Hyundai i20 Coupe (2015 - ) review
The Hyundai i20 is a rakish version of the Korean brand's practical supermini, but is it any good? We drive it in the UK to find out.
Interested in buying Hyundai i20?
Officially it’s called a Coupe, but in reality this version of the i20 is a three-door hatchback. Still, that’s no bad thing. Apart from the glaringly obvious, it's set apart from its five-door sibling by having a lower roofline with a spoiler, redesigned bumpers, door pillars, tail-lights and foglights, and the grille has been flipped to give a more ‘open-mouth’ look. Meanwhile, creases in the doors and above the rear wheels are designed to give the Coupe a more purposeful stance. All versions get alloy wheels, although they’re larger on Sport trims, while the only snazzy thing that the base SE trim misses out on is the LED rear lights. There’s a reasonable choice of paint finishes to choose from, although most will cost you extra.
If you were expecting the eye-catching styling to be mirrored on the inside, you’re going to be largely disappointed. Sure, the cabin feels very solidly built and should be pretty hard-wearing, but the materials used are by no means the last word in quality and tactility. Many supermini rivals do a lot better on that score. You can mix up the colour scheme with a choice of interior finishes, but the choices available aren’t all that exciting, and they’re governed pretty strictly by the paint colour you choose. All versions have plenty of adjustment for the driving position and a decent view out, but otherwise, the ergonomics aren’t ideal. That’s mainly because the finer points of the infotainment system are controlled through a tiny display screen, but the tiny buttons smattered all over the steering wheel don’t help, either.
The restyled rear end means the i20 Coupe has an extra 10 litres in boot space over the five-door hatch. Okay, that’s not much more, but at 336 litres with the seats up, it beats key competitors’ figures by a good 50 litres. The rear seats fold but they don’t go flat, although a variable-height boot floor does away with the step in the loadbay, so you can slide items in easily. There’s more good news for those in the rear seats where, despite the rakish roofline, there’s enough head- and legroom for a pair of adults. A flat(ish) rear floor and a comparatively wide middle seat means a third person won’t feel too hard done by, either. Still, if the rear seats are going to be in regular use, we'd still advise going for the not-so-stylish five-door i20 for its easier access.
Ride and handling
The Coupe is as easy to drive as the five-door hatchback, with a precise gearchange, and positively weighted pedals. The steering, meanwhile, is light enough to make parking a doddle, but has enough weight at speed to inspire confidence in a set of bends. The car feels grippy and secure, and body lean is pretty well suppressed, even it doesn’t have the agility or engagement that you get from a Ford Fiesta. It’s not as smooth-riding, either. There’s a slightly unsettled feel over the rippled surfaces that cover much of the UK’s road network, but it never gets to the point of being uncomfortable.
The i20 Coupe is only available with a limited range of engines, all petrols. The entry-level one is a four-cylinder 1.2 with 83bhp, which makes a lot of financial sense because it’s cheap to buy. Performance is pretty lacklustre, though, and it makes a fair amount of noise on the motorway. If you want your car’s performance to better reflect its sporty looks, then go for one of the turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder engines. With either 99bhp or 118bhp, both are really punchy from low-down in the rev range, giving a really peppy, up-and-at-‘em nature. Refinement is also incredibly good, the engines staying smooth and quiet even when you work them hard. Fact is, though, that the more powerful version doesn’t actually feel any faster in the real world than the 99bhp version, so we’d save ourselves the extra cash that the range-topper costs to buy.
The i20 undercuts mainstream rivals like the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta by quite a bit on purchase price. This becomes even more impressive when you realise the amount of standard equipment you’re getting for your money, which is considerable. Resale values won’t be up there with the class leaders’, but they’re solid enough that you shouldn’t be out-of-pocket long-term. The 1.2 engine isn’t as cheap to run as it is to buy, but it still betters 55mpg on the official combined cycle. Both the turbocharged engines do better, with the cleanest version returning around 63mpg. No version ducks below 100g/km for CO2 emissions, but a couple get pretty close. Some buyers might wish there was a diesel option available for even lower running costs.
Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index doesn’t currently have enough data on the i20 Coupe to bestow the model with a rating, but as a brand, Hyundai is sitting pretty in the upper echelons of the manufacturer standings. The owner reviews on our site paint a fairly mixed picture of the i20’s overall reliability, however this mainly concerns the previous generation, rather than the current car. That said, like all Hyundais, the i20 Coupe comes with a generous five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, which is transferable too.
The i20 Coupe comes with all the safety measures you expect in a car like this – things like stability control and six airbags – but it also comes with a couple of extras you might not. Tyre pressure monitoring and a hill-start assistant are provided throughout the range, although the Coupe doesn’t get the lane-departure warning system that comes with the five-door car. Speaking of the five-door, that car earned four out of five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, and we’d expect a similar performance from the Coupe.
There are three versions of the i20 Coupe, and all get a healthy stack of kit as standard. The entry-level SE model has things like air-conditioning, Bluetooth, a USB socket, a (rather clunky) smartphone docking station, rear parking sensors and remote locking. Sport trim adds climate control, automatic wipers and headlights, electric door mirrors and tinted glass, while Sport Nav replaces the small radio display with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, a rear-view camera and a DAB digital radio. However, you lose the standard radio’s CD player.
Because you want as much space, equipment and style as possible in a supermini-sized car. On that score the Hyundai i20 really fits the bill, and it has plenty of other attributes besides. Well worthy of any supermini buyer’s consideration.