Hyundai's new i20 is a real Hy flyer

The new generation i20 is a massive improvement over the outgoing model
The new generation i20 is a massive improvement over the outgoing model

Hyundai 120 Premium 1.2

The race for the Champions League spots in this year’s Premier League is more exciting than the actual league itself.

Manchester United, Arsenal, Southampton, Liverpool and Spurs are all in with a shout of claiming the final two places, possibly behind Chelsea and Manchester City.

Similar to that, the car-sales league in Ireland is very interesting this year. The usual suspects like Toyota and Volkswagen have got off to great starts, and the rest are close behind them.

One car company quietly getting results in the background is Hyundai. The Korean company has set its sights on a top four, possibly even top-three finish this year, and it is well on the way to doing so.

The Hyundai ix35 is walking out of showrooms at the moment, and the company’s award-winning city car, the i10, is driving the numbers up and up.

On top of that, the i30 is doing really well for them, and you might have even seen one in your rear-view mirror with a Garda sign on it.

However, the one area that let them down slightly was sales of its i20 model. It didn’t quite cut the mustard in the B-segment market against the mighty Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo,  Toyota Yaris and Opel Corsa  – until now that is.

On the outside, the i20 has come on in leaps and bounds over its predecessor.

Although still not as pretty as some of its closest rivals, it now has much bolder looks and the new front grille and LED day-time running lights give it a much-needed lift.

However, it’s on the inside that the i20 has undergone the radical changes.

It is now wider, longer and more spacious in general than the outgoing model, and this is definitely evident from the moment you set foot inside the cabin.

I will stick my neck out and say it seems a lot more spacious than many of its rivals, and boot space is possibly best in its class.

Hyundai has added some lovely touches, and there is definitely a more premium feel to it. I have to admit, although it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea,

I quite like the removable smartphone holder that transforms your iPhone or android phone into your centre console.

This means you can easily use the Google Map application as your sat nav and not have to fiddle around with third-party sat-nav apps that are simply no match for Google.

There are plenty of new gadgets to play with and standard equipment has been improved greatly. I would suggest you avoid the entry-level model and push the boat out for the Deluxe or Premium version.

On the engine front, I was a bit disappointed to find that Hyundai stuck to the block from the outgoing model – albeit with a few tweaks. The competition from Ford, Opel, Toyota and even Volkswagen is fierce in this department and I think they could have introduced a new one to keep up with the Joneses.

However, the 1.2-litre petrol it is still a really good engine and it can hold its own both on the motorways and around town. 

Overall, the i20 is a great addition to the Hyundai fleet. It has possibly been the poorest performer for the company in its superb range, and I hope this new model will change all that.

Prices for the new i20 start at €15,995 for the i20 Classic, €17,495 for the i20 Deluxe, €19,495 for the i20 Premium and €20,495 for the Deluxe auto.