increase in efficiency

The petrol engine has decent drivability. It likes to be revved and while performance in the city is very good thanks to the responsive low-end, the engine feels slightly out of breath on the highways, especially when you need to downshift a gear or two to overtake someone. However, the 5-speed manual gearbox is butter-smooth and the clutch is also very light, which again makes driving this car an easy affair. Hyundai has dropped the 1.4-litre petrol engine with the automatic gearbox from the line-up but the existing 1.2-litre engine is all set to get a CVT gearbox soon.

Hyundai’s CRDI engine is just excellent in terms of performance and refinment

The diesel engine is a 1.4-litre CRDI unit that churns out 90 PS of power at 4000 RPM and 220 Nm of torque between 1500-2750 RPM. This engine gets a 6-speed manual gearbox which is again slick and slots well. The engine is very refined and is easily the segment benchmark in terms of NVH. Low-end driveability is good and post 1500 RPM, the punch starts getting stronger. Even out on the highways, the diesel car performs well and the engine doesn’t feel strained even at speeds above the ton. Within the city, expect the i20 to return about 15 km/l while on the highways, the car will easily deliver 17-18 km/l.

The Elite i20 isn’t a car for aggressive driving

Driving Dynamics – For most part, the Hyundai Elite i20 facelift retains the driving mannerisms of the older car. Meaning, it is an easy to drive car and most people will like it, but if you’re an enthusiast then you won’t like this car. The steering is still fairly light but even on the highways at high speeds it doesn’t really offer good feedback and feels quite vague. It has been sharpened slightly but the changes aren’t significantly noticeable. The suspension is well-tuned for our roads but the rear suspension has been stiffened a bit and the bounciness of the car has reduced somewhat. The brakes remain as good as before and so do the 16-inch tyres.

The Elite i20 is one well-rounded premium hatchback

Verdict – The Hyundai Elite i20 was already a very good car and with this iteration, Hyundai has tried their level best to improve the efficiency and driving dynamics of the car. Though the changes are minor, all of them combined make the i20 a better package than before. The hatchback also comes with a dual-tone exterior colour scheme option now and that costs an additional Rs. 30,000/- over the price of the top variant. The i20 costs almost sedan money but in turn it offers good looks, great quality all around, long equipment list and dependable service to boast.

The top variant comes with 6 airbags too

What’s Cool

* Overall quality of parts is very good
* Loaded with good features
* Easy-to-drive nature will be appreciated by many folks
* Comes across as a well-packed product

What’s Not So Cool

* Still doesn’t feel very engaging to drive

Alternatives: Maruti Baleno, Honda Jazz, Volkswagen Polo

Which is your favourite premium hatch?

2018 Hyundai Elite i20
  • Rating

2018 Hyundai Elite i20 Review

The Hyundai Elite i20 is a very good hatchback and continues to have a tough competition with the Maruti Baleno, Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Polo. With the newest update, it gets refreshed cosmetics and slightly better interiors. The vehicle has also been tuned for better fuel efficiency which is another point. Backed by Hyundai’s wide after-sales network, the i20 is one car you can’t really go wrong with.

User Review
3.5 (2 votes)

Further Reading

2015 Hyundai Elite i20 Review
Hyundai Elite i20 vs Honda Jazz vs Maruti Baleno
Hyundai Elite i20 vs Hyundai i20 Active
Hyundai Elite i20 Long Term Review – Initial Report
Hyundai Elite i20 Long Term Review – Final Report

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