New Hyundai iX20 proves versatile, refined and frugal

HERE we are in the second quarter of 2011 and it would seem that rightly or wrongly (I don’t agree with all the environmental hype) we are going to hear a lot more about C02 emissions, and environmental based carbon taxes and not just on motorcars. Therefore it is no surprise that at present the most popular cars are proving to be well packaged, well-equipped, smaller vehicles with low emissions and low car tax rates. Cars for our times you might say.

HERE we are in the second quarter of 2011 and it would seem that rightly or wrongly (I don’t agree with all the environmental hype) we are going to hear a lot more about C02 emissions, and environmental based carbon taxes and not just on motorcars. Therefore it is no surprise that at present the most popular cars are proving to be well packaged, well-equipped, smaller vehicles with low emissions and low car tax rates. Cars for our times you might say.

Hyundai, like most manufacturers, have been working hard in this area too and have a very fine range of cars now, not least of which is the very nice new Hyundai iX20, the subject of this week’s road test. The new iX20 is a compact MPV that avoids the boxy shape of many rivals. Engines include a 1.4 petrol. a 1.6 petrol automatic and a 1.4 litre CRDi diesel, with a choice of 5 and 6 speed manual gearboxes or the aforementioned auto. I have been road testing the 1.4 CRDi this week.

First Impressions

The new iX20 is a rather nicely styled car that though Hyundai shy away from calling it a full blown MPV, it does rather look like one with a tall profile not unlike say a Mercedes B-Class. Overall sitting on smart wheels with clean lines and nice detailing to the front and rear, this is quite a good looking car.

Behind The wheel

The interior is very well packaged and indeed equally well built. The iX20 is designed and built in Europe and it shows. The cabin could be from any of the leading premium brand cars in Europe it is that good. From a design point of view it looks very well and ergonomically functions equally well.

The fit and finish is beyond reproach and quality is really to the fore in all the materials used. I really like the soft blue illumination of the instruments and the aluminium effect trim on the centre console and steering wheel.

Standard specification is also impressive with the usual electric windows, remote locking, power steering and so on as well as a good stereo with iPOd, USB and Aux ports, leather covered multifunction steering wheel, air conditioning, a host of front, side and curtain airbags, ISOFIX, ABS, BAS, ESC, and even Hill Start Assist. The new iX20 also features voice activation and Bluetooth as standard. I guess all cars should have this really and probably will some day.

The driving position is very good and there is pretty good room both front and rear to seat four adults in comfort or five at a squeeze. At just over 4m long this is a compact car but with the interior space of a larger vehicle.

The 440 litre boot is also pretty good and accessed via the large rear tailgate.

Performance

The Hyundai iX20 is powered by a 1.4 litre 90bhp diesel engine and with its low emission falls into band A for tax purposes costing just n104 to road tax. Mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox performance is generally good though you do sometimes feel it could do with just a little more pep in its step for overtaking particularly when laden.

Over my week with the car it returned an average fuel burn of just 5.7 litres per 100km which is indeed very good.

Road Behaviour

The New iX20 rides and handles well. It is surefooted on all surfaces while the suspension does a good job of soaking up most road imperfections. The iX20 is quiet too with little road, engine or wind noise to spoil your drive.

Verdict

I came away from my road test of the new Hyundai iX20 very impressed indeed. Here is a compact, well-equipped car that delivers in all areas. It looks smart, drives well, is very economical, yet generous with high quality fittings and a very good specification.

Prices start at n18,495 for the 1.4 petrol, while the iX20 1.4 CRDi as tested costs n18,995. This model will I imagine be the most popular. The 1.6 petrol auto costs n20,495.