Hyundai i20 1.0

Premium

Hyundai i20, front
Hyundai i20, front
Hyundai i20, side
Hyundai i20, rear
Hyundai i20, rear
Hyundai i20, interior

NOT that long ago some might have thought the days of the petrol engine were numbered - on its way to being consigned to the automotive history books due to the rise of ever more efficient diesel engines and the drive towards electric cars and other greener powertrains.

But diesel has arguably become something of a dirty word given the ongoing emissions testing scandal and persistent concerns about toxins.

And, while electric power has come on leaps and bounds, we have fallen way short of the level of usage many industry analysts might have expected a few years ago.

As a result, epitaphs to petrol power have been somewhat premature and manufacturers continue to heavily invest in petrol engines - particularly smaller ones that offer levels of efficiency that were once unimaginable.

The engine down-sizing trend, which looks set to continue, has also seen the emergence of a raft of three-cylinder units which aim to deliver levels of efficiency that present a serious rival to diesel and offer tax-saving emissions.

Hyundai welcomed the arrival of just such an engine - a 1.0-litre turbocharged unit- in its i20 supermini earlier this year.

This potent little engine is an impressive enough performer and there are a number of power variants.

It comes in either 99bhp or 118bhp form. This was the higher-powered version but both offer decent enough performance to be fair.

Even the lower-powered model out performs the larger 1.4-litre naturally aspirated petrol version by more than half a second on the 0-62mph sprint, while also managing to duck under the magical 100g/km CO2 emissions level.

Some higher specced models emit just over 104g/km, while the higher-powered version emits slightly more CO2, though there are still tax savings to be had.

The three-cylinder petrols also compare favourably to the 1.1-litre diesel option and overall are a few hundred pounds cheaper too.

Three-cylinder engines can take a little getting used to but I rather liked this one I have to say.

To get the most of it you do have to rev it a little more freely and in doing so you'll get nowhere near the claimed fuel economy figures but it's a good unit that's smooth and surprisingly potent.

A few years back its 0-62mph time of around ten seconds would have been considered positively sporty and it still feels fairly swift in a car of this size.

Overall the i20 is a commendable if not hugely exciting car that reflects Hyundai's ongoing evolution and continued improvement.

Once very much a bargain brand Hyundai now compete pretty much on a level playing field with mainstream European rivals.

The latest i20 is a pleasant enough looking supermini, modern and sufficiently stylish - even if it doesn't have the cachet of some more fashionable cars in the segment.

It also scores very highly when it comes to interior space, particularly transporting adults in the rear.

The cabin is well done out, the instrumentation is noticeably user-friendly and it has a feeling of being well put together.

With 326 litres of carrying capacity (1,042 litres with the seats folded down) the boot is a decent size too.

FAST FACTS

Hyundai i20 1.0 Premium

Price:£15,525

Mechanical:118bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:111mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 58.9

Insurance Group: 7

C02 emissions: 112g/km

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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