Hyundai India, the country's second largest automaker has finally taken the wraps off its latest iteration of premium hatchback i20, which is being re-christened as 'Elite' i20. Along with its keenly awaited India launch, the Hyundai Elite i20 also makes its global debut as the hatchback was never showcased before in any part of the world. The Elite i20 is blessed with the company's latest design direction - Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 and the first India-bound vehicle to adorn this new design philosophy. The hatch has a European feel and flair along with the highly sporty and innovative design; although Hyundai Elite i20 misses out on a few features that the earlier hatch used to flaunt, but still it is desirable and tempting.
Hyundai Elite i20, similar to the phased out model, is being presented in both petrol and diesel fuel trims. There are 5 variants with every fuel trim - Era, Magna, Sportz, Sportz (O) and Asta. The Asta (O) variant, which was the top-end trim in the outgoing model, has been eradicated with the next generation i20. Hyundai has worked extensively hard on the exteriors and interiors of the new hatch in order to ensure super sporty appearance and elegance inside the cabin. Though, it lacks an automatic variant and the heavier 1.4L petrol motor but company is contemplating to launch it later on after seeing the initial response of the customers. Driveability has been improved significantly and NVH levels have been tuned down to produce lesser noise in the next gen Elite i20.
Hyundai has also spiced up the interiors in an awe to offer more premium and exquisite stuff inside the cabin. The extended wheelbase makes the cabin more spacious than before and it also results in adequate legroom and shoulder room. The sporty multifunction 3-spoke steering wheel is no lesser than a revelation as it is extremely light and responsive. Moreover, it comes wrapped in leather with the mid and top-end trims. The whole interiors are done in dual tone black and beige scheme along with the dashboard. Hyundai has made substantial changes to the dash of the Elite i20 as now it carries a vast central fascia which also includes a redesigned gearbox console.
The door handles have received chrome treatment to raise the ambiance of the cabin. The aesthetically designed hi-tech & informative supervision cluster looks decent in glossy black tone. The company has provided front & rear door map pockets to keep the small belongings closer to hands. In addition, there are front passenger seat back pocket, rear parcel tray, and sunglass holder to take care of the added accessories and tiny luggage. Did we forgot to mention that despite being exceptionally spacious, it has a hefty boot space of 285 litres.
Height adjustable driver's seat feature is available as well with the mid and top-end trims. Although, every variant comes with rear seat headrests but they are adjustable with the top-end variant only. The top-end variant also facilitates the occupants by the 60:40 foldable rear seat feature. The Elite i20 also boasts front center console armrest with storage with entire lineup, except the Era trim. Every variant has a power outlet, while the top-of-the-trim variant has two 12V accessory sockets. The base (ERA) & mid (Magna) come variants come with manual air conditioner, but Era misses out on rear A/C vents. The rest three higher variants get a fully automatic air conditioner with cluster ionizer and rear A/C vents. The top trims also get Engine Start/Stop button as standard feature along with rear wiper and washer. Apart from the base variant, every variant comes equipped with an integrated 2 Din MP3 Audio with USB, Aux-in and 1 GB internal memory. It also supports Bluetooth connectivity and controls are mounted on steering wheel with every variant, except Era. The company also serves factory fitted front and rear speakers and tweeters. The base variant is quite ineffective and insipid as it misses out on numerous comfort and convenience features that are available with the top or even mid variants. It, even, doesn't feature glovebox cooling!
Despite being touted as a premium hatchback and an elite member of B+ segment of cars in India, the Elite i20's legacy in this aspect is unmatched. The next gen i20 offers best-in-class fuel economy with both the powertrains. The petrol variants yield a promising fuel economy of 18.60kmpl while the diesel variants deliver 22.54kmpl; Although, the aforementioned mileage figures are with base (Era) and mid (Magna) variants as the higher end variants offer 18.24kmpl and 21.76kmpl in petrol and diesel trims, respectively. All these mileage figures are ARAI Certified under normal conditions and mileage may go down by 4-5kmpl while driving in thick city traffic.
Performance and Handling
It was a weak zone for phased out Hyundai i20 and people were hoping that Hyundai pay attention to this aspect and come out with better option. The Elite i20 comes loaded with a tilt & telescopic steering with a motor driven (electric) power steering wheel. It is light which makes it easier to operate and maneuver the hatch through narrow and congested streets. Hyundai i20 Elite uses McPherson Strut with Coil Spring in the front suspension while the rear suspension features Coupled Torsion Beam Axle with Coil Spring. The diesel engine is mighty powerful as it reaches the 0-100kmph mark under 14 seconds while clocking a top speed of 165kmph. The petrol motor is also performance oriented as it achieves the 0-100kmph barrier in 15 seconds with a top speed of 145kmph.
