Hyundai i20 Active

1.0 T-GDI

Hyundai i20 Active, driving
Hyundai i20 Active, front quarter
Hyundai i20 Active, profile
Hyundai i20 Active, rear quarter
Hyundai i20 Active, rear
Hyundai i20 Active, engine
Hyundai i20 Active, boot
Hyundai i20 Active, front
Hyundai i20 Active, interior

HYUNDAI has carved something of a reputation for itself in the small car market with the hugely successful i10.

The diminutive city car proved an instant hit when it arrived eight years ago thanks to a combination of space, practicality and, above all, affordability.

The i20 supermini arrived a year later and built on the attributes of its smaller sibling, with both cars now in their second generations and among the South Korean marque's biggest sellers across Europe.

The i20 range has been bolstered this year by the addition of the Active as Hyundai look to cash in on the seemingly never-ending demand for more rugged motors - whatever their shape and size.

Sitting in an ever expanding niche between hatchbacks and proper SUVs, the Active rides 20mm higher than the i20 five-door upon which it is based and adds chunky bumpers, skid plates, side skirts and cladding, fog lamps and roof rails for a more rough and tumble look.

If you want genuine off-road smarts, which are rare in the supermini sector, you'll need to look elsewhere - but if all you crave are those de rigueur crossover stylings in a neat and compact package this will be worth a look.

More than 50 percent of the bodywork is unique to this model, making it look sufficiently distinct from the five-door to have its own quirky character and means that, with the coupe also available, there is now an i20 to suit most tastes.

Engine choice is pretty simple, in that their isn't one - a choice that is⦠obviously there's an engine.

The i20 Active is powered exclusively by Hyundai's new 1.0-litre T-GDI three-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit tuned to kick out 100ps - which proves a solid all-rounder when paired with a snappy five-speed manual transmission.

Performance is sprightly around town, where the compact dimensions make manoeuvring a doddle, and, with a top speed of 109mph, it doesn't struggle for pace on the motorway either.

Typically of three-cylinder engines there's quite a thrum under sharp acceleration but this settles back to acceptable levels when pootling or cruising.

And, although riding higher than the standard i20, the Active is not as boxy and upright as some other smaller crossovers so delivers a more stable ride, remaining flat and settled in corners and generally handling pretty nimbly.

The ride is slightly firmer than a standard i20, with the suspension having been tweaked to retain that stability, and the standard 17-inch alloys also mean that you'll feel more lumps and bumps than when riding on the smaller wheels of the normal five-door.

That said, the Active is far from uncomfortable and, with light and accurate steering, is an easy car to drive, if not the most exciting.

It will also be cheap to run - with claimed average fuel economy of nearly 60 miles per gallon, a low insurance rating and carbon emissions of just 110g/km, meaning cheap vehicle excise duty.

Inside the cabin the driving position is slightly elevated, to help create that crossover feel, and you get metal pedals but the rest is pretty much as the five-door - which is no bad thing given the impressive space and practicality that boasts.

There's good head and legroom all round, plenty of convenient cubbies and cup holders and a decent sized boot, which also benefits from an adjustable floor and split, folding rear seats.

The lack of a touchscreen or sat nav option may have some potential buyers wavering but you do get a clip-on docking system that allows you to use your smartphone instead - if it's compatible.

Automatic lights and wipers are also a bit of a miss but equipment you do get includes digital radio, cruise control, air con, tyre pressure monitoring system, traction and stability control and hill-start assist.

FAST FACTS

Hyundai i20 Active 1.0 T-GDI

Price: £15,225

Mechanical:100ps, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:109mph

0-62mph:10.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 58.9

Insurance Group: 6

C02 emissions: 110g/km

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty:5yrs/100,000 miles

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