Review: Hyundai i20 (2009 – 2015)

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Easy to drive and refined. Very well built. Five-year warranty as standard. Neat and tidy styling. Decent room in the back seat. Good economy from entry-level 1.2-litre.

Lacks character. Base models feel a little sparse and cheap inside. Seats lack long-distance comfort.

Hyundai i20 (2009 – 2015): At A Glance

The Hyundai i20 is the replacement for the dated Getz and it's a huge improvement in both quality and design. So much so in fact, the Hyundai i20 is a genuine rival to more established small hatchbacks like the Toyota Yaris and Vauxhall Corsa.

It majors on value for money with competitive prices and generous standard equipment levels. The i20 also comes with a five-year warranty as standard, backing up the feeling it has of a very well built and durable car. But this hasn't been at the expense of comfort or interior quality.

Inside it's neatly laid out with a comfortable cabin, intuitive controls and a classy steering wheel design. True, some of the cheaper models can feel a little sparse inside (with rather less appealing plastics used) but they still share the same robust feel. Refinement is impressive too and on the move there's little engine or road noise, so motorway cruising is pleasantly stress free.

Thanks to neat steering and well set-up suspension, the Hyundai i20 is good to drive, striking an impressive balance between handling and ride comfort. This is backed up by a small but strong choice of engines, with one CRDI diesel and two petrols available.

It's actually the entry-level 1.2-litre petrol that is the best choice. It's urgent and revs freely, making it ideal for nipping in and out of city streets plus it's more than happy at motorway speeds. Best of all, it is capable of 54.3mpg and works well with the positive five-speed gearbox.

Hyundai i20 1.2 Comfort 2009 Road Test and Video

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What does a Hyundai i20 (2009 – 2015) cost?

List Price from £14,380
Buy new from £12,398
Contract hire from £163.50 per month

Hyundai i20 (2009 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?

Length 3940–3995 mm
Width 1710 mm
Height 1490 mm
Wheelbase 2525 mm

Full specifications

The Hyundai i20 is Fiesta-sized, but much more commodious. You sit slightly more upright, there's more head and legroom and five people could comfortably travel some distance in the car. Though they'd probably need the 1.4 petrol or diesel engine to haul them up motorway inclines. You're handed a decent amount of kit for your outlay. No skimping on things like air con just to get a lower emissions rating.

You get driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags, passenger airbag off switch, electric front windows, radio/CD player with Aux in socket, height and reach adjustable steering wheel, active head restraints, height adjustable drivers seat, ABS with EBD, tinted glass, rear wash/wipe, ISOFIX rear outer child seat tethers, and emote central locking with a folding key with even the basest of versions. Plus a 5 year unlimited mileage warranty. Soon they'll all also come with standard ESP.

That's not bad for £8645 5-door, 5-seater hatchback. And part of the reason why CAP has predicted a high 47 per cent of list residual value after three years and 30,000 miles, five percentage points more than an equivalent Fiesta and 12 percentage points more than a Polo or a Corsa. So it's almost an investment.

Child seats that fit a Hyundai i20 (2009 – 2015)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Hyundai i20 (2009 – 2015) like to drive?

The steering is centre weighted, robbing it of some feel on the straight ahead but helping it to track straight through several centimetres of water. The height adjustable driver's seat is hard, but comfortable on a challenging run. The power characteristics help you keep precisely to a speed on the clear, unwavering and very accurate speedometer. The trip recorder is easy to understand on the fly. The radio works fine. The wipers wipe.

So after what could very easily have been the journey from hell I actually arrived at the appropriately named Poole with a smile on my face.

Over the subsequent week I clocked up another 300 miles in more pleasant driving conditions. My average economy dropped a bit as I turned up the wick, to a low of 46. I put another £20 in the tank, yet still ended up returning the car with more fuel than it had come with. So no complaints there. And further proof that the 55mpg I thought I averaged in the smaller i10 with the same excellent 82kg, all alloy 1,248cc chain-cam Kappa engine was probably accurate.

The steering and handling aren't fun like the Mazda 2 or the Suzuki Swift, and not as close to perfection as the latest Fiesta. You don't get a buzz out of driving this car. But it does cling on safely way past any demands a normal driver is likely to inflict on it. It's better than a Corsa, a Polo or a standard model Clio.

Would I buy one? No. The smaller i10 with the 1.2 Kappa engine does all I want from a car. But, without wanting to sound patronising, anyone with kids and on a tight budget will find it hard to do better than an i20. It's not just good value with an excellent five year unlimited mileage warranty. It's a good car.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.1 CRDi 74–88 mpg 15.7 s 84–99 g/km
1.2 55–58 mpg 12.7–12.9 s 114–119 g/km
1.4 51–54 mpg 11.6 s 122–129 g/km
1.4 Automatic 47–49 mpg 12.9 s 135–140 g/km
1.4 CRDi 66–67 mpg 13.5–16.0 s 110–111 g/km
1.4 CRDi Blue 76 mpg 13.5 s 98 g/km
1.4 CRDi Blue Drive 76 mpg 13.5 s 96 g/km

Real MPG average for a Hyundai i20 (2009 – 2015)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

32–80 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Hyundai i20 (2009 – 2015)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

How easy is it to retrofit electric wing mirrors?

I have a 14-plate Hyundai i20 and would like to know if I can install electric mirrors instead of the manual ones. There is a space on the door for the wires.
It's possible, but you would require a considerable level technical knowledge to do this. A Haynes manual might assist with the wiring diagram, you will also need the wiring loom, plastic covers and controllers. Might be best to speak to an independent Hyundai specialist. You should be able to find one with our Good Garage Guide:
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star 17%
  • 4 star 50%
  • 3 star 17%
  • 2 star
  • 1 star 17%

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