Hyundai i20 Review
The Hyundai i20 is an excellent small car that’s practical but also good to drive
Strengths & weaknesses
The Hyundai i20 is a small car that’s affordable to buy and run, yet it has plenty of practicality, modern in-car tech and is good to drive. Most versions are frugal and sensible but there’s also a version called the i20 N that’s tuned to be much faster and more fun to drive.
The i20 is a similar size and price to the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Renault Clio. There are plenty of other models in this category, including the Seat Ibiza and Vauxhall Corsa, yet the i20 still stands out - thanks in part to its appeal as a used car, since it’s a good all-rounder that’s reliable and has a long warranty.
The main range only uses 1.0-litre petrol engines, one with 100hp and the other with 120hp. The i20 N is a bit different and has a 1.6-litre petrol engine with 204hp, plus some changes to things like the suspension setup to make it quicker and more fun to drive. It’s great for car fans but it’s less comfortable and more expensive to buy and run than the 1.0-litre models, so it’s not for everyone.
There are manual and automatic gearboxes available, and all versions of the i20 are easy to drive. It’s a practical small car and has a good amount of space inside, plus the technology available is great. The cabin looks a bit dull, and it’s not quite as good to drive as the Ford Fiesta, but it’s well worth considering if you want a small car.
Read on to find out more about the Hyundai i20 and i20 N to see if it’s right for you.
Should I get a Hyundai i20?
✔ Good to drive
✔ Practical interior
✔ Technology is great
✘ Limited engine range
✘ Cabin isn’t very exciting
✘ i20 N is quite uncomfortable on bumpy roads
The Hyundai i20 version from 2020 onwards is the best one yet, and is well worth considering if you want a small hatchback car that’s comfortable, easy to drive, well-equipped and good value for money. It’s a great all-rounder, as it’s also enjoyable to drive and practical as well, just like the best cars of this type.
The high-performance i20 N model is a rival for the Ford Fiesta ST and will appeal to people who want something fun to drive on country roads, but that is also affordable to run and has reasonable running costs.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Best i20 for...
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
The Hyundai i20 is a supermini, which means it’s a small hatchback car similar in size and price to the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, two of the most popular cars in the UK. It’s a five-door only and comes with either a manual or automatic gearbox. The automatic is a dual-clutch transmission (DCT), which means there are two clutches in the gearbox for fast gear changes, though there’s no clutch pedal and it drives like any other automatic.
In the main range there are only two engines, both 1.0-litre petrol units, and they have 100hp and 120hp. Hyundai claims 53-55mpg for these engines, which is quite impressive for this type of car and performance level and shouldn’t be too difficult to reach if you are careful.
The engines are fun to use and should be reliable, too. The 120hp engine is only available in N Line trim, though, and all other trim levels (see below) use the 100hp engine.
Hyundai i20 N
The only other engine option in the i20 range is a 1.6-litre petrol in the i20 N. This is the sporty model and a rival for the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI. It’s also fitted with stiffer suspension to make it handle corners better, but it’s also less comfortable than the normal i20. It’s a lot of fun to drive, though, and is great value for money.
|Limited stock: The entry-level model gets 16-inch wheels, cruise control, manual air-conditioning, a reversing camera and parking sensors. It has a 10.3-inch dial display and an eight-inch touchscreen media system on the dash.
|Limited stock: This version has larger 17-inch alloy wheels and a 10.3-inch central touchscreen, plus LED front and rear lights, heated seats and a heated steering wheel.
|Limited stock: N Line is very similar to Premium in terms of kit, but has different alloy wheels and a sportier look - plus it’s the only way to get the 120hp engine.
|Limited stock: Ultimate adds contrasting roof paint, keyless entry and go, wireless smartphone charging, blind spot warning and an upgraded Bose stereo system.
|Limited stock: The i20 N is considered a separate model to the rest of the range and there’s only one trim level. It has 18-inch alloys, LED lights, the larger touchscreen display, wireless phone charging and heated seats.
The best engine in the normal range is the 100hp 1.0-litre petrol engine. It’s able to return around 55mpg but it’s still easy and fun to use, fast enough for most and should be reliable too. It’s available with manual or automatic gearboxes, the former being the better-value choice overall.
If you want the best engine for performance, the i20 N’s 1.6-litre petrol unit is the one to go for. It has 204hp so it’s very quick, but it’s still relatively efficient - Hyundai claims that more than 40mpg is possible with mixed driving.
