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Hyundai Elite i20 Review: Petrol and Diesel variants

Hyundai Elite i20-018 cover

While major players in category B premium hatchback segment spent time in makeup room to woo customers through facelift launches, south Korean automaker Hyundai was busy developing a strategically smart move in the race, at Design Center in Rüsselsheim, Germany. Product of which is new Elite i20, launched in impeccable timing too.

Hyundai Elite i20-018 coverIntroduction of next generation product not only guarantees new model, looks and features, but also ample of attention from audience. Not to mention better resale value (at least according to general ideology). So the very outline of this launch is to elevate the company’s presence and to raise the bar in one of most important passenger vehicle segments in India. Lets see what the new arrival has thrown on the table.

Hyundai Elite i20-027 rearExteriors – Hyundai cars were always lookers, with a balance in figure that appealed to most in the diverse populace. Foundation of Fluidic Sculpture design language made their cars kind of charming. Now, as Hyundai is apparently in attack mode, new Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design DNA shows it in the face of Elite i20.

Hyundai has changed the identity of i20 from glamour to gallant, by way of new front fascia that can be best described as bold. Large trapezium front grille of Elite i20 grabs first glimpse most of the time. Two more air dams, constructed as slits with same coarse mesh, are key to rounding up the daring pose of Elite i20’s front. Sporty fog lamps and mighty headlamps with sleek eyebrows add fashion to serious looking snout. Final touches are laid by chrome finished Hyundai badge and chrome bordering on centre grille, making new i20 look more premium than its predecessor.

Hyundai Elite i20-023 headlightIntegrated indicators on wing mirrors, chrome coated door handles and most importantly the blackened C pillar supporting the sportily sloping roofline are slick touchups making Elite i20 desirable. Thats not all, rear end is probably the most attractive section of new Euro style hatchback, with bulges and curves as seen in old i20. New elements, chiefly the tail lamps, designed similar to those in high priced sports cars, work magic in Elite i20.

In short, Hyundai Elite i20 has a very efficient blend of sporty, elegant and upmarket looks, that will easily attract buyers of all age group.

Hyundai Elite i20-024 taillampInteriors – Hyundai seemingly decided to go in functional route than fashion when it comes to interior design and layout. Equipment and button are neatly arranged enabling easy and precise access. Controls in centre console and on steering wheel are large enough not to miss while driving and are very tactile. Instrument cluster is also sprucely designed. Everything inside second generation i20 is clear cut.

Elite i20 deserves a pinch of sportiness inside cabin, more premium trims as well, to match with hype the exteriors present. Nevertheless, build quality, fit and finish of Elite i20’s interiors need to be praised. Hard plastics, comfy fabrics and elaborate list of features offered in second generation i20 justify its slightly hefty price tag.

Hyundai Elite i20-051 interiorsTop end Asta variant of Elite i20 gets automatic headlamps, advanced supervision cluster with steering position reminder, parking sensor display, service reminder, auto unlock function, IC Light Adjustment (Rheostat), adjustable rear seat headrest, 60:40 rear split seat, rear windshield wiper & washer, two 12 Volt power outlets and dual front airbags (driver & passenger).

These are features in top of line variant in addition to those seen in lower variants, like 16 inch diamond cut alloy wheels (4 nos.), smart key, push button for start/stop, clutch lock, seatbelt pretensioners for driver & passenger, chrome door handles on outside, electrically adjustable, foldable and auto closing ORVM, tilt & telescopic steering wheel, automatic air conditioning with cluster ioniser, height adjustable driver seat, leather wrapped steering wheel, CD, Aux-in, USB & Bluetooth supported music player with 4 speakers & 4 tweeters, and the like.

Hyundai Elite i20-059 arm restThere are a lot of utility features in Elite i20 like map pockets on all four doors, bottle holders in door panels, two cup / bottle holders near hand brake lever, key or general purpose pocket / cubby hole beneath AC controls, big storage area under driver arm rest, sizeable glove box compartment with cooling facility and a sunglass holder on top next to cabin light.

Speaking of which, there is a dual light on front for driver and shotgun, a centre light unit for rear occupants and a light in boot section as well. Now you see how feature rich new Elite i20 is.

Hyundai Elite i20-061 driver seatTo know about features offered in each variant of Hyundai Elite i20, head here.

Hyundai Elite i20 has longest wheelbase in segment (increased by 45 mm from earlier i20), and also stands widest. This gives abundant cabin room, enabling three people to sit somewhat comfortably in backseat. Legroom is not a problem in new i20, even with rear AC tower. (Photo below shows rear legroom with front seats pulled fully backwards). Thigh support is just fine.

Hyundai Elite i20-062 rear legroomEngine – Hyundai Elite i20 is launched with two engines, 1.2 litre Dual VTVT Kappa petrol engine producing 83 PS max. power @ 6,000 rpm and 115 Nm peak torque @ 4,000 rpm, and 1.4 litre U2 CRDi diesel mill generating 90 PS @ 4,000 rpm and 220 Nm @ 1500 – 2750 rpm. Former is mated to 5 speed manual transmission while latter is coupled with 6 speed MT. Four speed automatic variant of Hyundai Elite i20, with 1.4 litre Dual VTVT Gamma engine that churns out 100 PS @ 5,500 rpm and 136 Nm @ 4,200 rpm will come out soon.

