Hyundai i20 Active vs Toyota Etios Cross vs Volkswagen Cross Polo vs Fiat Avventura

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Hyundai i20 Active vs Toyota Etios Cross vs Volkswagen Cross Polo vs Fiat Avventura Spec Sheet Comparo

Take a look around and you will realise the off-road hatchback crossover segment or the ‘cross’ segment is not a very popular one. And yet, more and more car manufacturers are coming up with ‘cross’ versions of their hatchbacks. Maybe because it doesn’t require too much effort to transform a standard large hatch into a pseudo-SUV since all you need to do is slap some plastic cladding all around the car and maybe raise the ride height by a few inches. Of course there are exceptions, such as the Fiat Avventura which is a proper crossover.  Whatever the reason might be for the introduction of such variants it does make for an interesting buying option, offering something a bit different. The trouble, though, is the pricing which is almost as much as a proper compact SUV such as the EcoSport. So, there is no reason for someone wanting an SUV to opt for crossover and with the compact SUV segment set to grow at a rapid pace in the coming years these crossovers might find it tough to keep pace. Nevertheless, that segment has gotten a bit more competitive with the introduction of newer models, the latest one being the soon-to-be-launched Hyundai i20 Active. So how does it stack up against the competition? We find out in our Hyundai i20 Active vs Toyota Etios Cross vs Volkswagen Cross Polo vs Fiat Avventura spec sheet comparo.

Hyundai i20 Active vs Toyota Etios Cross vs Volkswagen Cross Polo vs Fiat Avventura
Hyundai i20 Active vs Toyota Etios Cross vs Volkswagen Cross Polo vs Fiat Avventura

[box type=”download” ]See Also – Hyundai i20 Active Crossover Launch Report[/box]

Design

Hyundai has put in slightly more effort into styling the i20 Active than some of its competitors. The grille has been turned upside down and features horizontal slats instead of a honeycomb mesh. The front bumper is new and gets black plastic cladding and a silver finish skid plate at the bottom as part of the SUV look. The fog lamps are now round and the headlamps get LED daytime running lights and projector units. Hyundai should offer this as an option on the standard car as well. The plastic cladding continues on to the side with silver accents at the bottom, a theme which can be seen all around the car on the rear bumper as well. The reflectors at the back are circular to match the fog lamps. Other additions include new rims, roof rails and a rear spoiler, all coming together to give the crossover look to the standard i20. It doesn’t look as good as the standard i20, which one of the best looking hatchbacks on sale in India, but it does the job well. Bigger tyres could have made it look better. The standard i20’s classy European interiors will be used, mostly unaltered which means one can expect the same high level of quality and fit and finish. It is the most spacious car in its class and offers a decent ride front and back.

The Toyota Etios Cross gets a more generous dose of matte black plastic cladding all round which is chunky and squarish giving the Liva a much needed dose of style. And all of this works very well, right from the bullbar-ish silver addition to the front, modified headlamps with the indicators moving to the fog lamp housing to the roof rails and silver alloys with black accents. The Etios Cross logo sprawled across the bootlid looks a bit much, but the design, in general, works very well. The interiors are the same as the standard Etios Liva, finished entirely in black with black piano finish inserts. They don’t feel as premium as the i20 and the asymmetric layout with the centrally located instrument is a bit of a turn off. Spacious and comfortable interiors let down but average build quality and lack of appeal.

The Volkswagen Cross Polo is probably the least styled of the lot. There’s plastic black cladding all around, but unlike the Etios Cross it has been kept to a minimum. The front and rear bumpers get faux skid plates finished in sliver with round fog lamps and slightly different reflectors. The grille is different than the standard car as it ditches the multiple horizontal slat design for much more sedate single slat finished in chrome. The Cross Polo gets chunkier rims, roof rails and external rear view mirrors finished in silver, which is a very neat touch. The interiors are now finished in all black with dull silver accents for the centre console, unlike the standard Polo‘s black-beige combo. Neat design with class leading levels of quality will impress you the most along with neat touches, such as the flat bottomed steering wheel. The only downside is the fact that it is not the most spacious car in this comparison and VW could have added bigger wheels like they have done with the European version.

The closest thing to a proper SUV here is the Fiat Avventura. It is so much more than just a beefed up Punto Evo as Fiat has actually put in a lot of effort into making this car. While the black plastic cladding is common between all four cars, there are quite a few touches which set it apart from rest. The rear mounted spare wheel is probably the most defining SUV-like feature here. The ground clearance has been raised to 205mm, which is as much as the Duster‘s, the size of the wheel arches has been increased to accommodate the bigger, chunkier rubber with distinct 16 inch alloys. The roof rails have been made from aluminium to decrease weight at the top and provide enough strength and functionality to mount cycles, skis, etc. The chrome used around the bumpers has been ditched in favour of a more rugged black and grey combo and faux skid plates have also been added to the front and rear bumpers. The theme continues on inside where the interiors have been finished in black and grey alcantara like material. Fiat has also added a few extra read-outs on top of the A/C vents such as the tilt-meter and digital compass to enhance the Avventura’s off-road cred. We wish the interiors were a tad more spacious but overall, there’s not much to complain about.

[box type=”success” ]The Fiat Avventura is the best looking car out of the lot as the standard gets a proper SUV treatment. The i20 comes in second while the Etios Cross and Cross Polo boasting of very elaborate make-up do a decent job of looking rugged.[/box]

Features

The feature list of top-spec i20 Active should be similar to that of the standard car which could easily make it the most feature rich of the four. USB, bluetooth, AUX compatible integrated audio system, keyless entry, engine start/stop, 6 airbags, rear A/C vents, parking sensors with rear camera, LED daytime running lights are some of the features you can expect on the top SX(O) trim of the i20 Active, which will adopt the Verna’s nomenclature instead of the i20’s. The Etios Cross is the least equipped of the lot and although, it gets the essentials like a stereo with bluetooth, USB and AUX support, dual airbags, ABS it doesn’t feel as premium as the rest of the cars and doesn’t offer anything extra. It also misses out on automatic climate control which is featured on the other three.