Hyundai Elite i20 would be pitted against the likes of 2014 Volkswagen Polo, Fiat Punto EVO and Maruti Swift. The previous gen i20 fared incredibly well in this segment and was only second to Maruti's Swift in terms of sales figures. It is a gold-digging segment as mostly middle class families are the buyers and hence, every automajor has launched the refreshed versions of the hatchbacks. First came Polo, then the Punto EVO, now the Elite i20 and later on, it would be Swift. Thus, one can calculate automatically that how fierce is the competition is this segment!
First things first, Hyundai Elite i20 pays no resemblance to the outgoing model of the hatch, at least in exterior appearance. The 'Fluidic Sculpture 2.0' design philosophy is quite contemporary sort of design language; quite similar to the one that Peugeot (The french automaker) cars adorn.
At the front fascia, the wrap around headlamps, all new hexagonal grille with chrome linings, wider air dam, hood character lines are some of the highlights of exterior section of the Elite i20. The front bumper is an all new body colored one with integrated wide and distinctive trapezoidal fog lamps. However, the aforesaid feature is not on offer with the base Era trim. Coming to the side profile, due to enlarged size of C-pillar, the roofline further sporty and slopy. The B-pillar and the C-pillar, both are engrossed in black color.
Additionally, there are body colored door handles and ORVM with turn indicators in all the variants of the hatch, except for the Era where they are present in black shade. Even, the top-end variants Sportz (O) and Asta has also been bestowed with chrome door handles and Premium 2 tone 16 inch diamond cut alloys.
Talking about the rear profile of the hatchback, the company has introduced an all new 'Boomerang' shaped tail lamp cluster which further accentuates the stylishness of the car. The all dual tone rear bumper with black bumper garnish at
Engine & Transmission
Being offered with both petrol as well as diesel guise, the hatchback retains its engine options with requisite fuel trims. Although, the heavier 1.4L petrol motor, which used to come with the automatic variant in the previous generation i20, has been phased out from this latest version. The petrol variants in-house a 1.2L Kappa dual VTVT engine.
This 1197 cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve powertrain develops a power output of 81.8 bhp at 6,000rpm and torque performance of 114Nm at 4000 rpm. It is paired with the company's traditional 5-speed manual gearbox. On the ther hand, the diesel variants come loaded with 1.4L U2 CRDi motor which is also a 4-Cylinder and 16-Valves motor. This 1396 cc engine musters out a maximum power of 88.7bhp at 4000rpm in accordance with a peak torque of 220Nm at 1500-2750rpm. It is coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission to maximize fuel efficiency and performance. So, this time there is no place for an auto transmission, but the company is hinting at its launch at some later stage.
Braking and Safety
Hyundai has incorporated a decent braking system in the hatch which consists of disc brakes as front brake while the rear one is drum. It is supported immensely well by the Anti-lock braking system (ABS), but it is limited to the top three variants. Earlier, Hyundai i20 used to be the only hatchback under Rs. 10 lakhs that offered as many as half a dozen airbags and was impeccably safe. But, ironically, now the scenario has reversed as even the top-end trim has only 2 airbags. The base and mid variants don't feature a single airbag, while the Sportz trim comprises of only driver's airbag. The parking assist feature with reverse parking sensors and rear camera with ECM display comes handy during parking the hatch. There are front fog lamps to improve visibility in inclement weather conditions. But, again, both the aforesaid features are with Sportz & Asta trims. Additionally, the top-end spec also features seat belt pretensioners for driver & passenger, automatic headlamps, impact sensing auto door unlock and clutch lock.
On the security front, it has immobilizer, smart keyless entry, and central locking (door & tailgate) to endure any event of burglary or thievery. It can be propounded nonchalantly that the current gen Elite i20 stands no where close to its predecessor in terms of safety features and the company has disappointed thoroughly in the safety and security aspect.
What we think
Hyundai Elite i20 is quite high on style quotient due to the European touch in the exterior designing and it would definitely benefit the company. As being said, "First impression is the last impression"; same holds true in the case of cars. And, what further justifies the association of this proverb with cars, especially with Elite i20, is the fact that it received a thumping response from the customers and registered around 5000 advance bookings in just a week prior to its launch. Same tried and tested engines are under the hood, but Hyundai's move on cutting down the safety features still remains an intriguing and mysterious one!