Hyundai’s i20 became the ‘Elite’ i20 in 2014. And it just got more elite with some new styling and extra equipment in the latest iteration. The car with its mild facelift was launched on 6th April 2017. It has already been doing well for the Korean giant with country wide sales of about 9000-10000 units every month. The stylish design and well appointed cabin have done well for it. Even if the engines are not for enthusiastic driving, they suit the needs of regular commuting notably well.
This makeover is only about cosmesis along with the provision of new gadgetry and safety features. There are no changes under the hood. So Elite i20 is still powered by the same engines:
• 1.2 litre Kappa Dual VTVT Petrol mated to 5 speed manual transmission
• 1.4 litre Dual VTVT Petrol mated to 4 speed automatic transmission
• 1.4 litre U2 CRDi Diesel mated to 6 speed manual transmission
In what areas did the changes make Elite i20 more attractive? Outwardly, it gets two new dual tone colour options. These are Passion Red and Polar White with a Phantom Black roof. The dual tone trim of the car comes only with the manual transmission Asta variant that is priced at 7.25 lakh for petrol and 8.51 lakh for diesel (ex showroom Delhi).
Other external features of the hatchback are unchanged. This car was designed in Germany and does have some European cues. It still has the same Fluidic sculpture 2.0 design language. Creases on the bonnet make it look both aggressive and mature.
The single frame hexagonal grille which Hyundai calls the ‘key styling element’ of Elite i20 is the same as in the older model of the hatchback. The wrap-around projector headlamps have been slightly modified for the 2017 model.
From its sides the Elite i20 remains the same. Because of the long bonnet, the sloping roofline and taut rear, the profile view is sporty. Elite i20 uses 16 inch diamond cut alloy wheels with 195/55 R16 tyres. It has disc brakes for the front wheels and the rear gets drums.
Body coloured wing mirrors have integrated LED side turn indicators. The request key sensor for smart key locking – unlocking is given only on the driver’s door handle. As for the blackened C pillar of this hatchback, it is just a plastic cladding and not painted or wrapped body panel. It does not merge into the top of the window line which negates the floating roof effect that C pillars provide in some other vehicles.
The rear quarter angle of the Elite i20 makes it look the best. It has a clean rear with not many creases and cuts. Well concealed in the high mount stop lamp cluster is a rear windscreen washer. The wiper is not very big and is well placed on the windscreen. But the radio antenna is quite long by the standards of a small, modern hatchback. On the rear bumper there is a black strip to reduce the visual bulk. There is only one reversing light with the reflector on the right had side.
Doors of Elite i20 open wide in neat, 3 stage action but its seats are positioned low forcing you to bend and sit down. This can be little tricky for elderly.
Once inside the dual tone cabin you will notice one prominent change brought by this facelift – there is a new 7 inch touchscreen AVN (audio video navigation) system with smartphone connectivity. It has capabilities for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirror Link. The screen also works as a display for the parking camera.
Hyundai has a stronghold in cabin aesthetics and refinement. The cabin colour combination of Elite i20 makes it feel airy and most of the controls are on the black portions of the dashboard so there won’t be much direct contact with the beige area – this can help it to remain clean. Carpeting is black – another good plan for an Indian car. The quality of plastic used throughout is premium. The soft-action switches on the centre console exude refinement.
A significant new addition through this facelift is the 6 airbag system, a segment-first feature. New Elite i20 has a front airbag each for driver and passenger, front-side airbags for driver and passenger and rear curtain airbags running through the length of the cabin.
The front seats offer great lateral support and enough of under-thigh support. Seat cushioning is on the firm side although the backrest feels rather soft on long journeys. The top end Asta trim has good seat adjustment features to get into a comfortable driving position. The steering wheel can be adjusted for rake and reach.
In the earlier model of i20 the front centre armrest was attached only to the driver’s seat but this was changed when Elite i20 came with a common, standalone armrest. The same unit continues in the facelifted version. It also has storage space underneath.
The chunky steering wheel has thumb contours and buttons to control the audio, phone & MID. The instrument cluster remains illuminated even during daytime and can be easily read. The MID has dual trip meters, digital speedometer, informs on exterior temperature, service interval and a drive summary (distance covered, average speed, driving time).Disappointingly, it does not offer a fuel-economy readout and also lacks distance-to-empty counter.
Internal rear view mirror in this car is on the smaller side and the C pillar is also thick so you need to be careful about the blinds spots. But the wing mirrors are adequately wide to offer a good view of the activities behind.
Elite i20 has a 122 cc compressor for its AC which is better suited for Indian summer than the smaller 90 cc compressor in the old i20 model. There are AC vents for the rear too and together they keep the cabin really cool.
The rear doors open in two-stage action but the ingress –egress is better at front. The seat however is quite spacious and well contoured for comfort. Only the headroom is restricted. The floor hump is not very high. Rear seat occupants also get a good view of the road ahead. Head restraints are adjustable only in Asta variant. Rear doors have smaller (than front door) pockets for knick knacks.
