ix20 1.4 CRDi Classic
tide is about to turn: the latest
generation of mini-multis
is so much
more appealing that buyers are going
to be hard-pressed to resist them
starting with Hyundais new ix20...
WHY DON'T WE BUY MORE MINI-SIZED MPVS? It's genuinely baffling.
Sales of MPVs of all types have taken a battering in recent times, especially
mid-size MPVs like the Renault Scenic and VW Touran.
Traditionally, motorists have also shunned their multi-purpose baby sisters
cars like the Renault Modus, Nissan Note and Vauxhall Meriva have never
really caught on. For whatever reason, buyers have stuck with regular-shaped
superminis rather than their tall-roof, sliding-seat, practical derivatives.
I think I can safely make a prediction that the tide is about to turn. The latest
generation of mini-multis is so much more appealing that buyers are going to
be hard-pressed to resist them. Long gone are munty old shoeboxes like the Fiat
Idea. In their place are excellent newcomers with genuine appeal, such as the
Citroen C3 Picasso, Fiat Qubo and 'suicide-door' Vauxhall Meriva.
now the Hyundai ix20. It's based on the Korean car maker's i20 supermini but
it's far more practical. It's longer than the i20 but shorter than Hyundai's
i30 mid-size hatchback, yet the ix20 boasts a massive 1,486 litres of luggage
space (surprisingly, the bigger i30 has less a mere 1,250 litres).
ix20's rear hatch opens wide and tall to access the load space, although there's
quite a high lip to load items over, but the boot floor is removable to give
you the option of two floor levels.
get plenty of kit
on the ix20. The entry-
level version comes
with air conditioning,
electric front windows,
Stop & Go technology,
ESP electronic stability
and six airbags...
The higher level makes it sit flush with the tailgate aperture and creates a
flat floor front-to-back when you fold the 60:40 split/fold rear seats (commendably
a very easy, one-touch operation). The lower level allows you to easily stow
The tall roof-line translates to tons of headroom for both front and rear passengers.
And the very long wheelbase also offers lots of legroom for those travelling
in the rear. Even with the sliding rear seats pushed forwards, you still have
plenty of space for your pegs; and the boot space in the back is then even more
Like most new generation MPVs, and in contrast to the functional, boxy lines
of some older designs, the ix20 has engaging styling. Hyundai calls it 'fluidic
sculpture' which is possibly over-egging the pudding, but the ix20 is not a
bad-looking thing. Thank Hyundai's German design centre for that it's
been created specifically to appeal to European tastes.
The Active trim level version features a very strange front grille indeed, which
Hyundai describes as 'asymmetric eco' a kind of leaf pattern look. Wouldn't
it be great if Hyundai had actually grown these grilles in hydroponic farms
in Seoul? Sadly they're actually made from plastic. Not terribly eco.
The interior is pleasant enough, with firmly supportive seats, bright trim highlights
and clear instruments. The quality of the main dashboard plastic is nothing
to write home about, but then you don't buy a Hyundai to write to your relatives
about. You buy it because it's cheap, well equipped and practical.
Speaking of equipment, you actually get plenty of kit on the ix20. The entry-level
Classic version (starting at £11,595) comes with air conditioning, electric
front windows, CD/iPod system, Stop & Go technology for better fuel economy,
ESP electronic stability and six airbags (Hyundai expects a five-star safety
rating for the ix20 when EuroNCAP gets round to testing it).
models (£1,100 more) are likely to be the most popular, adding alloy wheels,
electric mirrors, reversing sensors, Bluetooth, electric rear windows and audio
controls for the leather-trimmed steering wheel. The range-topping Style (a
£1,000 walk up) also has a panoramic glass opening sunroof, front fog lights
and electric folding door mirrors.
ride quality is
genuinely superb, and
you wont feel that youve
been short-changed in
the handling department
You couldn't call the ix20 exciting to drive but it is impressively comfortable.
Hyundai tried out all sorts of suspension settings specifically for UK roads
and has come up with near-perfect settings to soak up some of the ropiest tarmac
we have to suffer.
The ride quality is genuinely superb, and you won't feel that you've been short-changed
in the handling department either: it's safe, secure and predictable, if just
a little boring.
The 1.4 CRDi diesel engine is willing enough, although it won't win any awards
for refinement. The cold start-up rattle never goes away and becomes quite wearing
on long journeys. That said, the diesel is very economical indeed: 65.7mpg is
But when the 1.4 petrol engine has the same power (90bhp), better acceleration
and comes in at £1,400 cheaper, you can forgive it its shortfall in fuel economy
(50.4mpg). You'd have to drive over 70,000 miles to make back the diesel's difference
in price at the pumps it just doesn't make sense. That'll probably take
you all of the five years that Hyundai offers as its excellent standard warranty.
The Czech-made ix20 is on sale now, priced from £11,595 for the 1.4 petrol Classic,
and from £12,995 for the 1.4 CRDi diesel. To sum up: the ix20 is good value,
pleasantly styled, comfortable, practical, well equipped and has a five-year
warranty. It may not set your life on fire but on the other hand, you won't
ever have to make excuses for it. Chris Rees
Hyundai ix20 1.4 CRDi Classic | £12,995
Maximum speed: 104mph | 0-62mph: 14.5 seconds | Overall MPG: 65.7mpg
Power: 90bhp | Torque: 162lb ft | CO2 114g/km