A history lesson...
The ix20 is part of a well-received Hyundai renaissance, displaying the brand's modern 'fluidic sculpture' design language, attractive pricing for car, parts and servicing and pulling the customers in with quality interiors, high levels of standard kit, competitive efficiency ratings and an incredibly generous after-sales package. In its quiet way, Hyundai is providing some genuine competitors to the more usual suspects.
The Hyundai ix20 was released in 2010 with two petrol engines, a 1.4 litre and a 1.6, plus very desirable 1.4 and (from 2012) 1.6 litre CRDi diesels. Blue Drive technology keeps emissions (and tax!) low. Gearbox options are manual or automatic, excepting the automatic only 1.6 litre petrol unit.
Bang for your buck
Hyundai is throwing it all out there these days in an attempt to become a major European player and, based on the ix20, it could succeed. Soft, soothing exterior curves are complemented by a hexagonal grille on the front that is becoming familiar as Hyundai attempts to bring a strong sense of design cohesion to its newer models.
With Tardis-like interior space, this mini-MPV can comfortably accommodate five large adults along with heaps of luggage. Storage cubbyholes are loaded into every spare space and the roomy boot is thankfully devoid of a load lip, allowing heavy items to be pushed in and out rather than lifted.
The relaxing lines follow through to the cabin, with chic styling and modern materials. Access has also been considered, with comfortable sill and seat heights plus large apertures making the ix20 an ideal vehicle for the motion-impaired. The steering column is height and reach adjustable and holds remote control buttons for essential features and the stereo. A modern, blue-backlit instrument cluster is another new Hyundai character trait and safety provisions have earned applause, with ABS, ESP, at least six airbags and Hillstart Assist.
Trim levels are carefully conceived for a UK market and consist of the basic model, the Classic, with height adjustable driver's seat, air conditioning, steel wheels, active head restraints, electric front windows and a six-speaker CD stereo with USB, AUX and iPod-inputs. This is followed by the good-value Active, which adds 16" alloys, electrically controlled and heated wing mirrors which, along with the door handles, are colour keyed, reverse parking sensor, Bluetooth connectivity, electric windows all round and a leather trimmed steering wheel to the package. The range-topping Style has front fog lamps, folding wing mirrors with side repeater indicators, a dual panel glass panoramic sunroof equipped with a UV filter, blinds and tilt-and-slide function, plus tinted rear windows.
Hyundai's generous Triple Care Package of a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, five-year RAC roadside assistance and five annual vehicle health checks will also benefit second-hand buyers.
What you'll pay
Given the relative newness of the Hyundai ix20, you're unlikely to find anything under £10,000. The lowest prices are for the petrol engines, with diesels starting at about £11,000.
What to check
As you would expect in such a new model, information on faults is sparse. While no official recalls have been issued, there have been rumblings of jamming rear brake callipers and delays on parts availability. However, none of this is serious enough to cause any real concern.
About £30 for a set of front pads, £12 for an air filter and £9 for an oil filter.
How it drives
Of the four engines available, the 90bhp 1.4 CRDi is the peach, offering an excellent combination of economy and performance. Sensible torque weighting gives plenty of power at the lower end, which tends to make for a more pleasurable drive and keeps noise levels and emissions low. A number of efficiency features, including chain-driven timing, a power saving AMS (Alternator Management System) and low rolling resistance tyres do not detract from a lively power output that doesn't require too much hard work to hit the high spots.
The other engines are also winners, as are the refinement and handling. The Hyundai ix20 offers an impressively quiet and smooth ride, taking potholes and bumps in its confident stride and brushing past corners with little ado. As if that's not enough, the steering and gear change are slick and smooth and visibility is ace.
All round, the used Hyundai ix20 is a great, practical little car and a definite leader in its class.