There isn’t really a wrong answer in the Hyundai i20 range, although some models are better value than others. Think about the kind of driving you do before choosing between the models. If you find yourself in traffic a lot, the automatic might be worthwhile, or if you often head out on cold mornings you might want one with heated seats as standard. Read on to find out the best models for a variety of buying situations.
|Hyundai i20 1.0 T-GDi 100hp SE Connect: The entry-level model is our pick for value for money. It comes with everything you really need and since it still has plenty of tech, a great engine and is the cheapest model to buy, you won’t feel left out.
|Hyundai i20 1.0 T-GDi 100hp Premium: If you have a bit more budget, the Premium model might be worth choosing instead simply for the larger screen and LED lights, which make the car feel more modern.
|Hyundai i20 N: There’s no doubt about it, the i20 N is the best model for performance and fun. It has 204hp and can go from 0-62mph in a rapid 6.2 seconds, plus it’s great fun on twisty roads.
|Hyundai i20 1.0 T-GDi 120hp Ultimate DCT: The top-spec model isn’t really worth the extra money. Some of the tech such as wireless phone charging is nice to have, but it’s a luxury we’d do without to save some money.
Since the Hyundai i20 is a supermini, one of the most popular types of car in the UK, there are loads of rivals to consider. The Ford Fiesta is one of the best, as it’s great to drive, well equipped and cheap to run. Nearly all modern superminis are great, though, and you should also consider the Seat Ibiza, Skoda Fabia, Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa as well.
There are plenty more that bring advantages in other areas - for example, the Fabia is known for being practical, while the Clio is good value for money. There are other hot hatchbacks that rival the i20 N as well: the Ford Fiesta ST is the best, but there’s also the VW Polo GTI, Mini Cooper S and Suzuki Swift Sport.
Hyundai i20 practicality: dimensions and boot space
The Hyundai i20 is 4m long, 1.45m tall and 1.8m wide (with the mirrors folded), so it’s pretty much the same size as the Ford Fiesta, which is 4m long, 1.7m wide and just under 1.5m tall. You’ll find that nearly all superminis are around the same dimensions as these, have five doors and a hatchback boot (as the i20 does).
It’s a small car, so don’t expect it to be too roomy in the back and you’ll find it to be quite practical overall. Most adults should be able to sit comfortably in the back - not possible in some superminis - and kids will fit just fine. Legroom and headroom is better than average.
|Height 1,440mm - 1,450mm
|Weight 1,090kg - 1,220kg
The i20 has a 262-litre boot with the seats up, which is on the small side. This is because the 1.0-litre models have a large battery in the boot to accommodate for a mild hybrid system for the engine. The i20 N doesn’t have this, so it has 352 litres of space back there, which makes it much more practical.
Fold the seats down and there’s 1,165 litres of space in the i20 N, but only 1,075 litres in the normal 1.0-litre versions. The boot is still a decent size but models such as the VW Polo and Skoda Fabia have much more luggage space inside.
|Seats up 262-352 litres
|Seats down 1,075-1,165 litres
The Hyundai i20 is still fairly new, so there’s not a wealth of information available about reliability. The 1.0-litre engine in most models is used in several other models from the brand, so it should be easy to maintain.
Hyundai has an excellent reputation for reliability overall, too - the brand’s Kona SUV was ranked first overall in the 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, for example. Expect the tuned-up i20 N to require a bit more careful maintenance than the lesser models.
The Hyundai i20 has a five-year warranty as standard, just like every other Hyundai model. This warranty is not limited by mileage, so any car under five years old should still have warranty left, if you’re buying used.
For new buyers, this gives plenty of peace of mind; Hyundai is so confident in its cars that it’s able to offer one of the best warranties around. Only Kia and Toyota can beat it, and those are still mileage-limited despite lasting a bit longer.
AVERAGE REPAIR COST PAID BY WARRANTYWISE: £577
If you are looking for a small car, then the Hyundai i20 should definitely be on your shortlist. It’s a fantastic all-rounder, as it’s good to drive, comfortable, efficient, reliable, well-equipped and practical. There are models that are more fun, have bigger boots and nicer interiors, but the i20 brings all these elements together to create a very appealing car.
The long warranty makes it a top used buy as well, and the limited engine lineup means it’s easy to find a good one; there’s no duff model in the range. The i20 N model is lots of fun as well, so it’s good for car enthusiasts too.
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The entry-level i20 is a great one to choose, as it’s the most affordable of the lot and comes with loads of standard kit. The 100hp engine is all you really need and the manual gearbox is easy to use, plus it’s as practical and comfy as any other model in the range.
If you want the 120hp engine, you will need to choose an N-Line model, which is only available with this motor. It’s sportier-looking than other models in the range, and comes with loads of technology as standard.
The i20 N is the model to go for if you are a driving enthusiast, as it’s really fast and fun to drive. It’s less comfy than other models thanks to stiff suspension but it’s really well equipped, fun to drive and decent value for money as well.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example
|APR rates available
|Cash price £12,000
|Value of loan
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12
|Annual mileage of 8,000pa
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55
|Term 48 months
|Optional final payment £4,285.79
|Loan value £12,000
|Total amount payable £14,755.55
BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.