Hyundai Elite i20-041 IndiaMinor tweaks in engines used in older i20 have improved NVH levels and accessibility of power and torque. Both engines are responsive and enjoyable. Hyundai claims 18.5 kmpl mileage in petrol variant (manual) and 22 kmpl in diesel version. Earlier generation Hyundai i20 automatic delivered mileage of 15.04 kmpl.

Hyundai Elite i20-004Performance – Elite i20 petrol is a good performer with almost linear growth in acceleration; mid range is more peppy and revs freely all the way up to redline. Gearshift quality is near perfect, with right amount of throw and feedback.

New i20 diesel is more enthusiastic and bubbly, largely due to almost-double the torque than what petrol engine churns. Turbo lag is not loudly pronounced, and punch that comes after about 2,000 rpm doesn’t fade away quickly.

Hyundai Elite i20-008 greyIf you’re not a go green driver, first three gears in both variants of Elite i20 will suffice to have fun in city as well as on highway. Elite i20 petrol reaches speedo indicated 140 kmph in third and 160 kmph in fourth gears; claimed top speed is 165. While diesel can go up to 170 kmph max., fourth gear will take you past 140 kmph.

When you run back into city traffic, sneaking through will also be easy, not requiring much of gear work.

Hyundai Elite i20-011 frontSteering and Handling – Steering wheel of Elite i20 is of apt diameter, which makes it very engaging during sharp zips and turns. Sadly, confidence given by steering wheel is not held up by two matters which you will experience during tactical turns. One is lack of feedback from steering mechanism and second is loose suspension characteristics.

Electronic Power Steering (EPS) with active return / centring is tuned to induce feel of heaviness or resistance, which gives good feel while spinning the wheel in standstill. However while on the move, lack of natural feedback may not satisfy driving enthusiasts.

Hyundai Elite i20-013 frontThere is a bit more body roll than expected while performing quick manoeuvres, which also discourages the act. Now with absent feedback and slight wobble, getting in and out of pressing situations on road would not be an inspiring task.

Hyundai Elite i20 probably has highest turning radius in segment, which shows while making U-turns. But, thanks to reverse camera, reverse path indication on display with respect to steering turn and proximity sensors, that job is made hassle free.

Hyundai Elite i20-012 rearRide quality – This is where Hyundai Elite i20 excels. Increased ground clearance (from first gen i20) helps get past bigger / deeper surprises on road, and passengers are protected of thuds and jerks efficiently.

Braking – If not the best, braking quality of Elite i20 is adequate. Considering highly diverse target audience, feel and sensitivity of brakes are good. Rate of retardation from high speed is appreciable.

Hyundai Elite i20-006Verdict – Hyundai Elite i20 may strike as similar to lower positioned products in the company’s lineup to many, in terms of exterior (especially front) and interior design and quality. But, after spending some time with this stylish beast, you will come up with your own adjectives to differentiate.

Price – Given good sales of i20 brand, Hyundai may have wanted to retain higher position in terms of price, hence its not the most affordable premium hatchback. But for price each variant demands, Hyundai offers justifiable load of features, making it a good value for money product. It would’ve been great if Hyundai offered airbag in base variant (at least one, for driver).

Hyundai Elite i20-032 silverHere is ex-showroom Delhi price list of Hyundai Elite i20:

Hyundai Elite i20 Petrol Era – Rs. 4.90 lakhs
Hyundai Elite i20 Petrol Magna – Rs. 5.42
Hyundai Elite i20 Petrol Sportz – Rs. 5.94 lakhs
Hyundai Elite i20 Petrol Asta – Rs. 6.47 lakhs

Hyundai Elite i20 Diesel Era – Rs. 6.10 lakhs
Hyundai Elite i20 Diesel Magna – Rs. 6.62 lakhs
Hyundai Elite i20 Diesel Sportz – Rs. 7.14 lakhs
Hyundai Elite i20 Diesel Asta – Rs. 7.67 lakhs

Hyundai Elite i20-002Why would you buy Hyundai Elite i20:

Looks
Features
Comfort
Performance

Why would you not buy Hyundai Elite i20:

Handling

Also read:

Technical specification comparison – Hyundai Elite i20 vs Maruti Swift vs Fiat Punto EVO vs Volkswagen Polo

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About the author

Ashwin Ram N P

Life after college in 2014 has seen Ashwin Ram propel himself wholeheartedly into the auto industry. Information is never enough for this young blogger who enthusiastically ticks his elaborate checklist at each drive. The need to add that one extra detail ensures select articles that are upbeat, and comprehensive.

He no longer works with RushLane.

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Your opinion matters

  • Plain Speaking

    Wow, looks like a ‘review’ written by the PR folks at Hyundai!!

    • Ashwin Ram

      Dear Mr. Plain Speaking,

      Can you explain why you think so?

  • Black Jackxy

    I earnestly feel this is an honest review. Hyunday is a brand that takes customer insights very seriously & has managed to pull of a winner in the Elitei20. And time will tell, as better & more evolved variants hit the market.

  • Wasim

    This Elitei20 takes htachback manufacturing to a different level. The virtually noiseless engine, sturdy chassis are just some of the features that no other car offers. The inviting headlight, sedan like interiors, overall looks & affordability are other factors where the Elitei20 scores heavily.

  • Aayu Bajpai

    Felt Great after test-driving the Elitei20. Since then I never felt like entering my existing car. Would surely recommend to test drive this beauty and experience the Hyundai effect.

  • kartheekb

    i heard that , head lights performance was not good. is it? booked my petrol asta