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2013-03-04 10:18


LOOKS, THE SAME... The Hyundai i20, all "fluidic" body lines and chunky shell, varies little between models - but now comes a hearty diesel engine


Three years almost to the month since its arrival in SA in July 2009 Hyundai SA has launched a sexier, sharper and smarter midlife facelift for its economy-class i20 hatchback. Nice job, guys!

Ever wondered what life on the road would be like if ALL cars were diesel? Slower, less-aggressive, cleaner, safer, their drivers relaxed with engines barely beyond idle at 100km/h. Take the new Hyundai i20 CRDi Glide...

'Laid-back' pretty much sums up the car and laid-back was its launch in, er, laid-back Paarl in the Western Cape. A short and laid-back presentation in a darkened room (so laid-back one of our number nodded-off) was followed by a laid-back, 145km, circular drive via the very laid-back beauty of Bain's Kloof Pass.

Said pass is usually taken at a fast, but careful, clip by us motoring folk, despite the several hundred metres of free-fall to eternity barely the distance of a cyclist away but hey, what's the hurry in a diesel?


This i20 is not for those who want a wheelspin rush at the robots, flash past sedentary lines of traffic or brag about thou's and 0-100 times. It's so unaggressive each car should leave the lines with peace signs painted where Herbie has '53' and that peacefulness comes from the 1396cc engine - same displacement as its 1.4 petrol-fuelled sisters/brothers but cylinders of different dimensions: where the others' aluminium engine block's bore/stroke reads 77x74.99mm those of the cast-iron lump inthe diesel are 75x79mm.

Image gallery

That translates to the diesel having fewer kW's (66 v. 77) than the petrol units but w-a-y more Nm's - torque - at 220 v. 136 which in turn means the diesel's six-speed gearshifter doesn't need to be played with so often and that means a quieter, less frenetic, ride with the speedo touching 120 but the rev counter only 2200 where the petrol would perhaps be at 3500.

Vehicle specifications

Any 1.4 petrol engine would be in a short-paced gallop at the legal limit while this diesel moves at a canter and that, on a long journey (or even in the Curse of the Commute) is laid-back. And that's why I liked the car so much during this week's launch. You can, of course, floor the damn accelerator, thrash through the gears, make a lot of noise and chuck your passengers about, but, in traffic at any speed, a good diesel-driver learns to anticipate the flow and go with it, to overtake with finesse, and still - probably - get there first.


The i20 diesel's main competitors,
Hyundai says, will be the VW Polo, Citroen C3, Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic and Nissan's Micra diesel equivalents and the Hyundai is in the upper half of those at R195 900 - quite a whack for a 1.4 though today's (Mar 1 2013) announcement of an 81c/litre rise in the price of petrol against 53c for diesel gives less pause for thought.

Factor in that the car I drove averaged 5.6 litres/100km, including town stop/go, open-road at 120km/h and the climb up Bain's Kloof Pass.

Hyundai's claim is 5/100 and the tank holds 45 litres.

The i20 diesel, the automaker says, completes the range, "the most complete line-up of a Hyundai model locally". There are five derivatives and the 1.4 CRDi Glide tops the price list.

In 2012/13 Hyundai launched the popular i20 in a revised and refreshed form – inside and out – to tempt new and younger buyers; towards the end of 2012 came the entry-level i20 1.2 Motion with, Hyundai says, an impressive list of standard features for "those with eyes firmly on their budget".


The entry new 1.4 turbodiesel comes in as a flagship derivative and can happily burn 500ppm diesel - so no hunting for suitable fuel stations; being a high-torque and therefore easy-cruising car, however, made the absence of cruise control something of a puzzle.

"The value offered by this new addition to the i20 range is evident when its comprehensive specification list is compared with those of its competitors," Hyundai says.

The front has the hexagonal grille - now a trademark of Hyundai products - and its headlights bonnet, fenders, front bumpers (with fog lights) and wheel design have brought the i20 range in visual harmony with the rest of the 'i'-range.

Hyundai says the car's cabin "provides outstanding levels of roominess front and rear for a B-segment hatch" and I've no quarrel with that; for its modest length (3995mm), it will comfortably take four adults and, rear seats in place,
a "class-leading" 295 litres of luggage or 1060 litres seats folded.

The car is very quiet and resilient at speed with
herson-strut suspension up front and a rear-coupled torsion beam axle at the rear; if you DO want to play on an open country road - no problem. The steering has electric power-assistance and and the car rides on the largest wheel/low-profile tyre combination in the range: 16" alloys shod with 195/50 rubber.


The i20 diesel also has exceptional collision protection: a high-tensile steel shell and a full-house of six airbags - front side and full-length curtain - to suport five inertia-reel, three-point seat belts.

Standard equipment includes, remote-control central locking, radio/CD with MP3/aux/iPOD/Bluetooth compatibility and six speakers, auto aircon, trip data computer (covering average and instant fuel-consumption and range, driving time and trip distance), anti-lock disc brakes, external temperature read-out, digital clock and tachometer.

There's electric power to the external (folding and heatable) mirrors, all four windows, IsoFix child-seat anchors, tillt/stretch adjustment for the steering-wheel, slide/recline adjustment on both front seats (height for the driver) and a trailer capacity of 750kg (unbraked) and 1100kg (braked) and front/rear glass wash/wipe.

Go cruise, quietly...

Hyundai i20 1.25 Motion - R144 900
Hyundai i20 1.4 Fluid - R169 900
Hyundai i20 1.4 Fluid a/t - R179 900
Hyundai i20 1.4 Glide - R181 900
Hyundai i20 1.4 CRDi Glide - R195 900

As with all Hyundai cars, the i20 1.4 CRDi Glide comes with a five-year or 150 000km warranty and five years or 150 000km roadside assistance, a three-year or 60 000km service plan and five year of 160 000km corrosion perforation warranty.

Service intervals 15 000km.

More information from Hyundai South Africa.
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Read more on:    paarl  |  2013  |  hyundai  |  launch

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