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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hyundai i20 - Test Drive

Yesterday on 31st, January, 2009, it was time to enjoy the Saturday (coz as per the office situations it was my last Saturday in home for a long time to come). So, apart for a long long sleep and some other important works, I had two main agendas in mind - get the bike checked in the Bajaj Service Center and second go for the new Hyundai i20 Test Drive.

Well it took a lot of time to finish "the other works" and therefore it was too late to take the bike to the service center as they would have kept the bike for service and would not have returned the bike on the same day!! So, on to the second agenda..... Hyundai i20 Test Drive!!

The car was released in Delhi/NCR on 19th, December, 2008 and I went to the Orion Hyundai showroom in Gurgaon on 20th, December, 2008 for the test ride. That time I was denied the test drive coz they said that they had only one car available which they were using for display. But this time it was my lucky day!! I not only get a very good test ride, but seeing my involvement in the test ride, the owner of the showroom and the entire staff of the show-room asked for my detailed feed back(which they documented in great detail) and at the same time they also provided their own feed back about the car. So, here's how the car is from my point of view!!

Exterior and Interior
The car which I got to drive was the Hyundai i20 Asta. Simply put, it's an International Car which is being made in India to be sold in India and Internationally. The lines and curves are simply perfect!!
  • Both the exterior and the interiors of the car are top notch. Say for example the design and placement of the Clock Instrumentation on the Dash Board of the car. Small small things but they add a lot to the overall look of the car.

  • The Passenger compartment window has suffered a definite cut in profile as compared to the i10.
  • The design of the Steering Wheel is quite sporty and the on-steering instrumentation is very well placed.

  • The Steering wheel is not only adjustable vertically (as in i10), but is also telescopic and can be pulled forward and backward too.
  • The motor assisted Power Steering is a magic in this one. After driving i20, I'm finding my i10's steering a bit stiff comparatively ;)
  • I found the arrangement of the Horn a bit uncomfortable for me, as it's too centrally placed and I had to move my thumb quite a bit while drive to blow the horn.
  • The Gear stick is in a very awkward position. It's neither forwardly placed as in the i10 nor it's the custom positioning as in other cars. It's somewhere in between making it awkward and uncomfortable. But ya, that's a matter of getting habituated, but the Hyundai staff with me shared the same feedback.

  • To make things comfortable and safe for the driver and the co-passengers, there are a lot of safety and comfort features in the car -
    1. Space, Space and lots of space. The space inside the car along with the boot is really gives you a sense of style and elegance. But ya, the space inside is definitely not as the likes of Tata Indica Vista.

    2. The ignition key hosts a remote locking and unlocking system and has folding bayonet.

    3. The OVRMs are electronically foldable and adjustable.
    4. The AC/Heater is temperature controlled.
    5. Apart from the dials of the Dash Board showing the Speedo, Tacho and the Fuel Gauge, there is an Information Center(don't confuse jargon with some BMW tech... that's what Hyundai chose to call it!!) hosting trip meter, outside temperature, complete fuel consumption gauge and the very handy..... Clock!! (like to see that on bikes over here).
    6. The car also features in integrated Audio System with integrated Aux-in and iPod ports.

    7. The driver's seat is adjustable both vertically and horizontally.
    8. The Dash Board box (termed as the Glove Box in the car) is linked with the air conditioning system facilitating in keeping contents cool/warm as required.

    9. The car also features 6 Airbags - Dual front, Side and Curtain airbags. It also features ABS with EBD controlled brakes.
    10. To cater to those jolts in the daily drive - Hyundai has stuck to the MacPherson Strut front suspension and spring assisted Torsion Beam rear suspensions (again as in the i10).

The Engine

The Engine of the car came as a big surprise and disappointment to me. Hyundai chose to go with the 1.2L Kappa engine for the i20 too along with the existing range of the Hyundai i10 Kappa versions. The engine feels exactly same in Pull, Thrust and Torque as my i10 Kappa, owing to the same engine. Even the guys in Hyundai showroom were expecting at least a 1.3L car when they were given the pre-launch training.

  • Given the car's 1085kg kerb weight, the car definitely feels under power and sluggish when you pull the car in 2nd and 3rd gear.
  • The actual fun begins when reach close to the 4K rpm mark. The car maxes out at 8k.
  • One thing which I very specifically noticed that, you can't go below 40kmph while in 3rd gear as the car just denied to pull from a speed of around 35kmph and that's when you feel the under play of the engine in this beautiful car. But ya, except for the 1st gear, in every gear when pull the car close to 4k rpm, you just feel the car just got the required boost and it just zooms through.

I really seriously feel, that Hyundai should quickly act and add a couple hundred of CCs to the engine and also a diesel variant of the car, because the heavy chassis of the car is demands a diesel engine, else, there is a very high chance of this car getting pushed to the back stages after the initial Ho-Hum!!

Overall I found the Hyundai i20 a very intriguing car, very spacious, luxurious in all the Hyundai cars available till date and very wannabe, except for the highly under played engine, because as of now, the i10 is really watching the back of the i20, which shouldn't remain the case for long!!

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Item Reviewed: Hyundai i20 - Test Drive Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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