Why 2015 Hyundai i20 Elite Is A Bliss?

Instead of an uninspiring facelift with tweaked headlamps and frontal grille once again, Hyundai has commendably tried to add more value to its ‘premium’ hatch in terms of design and substance.

This is the third time that the Korean automaker Hyundai is refreshing its i20 hatchback since its launch in 2008. Indisputably, the i20 is one of those ‘elite’ hatches that have always performed better in sales in spite being little pricey for a hatch, foiling all those perceived cost-conscious notion of Indian customers.

The “Elite” i20, as they call the next generation hatch (though there is absolutely no ‘Elite’ signs or badges anywhere on the car), is a big departure from its earlier looks. Featuring the brand’s Fluidic Sculpture 2 design language, the new hatch looks much more than a mere facelift, though the frontal design can be an exception to my claim. This new design school ushers in for straight lines, sharp cut corners, little boxy-ness and low slung body once again after decades or so. Yet, is reminiscent of the earlier period in no way. Especially for the new i20, the adaptation is fairly acceptable. The quadrilateral grille, all-embracing headlamps, blackened C-pillar, Veloster reminding tail lamps, those flowing side lines, etc. are stimulating. The sharp design of those 16-inch chunky alloys also grabs our attention. Yet, some are bound to turn down the new looks, especially when compared with more eye-catching and bubbly looking Fiat Punto, launched few weeks back.

I’m personally impressed with this new design theme of Hyundai cars (and also the fluidic design in general), the big one in India being the 2014 Santa Fe SUV – more urban, sleek, and sporty. This has given the brand a new lease of life in the western markets, especially in US and Europe. The brand tries to look more and more European in its appeal beyond its Asian stigma, and it is one of the top sellers in the European markets as well. The new Grand i10 and the Xcent are also on line with the new theme. In fact, the Verna possessing the former fluidic design is still lively.

The interior is also refreshing and modern. Generally, facelifts do not commit major refreshments to the car interiors and dashboard styling, unless it is long over due. But in case of i20, it is quite surprising to see sprucing ups going beyond the usual. The centre console is large and well laid out, comes in two-tone colour theme. The layout of switches and AC vents are neat and organised, and the dials are interesting and upmarket.

2015 Hyundai i20 Dashboard

Both the petrol (1.2l – 81bhp) and diesel (1.4l – 88bhp) engines remain the same as the earlier model, as does almost everything under the skin – the chassis, suspension systems, brakes, etc. Yet, the company likes to call the new car as a “next generation”, along with our media and industry folks, though that is debatable. The new i20 does gets a 6-speed manual gearbox for its diesel variant, and an automatic on the cards. Undeniably, the i20 is well equipped in terms of features, the car fulfills the needs and the segment standards in all ways. Automatic headlights, LED tail lights, Multifunction steering wheel, 2-DIN integrated music system with Bluetooth and all other necessities, chilled glovebox, rear AC vents, Start/Stop button, rear view camera with parking sensors, and so on. Airbags and ABS with EBD is also offered. Though all these features are not standard in every trims, some justice is done with respect to the packages as a whole.

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Present day market dynamics force automakers to revise their offerings more often than earlier eras. Customer sensibilities are also changing and people want something new and exclusive whatever the product is. So, products have to stand out of the competition and must get that positive buzz so as to inspire others as well. But what is unfortunate in all those facelifts and refreshes is the focus on the exterior and less attention beyond its skin. You more often find only the headlamps and bumper designs being refreshed, with hardly any efforts to improve its overall design or the body shell. One such case that I often feel embarrassed is the Toyota Innova, for 10 years the car remains the same with minor cosmetic changes. This has to change. Hyundai is far better in this regard, at least in recent times, with adding more value to its cars with every pep-ups.

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Dhiyanesh is equally crazy about driving cars and writing about them. This guy loves everything with a steering wheel, so, at someday if self-driving cars take up all driving, he is sure to go nuts! He likes sedans of 90s era, esp W140 S-Class and R34 Skyline GT. Apart from usual motoring stuffs, he maintains a strong appetite for sociological perspectives on cars, their historical and cultural footprints. He owns a 1999 Fiat Siena passionately, and drives a Ford Fiesta.

  • Yuvan

    fit and finish is bad.. not as VW Polo or Punto