There is a parcel tray behind the rear seat to keep small items and under this tray you find 285 litres boot space. The rear bench seat has 60:40 split and can also be folded down completely to accommodate more luggage. Spare wheel is a non-alloy.
The facelifted Hyundai Elite i20 has dual tone colour options as mentioned above. The older body colour options continue in forms of Marina Blue, Red Passion, Sleek Silver, Polar White and Star Dust.
Price for the petrol now starts at Rs 5.36 lakh and goes up to 9.09 lakh for 4 speed automatic Magna version. The new diesel Elite i20 is priced from Rs 6.66 lakh and goes up to 9.07 lakh.
This Hyundai hatchback mainly competes with Maruti Suzuki Swift which is due for a new model change within a year. Other rivals include VW Polo, Honda Jazz, and Toyota Etios Liva. With its balanced package of design, fit & finish and pleasing 1.4 litre diesel engine driveability, it will continue to get a good share of buyers.
August 11, 2014, Hyundai’s i20 made its first public appearance at the Paris Motor Show in September 2007 and it replaced the Getz in almost all international markets including India. The car was discontinued in the Indonesian market in 2012 due to the launch of Accent hatch known as Grand Avega. South Korea, North America and Philippines also have Accent hatchbacks instead of the i20. In India, the i20 was upgraded to a new version called the i-Gen i20 in 2012. It hit the markets in March that year and was another iteration of Hyundai’s fluidic design philosophy.
The Elite i20 made its debut in August 2014. This car is based on ‘Fluidic Sculpture 2.0’ design language which is more restrained and without the exaggerated fluidic flourishes seen on the earlier model. It is grown up and has some interesting features that make it different from the i20 we knew. The car was designed at Hyundai Motor's Design Centre Europe in Russelsheim, Germany.
Elite i20 comes with two engine options
The 99 bhp variant with 1.4 litre petrol motor (coupled with 4 speed auto ‘box) in older i20 has not yet been launched but is expected to join the line-up later.
It is the new look of Elite i20 that makes it an interesting launch in the bustling hatchback market. The style language replicates that of Grand i10 and Xcent. The new hexagonal grille is the focal point of the design and a feature that makes Elite i20 quite distinct. The placing of the number plate on the grille also gives it an interesting look. Stretching across the bumper, the air dam too has a fresh styling. Fog lamps sport a trapezoidal design replacing their triangular shape on the older car and they get new housings too. There is a horizontal belt running in the upper part of the grille and that touches the base of swept back headlamps. The automatic headlamps are more upswept than those on the old model but have metal inserts that give them sharper look.
On the sides you still see some fluidic hints but they are rather subtle now. Instead of the prominent curve, a rubber strip runs across the door panels. In profile, the proportions of the car look more balanced than the previous version and give it a rather sporty stance. The C pillar has been blackened out for another upgrade in design. According to Casey Hyun, the Creative Design Manager at Hyundai, the wide and sporty look of Elite i20 is inspired by European styling. The top end variants (Asta) gets 16 inch diamond cut alloy wheels.
The rear has also been revived completely with elongated, two-piece tail lamps that extend on to the tailgate. Reflectors have moved from the upper to the lower edge of the redesigned bumper. The number plate has a smaller but sharper housing.
Elite i20’s cabin gets beige and black colour theme with silver accents. The quality of materials is also appreciable. Being a premium Hyundai hatch, it does come loaded with several features (for the top end version). These include 2 DIN audio system with 1 GB internal memory storage, USB + Aux ports and Bluetooth connectivity, reversing camera and sensors, automatic climate control with rear air con vents, keyless entry + go, and electrically adjustable ORVMs that have turn indicators. Both Sportz and Asta trims get ABS and while the former has only 1 airbag for the driver, Asta comes with units for both driver and co-driver.
In terms of space, this car has slightly longer wheelbase than its predecessor and that implies roomier interiors. But the back rest for rear bench seat is again upright and seat itself is low slung – this takes away some comfort. Front seats offer good lateral support.
Elite i20 has seven colour options viz. Pristine Blue, Red Passion, Sleek Silver, Polar White, Midas Gold, Star Dust and Mystic Blue.
The price range for petrol version begins at Rs 4.89 lakhs and the top end variant is priced at Rs 6.46 lakhs. The diesel versions are priced between Rs 6.09 lakhs and 7.66 lakhs (all prices ex showroom Delhi).
Hyundai i20 had won the ‘Viewer’s Choice Award’ at the Overdrive CNBC TV 18 Awards 2010 and was also the winner of ‘Design of the Year’ award at the NDTV Profit Car & Bike Awards 2010.
A segment-leading equipment list, refined 1.4 litre diesel engine with 6 speed transmission and practical 295 litre boot made i20 a competent player in the premium hatch segment. The highway dynamics however were not quite up to the mark. Now with a fresh, new design the Elite i20 comes with renewed potential to challenge its rivals. How well will this cosmetic charm work against likes of Volkswagen Polo facelift, Fiat Punto Evo and the Maruti Suzuki Swift?