When we look at Hyundai’s track record in India, we wonder how the South Korean manufacturer outperformed numerous local and international competitors to become the country’s second-largest carmaker. When you look at a car like the Elite i20, you get a hint of the answer. This vehicle combines style, comfort, and performance to create a very appealing package.
The Elite i20 has been popular among Indian buyers since its introduction. Newer competitors have entered the fray, increasing competition, but Hyundai’s premium hatchback continues to drive buyers into the brand’s showrooms.
But we’re not here to sing hymns of praise to it. We examine the Elite i20 closely and tell you what’s hot and what’s not. In August 2014, the Hyundai Elite i20 was introduced in India as the second generation i20. It received such positive feedback that it was named Indian Car of the Year in December 2014. When the Elite i20 was introduced in the Indian market, it came with ten variants and two engine options.
The Hyundai Elite i20 prioritized our comfort and convenience by providing us with a manual air conditioner, heater, headlight, and ignition on the reminder. Both the driver’s and front passenger’s seats adjust manually in six different ways. It had fabric upholstery and a bench back seat for the rear passenger. The interior of the Elite i20 was available in Beige and Black. The interior door handles were chrome, and the exterior door color was black. It was available in five different colors: Polar White, Fiery Red, Polar White/Black, Typhoon Silver, and Star Dust.
Hyundai Elite i20 exterior featured a roof-mounted antenna and body-colored bumpers. It featured an analogue instrument cluster, average fuel consumption, and a low fuel warning, as well as a dynamic shift indicator. The Elite i20 didn’t have much to offer in terms of entertainment. The Elite i20 has been discontinued and is no longer available on the manufacturer’s official website. It shed the ‘Elite’ moniker and became known as the all-new i20.
Even though the name ‘Elite’ has been dropped, the new i20 will astound you with its all-new design.
It would be a bold statement to say that this is the best-looking vehicle in its class, but we’re confident that many others would agree. The designers, thankfully, avoided using excessive cuts and slashes to make it look more appealing, and instead, the Elite gets an understated layout that grabs attention rather than begging for it.
Overall, it has a clean and sharp profile that adds a dash of sportiness to its image. To be honest, if the Hyundai emblem had been removed, we would have easily misidentified it as a European-made vehicle.
The sleek, swept-back headlamps give the face an aggressive appearance, and muscular lines down the bonnet complement the chiselled fascia. The grille’s chrome outline adds just the right amount of flash to the front. The sharply styled front bumper, which also slims down the car’s front, makes the Elite i20 a handsome car. Even the indicator lights conceal and well-integrates into the headlamp cluster.
The chrome door handles are a little much, but Indians love their chrome. The 16-inch alloy wheels are a design highlight and are nothing short of drool-worthy. You won’t need to sift through aftermarket options.
The Elite i20, unlike the Baleno or Jazz, lacks MPV overtones. The blackened C-pillar, as well as the shoulder-line and door cladding, reduce the side profile. It’s also worth noting how the shoulder line connects the tips of the head and tail lamps.
The back doesn’t get the same slimming elements as the front, but it’s also not as bulbous like the Baleno. The LED-look tail lights are especially appealing at night, and perhaps a little black cladding in the rear bumper would improve the overall appearance.
The inner workings of the old i20 remain untouched. The diesel version powers the same 1.4-litre U2 CRDi engine that displaces 1,396cc. The 16-valve engine produces 90PS at 4,000rpm and 220Nm of torque between 1,500 and 2,750rpm. When compared to the previous version, we thought the engine performed admirably, with more linear power delivery and less turbo-lag. City driving is especially enjoyable with this engine, which has plenty of low-end torque. The engine links to a 6-speed manual transmission, which we found simple to use.
The petrol variant is powered by a 1.2-litre Kappa VTVT engine with a displacement of 1,197cc. At 6,000rpm, the power output is 83PS, with a peak torque of 115Nm at 4,000rpm. We couldn’t help but feel like the motor was overworked at times, especially at high speeds. It has a very smooth engine and performs admirably in the city, but it struggles on the highway. Keep in mind that driving with a full passenger load will require you to be quite generous with your throttle inputs, and high-speed overtakes will necessitate some careful planning and possibly a downshift as well. Fortunately, the gear lever is easy to use and falls precisely into the gear gates.
Ride and Handling:
In terms of ride quality and comfort, the Elite i20 outperforms its predecessor. Taking on potholes and broken roads is simple if you keep your speed low. The suspension has become more compliant and is no longer bouncy. At city speeds, the steering is super-light, but while it weighs up well as you pick up the pace, it’s not enthusiast-pleasing because it feels artificial.
Front disc brakes and rear drum brakes provide stopping power. The old model came with all-around disc brakes, but the current setup provides adequate braking strength and panic braking is trouble-free.
Era, Magna, Sportz, Asta are a few examples. Central locking, a smart pedal, a dual trip metre, a digital clock, a low fuel reminder, a door ajar warning, and adjustable headrests are standard on the entry-level ‘Era.’ The Asta and Asta(O) have everything, including a fully automatic air conditioning system, a rear wiper and washer, a luggage lamp, electrically foldable outside mirrors, a parking sensor display, and the auto-unlock function. Of course, the Asta is the best option, but the Sportz is a great VFM option if you want a balance of features, safety, and affordability.
Hyundai Elite i20 deserves credit for some impressive safety features. The disadvantage is that some of them are only available in higher variants.
ABS, rear parking sensors, a rear camera, central locking, and an electrochromic rear-view mirror are standard on higher-end models. Aside from that, front passengers benefit from seatbelts with pretensioners, a keyless entry system, and a rear defogger with a timer. Yes, you will also receive an immobilizer.
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