Hyundai a peace of

mind performer

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

SOME years ago, Volkswagen had the awful idea that blue panel lights would be cool and different but unfortunately, I and many other drivers found them badly distracting.

The company soon changed the colour back to something safer, but now Hyundai has started doing the same thing in the otherwise brilliant i20 hatch.

I had to turn the dash lights down to minimum to stop the colour distracting me, but as soon as I did, I started to enjoy the car immensely.

It's a great looking smaller family hatch with room for five and even with the petrol engine, was still good for a real road average of 42mpg.

Now I was driving it pretty hard, putting it through its paces, so with a careful foot on the loud pedal, a more likely average is 48-50, and that has to be excellent even up against some diesels.

This is a car with real peace of mind too, because every Hyundai comes with a transferable five year, unlimited mileage warranty that few car makers have yet bothered to match.

And it's a lovely car to drive into the bargain, with an excellent ride over all surfaces and a really safe and sure feel on the road.

Even some rough surfaces taken at speed did not upset it unduly and it was also very stable in crosswinds.

It even takes the corners like sporting car, with little roll, very good agility and excellent grip when pushed through a series of bends.

The steering is direct and positive, with plenty of feel mid-corner and the whole works together brilliantly. This is a cracking family car in every way.

I drove the latest, very smooth and quiet 1.0-litre GDi petrol turbo and it's a gem of an engine, with no less than 120bhp on tap and a yellow line of 6,500 revs.

That's good enough to give 60-plus miles an hour in second gear for decently quick acceleration, and there's plenty of urge in the mid-range and lower for overtaking or pressing on.

Yet it will pull smoothly and quietly from just above tickover in all five lower gears of the six-speed gearbox.

There is a little lag between the gears if you let the revs drop too low, but most drivers would rarely notice it.

The Premium Nav model I drove comes with alloys, DAB stereo with aux, USB and 1GB of music storage, Bluetooth, voice activation and cruise.

It also has lane departure warning, leather covered multi-function steering wheel, parking sensors, a space saver spare wheel, aircon, stability control, height-adjustable driver's seat, start/stop and reach and rake adjustable steering.

FAST FACTS

Price: £16,800

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

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 58

Insurance Group: 11

C02 emissions: 112g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles

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