MOM'S TAXI TEST: Hyundai i20 1.4 CRDi Glide
I have to revise my opinion of the Hyundai i20: far from the previous version's middle-of-the-road and unexciting persona, it's now a nifty, impressive little runabout that's fun to drive, looks far better than previously and which I found surprisingly sprightly, especially the diesel.
“My” i20 1.4 CRDi Glide was a blast. Spacious, stylish, comfortable and loaded to the top of its neat roofline with every conceivable gizmo to make your life easier, it certainly lived up to the latest campaign of radio and TV ads.
Admittedly, though, it's expensive. You'll fork out about R203 000 for the hatch, although Hyundai will tell you it comes with a host of features that you'd pay extra for in competitor cars, such as climate control, four-speaker, Bluetooth-enabled USB/Aux/iPod sound system, as well as auto folding mirrors and rear parking sensors. You'll also find the audio volume controller and a mute switch mounted on the steering wheel, which I thought was a great touch, raising the segment's bar on safety and convenience.
On the road, it's extraordinarily quiet and smooth enough that the kids could do their homework without scribbling all over their pages. Top speed, for those who like to take chances, is around the 174km/h mark.
As with any other car from the top-selling Korean stable, the i20 is well put together, solid and well appointed. Adding to its sporty appeal, the i20 Glide comes standard with head-turning 16'' alloys in a 12-spoked design around black wheel caps adorned with the Hyundai logo.
Attractive new four-bulb type headlights incorporate multi-focus reflectors for improved visibility, not only better illuminating the area in front of the car when turned on, but also adding to its looks.
The 66kW/22Nm turbodiesel engine isn't thirsty, either, genteelly sipping about five litres of fuel per 100km. What also impressed me, apart from how little juice I had to put in, was the ground clearance: 150mm. This meant I could travel safely over bumpy farm roads without worrying about scraping the undercarriage - and as far as occupants' safety was concerned, the Glide boasts half a dozen airbags as well as ABS.
Hyundai has touted the car as having “big car syndrome with hatchback flair”, and is right on the button. The i20 offers every convenience and ticked most of the same boxes as many bigger vehicles, but with the bonus of hatchback convenience.
Nice one, guys!