2018 Hyundai Elite i20
The Elite i20 has been selling like hotcakes since it was launched back in 2014 and has been doing so consistently. How do you improve on something that is already being lapped up without complaints? Tweak it to keep it fresh and up-to-date without changing its core. Hyundai launched the facelifted i20 at the Auto Expo earlier this year, with a host of changes to the exterior and interior. One big announcement was that of a new drivetrain – a petrol automatic that features a CVT gearbox, however that is only coming later this year. For now, we are driving the diesel manual.
The Cascade grille is new, as is the entire front bumper with the integrated fog lamps. It is sharper and edgier, giving the Elite i20 a slightly more aggressive stance. In profile, it looks the same as the older car – it has retained its shape and stance however you will notice the 16-inch alloys have a new design. Move over to the back and that is where you really notice the changes. The taillamps are completely fresh not just the cluster, but the entire shape is new and more chunky. The number plate has been moved up from the bumper to the tailgate.The front works while the rear is a bit confused. Though it has been neatly integrated, the rear has lost a little bit of its edge while the front has gained some.
The biggest change in the interior is infotainment system the 7-inch touchscreen is new as are the manner in which the buttons are integrated around it. You get plenty of connectivity options including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink in addition to the regular stuff like Bluetooth and USB connectivity. The dual tone interiors remain, but the upholstery on the seats is new. The chassis is the same, the engine is the same and it drives pretty much the same as before. The diesel we are driving gets the same 1,396cc motor that makes 89bhp and 220Nm. The motor is punchy once you get over the initial lag under 1,700rpm and tugs the car along confidently. Hyundai has claimed to have tweaked the tuning of the engine to make it more efficient
. This particular diesel engine is one of the better ones available at this price point. Mated to a slick-shifting six-speed gearbox, the i20’s drivetrain is one of the highlights of the car. It has enough low down grunt to be comfortable in the city, but it also has the torque when you want it to make quick overtake on the highway.
The Hyundai Elite i20 has never been a sporty car to drive, and it has never pretended to be one either. The ride is biased more towards the softer side – it keeps things rather cushy inside the cabin. It deals with bad roads rather well but manages to stay planted at high speeds on the highway as well. Hyundai has weighed up the steering a little bit, however, it still lacks feel and remains dead around the centre. The i20 doesn’t mind being thrown round bends hard but it isn’t shatteringly good in that department. It is more comfortable being driven leisurely and will keep you happier if you drive it so. The Hyundai Elite i20 has a lot going for it. The drivetrain is solid, it is comfortable, the equipment list is vast and build quality cannot be faulted. There is a reason why it has been doing so well for so long. The i20 never really needed fixing, and Hyundai seems to know that as well. This update merely sharpens the edges, adding a little more to its already massive kitty of selling points.