A history lesson…
The entire Hyundai range is confusing: the i10, i20, i30; which is which? Well, this is the i20, which is a car designed to take on the supermini market in 2009. It was one of Hyundai’s first properly mainstream cars designed to help the manufacturer secure sales across the globe.
With a three and five-door option, a diesel, petrol and a good looking body shell, the i20 was a welcome replacement for the aging Getz – plus, it had a better name. It may not be an obvious choice in the supermini market, but if you want something alternative, interesting and cheap, the i20 is a great option.
Brand snobbery aside, Hyundai has definitely been pulling their socks up over the last few years and they’re nowhere near the awful cars they once were back in the late 1990s.
Bang for your buck
Hyundai’s whole ethos – like a lot of eastern car manufacturers – is affordability. You don’t get German-quality build quality, nor do you get life-changing technology, but you get a decently-specced small car that shouldn’t cost you too much to run.
No i20 is fast, so if you’re looking for a hot-hatch, find another car. The 1.4 Comfort will hit 62mph in 11.6 seconds, which is very slow nowadays, but you do get nearly 50mpg on the combined cycle, so it’s swings and roundabouts really.
The usual list of airbags, safety equipment, CD player, air-con and a decent stereo system are all present, which should make the cheap i20 a viable option for drivers in the UK.
What you’ll pay
Prices for a 58-plate i20 with a 1.2-litre engine are still around the £5,000 mark, but with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty from new, you should still have a bit of residuals to hold on to for a while yet.
What to check
As previously said, the excellent warranty deal means there’s little to worry about; just the usual checks of paint condition, interior quality and rust inspection and you should be fine. Doing a HPI check is a great idea, too.
Most i20 parts are surprisingly cheap. A replacement exhaust is £250, front brake pads are £60 and the rears are about £75
How it drives
The Hyundai i20 is Korean, and the Koreans are not German. You’re not going to get 1-Series-levels performance, 3-Series levels of fun or 5-Series levels of practicality, because it’s just not a car that wants to be all of those things.
It’s a car that will take you from A-to-B in comfort and relative safety. It won’t blow you away through the corners, inspire poetry due to its overwhelming technical ability or even make you smile; it’s just a car.
That’s not to say it is rubbish, because in many ways, it’s very good. It does what most European superminis do, but without the premium price, and while the driving experience isn’t that of a MINI, it is good enough for it to be a viable option.
It will understeer, it will feel underwhelming but what do you want for a car for around £5k?