The Cross Polo is available only in the top-spec highline trim so you get all the key features such as, integrated audio system, steering mounted audio and phone controls, climate control, etc. No keyless entry or engine start/stop on offer. The Fiat Avventura’s top spec Emotion trim is also similarly equipped with the addition of rear A/C vents as well. Microsoft’s Blue&Me bluetooth control does not feature audio streaming from the phone and there is no engine start/stop or keyless entry either. However, it does feature extra off-road kit in the form of tilt-meter and digital compass and LED tail lamps, which are unique to the Avventura.

[box type=”success” ]The Hyundai i20 Active will boast of the most impressive equipment level when it is launched. The other three are all similarly equipped, but the Avvenutra offers unique off-roading features giving it the edge over the other two. The Cross Polo scores higher than the Etios Cross thanks to the latter’s lack of an automatic climate control and an audio system that looks like an afterthought.[/box]

Ride & Handling

The standard i20 doesn’t impress when it comes to handling as the soft suspension setup results in a fair bit of body roll. We fear the increased ride height of the i20 Active will only enhance the effect, unless Hyundai makes changes to the suspension setup. The soft setup ensures a comfortable ride in the city absorbing bumps and potholes, but not as effortlessly as the competition. The rest of the cars offer a very comfortable ride, absorbing most of the bumps and potholes with ease. The Cross Polo, however, suffers from a bit of body roll. The Fiat Avventura has the best ride and handling of the lot. Body roll due to the increased ride height has been kept in check with the help of an anti-roll bar added to the rear suspension and the hydraulic steering offers great feel of the road. The car does a decent job off-road as well, but the lack of a four wheel drive system means that it struggles in slushy, slippery mud.

The Avventura offers the best ride & handling
The Avventura offers the best ride & handling

[box type=”success” ]The Fiat Avventura is easily the best handling car of the lot thanks to its sorted suspension setup and a very good steering.[/box]

Hyundai i20 Active Video Review

[box type=”shadow” ]Hyundai i20 Active Review and Test Drive Report[/box]

Engine & Transmission

Petrol

Hyundai i20 Active

Toyota Etios Cross VW Cross Polo

Fiat Avventura

Displacement 1.2 litre 1.5 litre 1.2 litre 1.4 litre
Power 82bhp 88bhp 74bhp 89bhp
Torque 115Nm 132Nm 110Nm 115Nm
Efficiency* 18.6kmp 16.78kmpl 22.07kmpl 14.4kmpl
Transmission 5-speed manual 5-speed manual 5-speed manual 5-speed manual

The actual figures of the i20 Active might be slightly different at the time of launch. The VW Cross Polo gets the most fuel efficient engine by a huge margin. All vehicles get a 5-speed manual as the only option.

Diesel

Hyundai i20 Active Toyota Etios Cross VW Cross Polo Fiat Avventura
Displacement 1.4 litre 1.4 litre 1.5 litre 1.3 litre
Power 89bhp 67bhp 89bhp 93bhp
Torque 220Nm 170Nm 230Nm 197Nm
Efficiency* 22.54kmpl 23.59kmpl 19.91kmpl 20.5kmpl
Transmission 6-speed manual 5-speed manual 5-speed manual 5-speed manual

*claimed

The i20 Active might feature a slightly tweaked version of the 1.4 litre engine. It is the only car to get a 6-speed transmission and returns the highest mileage as well. The Etios Cross is the least powered of the lot while the Fiat Avventura features the most powerful motor.

2014 Toyota Etios Cross White Paint
The Etios Cross’ diesel engine is the most fuel efficient

[box type=”success” ]The Polo’s engines perform slightly better than the rest. We’ll have to wait and see how exactly the tweaks made to the i20’s engines affect the car[/box]

Price

The Hyundai i20 Active is expected to command a premium of around INR 50,000-60,000 over the similarly specced i20 which seems like a justifiable amount keeping in mind the modifications made the car. At INR 7.72 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) the Etios Cross costs around a lakh more than the similarly specced Etios Liva which is a bit hard to justify and is rather steep. The VW Cross Polo 1.5 diesel at INR 8.38 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) costs roughly 40,000 more than the Polo diesel Highline trim, which is a slightly more justifiable premium to pay for the car compared to the Etios Cross. The Fiat Avventura costs between INR 6.44-8.49 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) which is still roughly a lakh more than the Punto Evo, but is justified considering all the changes Fiat has made to the standard car.

[box type=”success” ]The i20 Active will be an expensive buy considering the high pricing of the top spec trims of the i20. Though, the Etios Cross might be the cheapest on paper, it is the Avventura which offers the most value for money.[/box]

Verdict

The i20 Active looks like a promising product and if priced right, could well be a successful one as well. Since the Indian version will be closely related to the European version, at least we hope so, the car should be a bit more than a hatchback with plastic cladding. However, it will probably be an expensive buy which marks it down a little. The Etios Cross might look way better than the Liva, but it just doesn’t feel as premium as the rest and it is hard to justify the price difference. The Cross Polo makes for an interesting alternative to the regular Polo, but since it is offered only in the Highline trim it is expensive and we wish VW would have given us the European version of the Cross Polo instead. The Fiat Avventura is a well engineered, well rounded package that is actually a proper crossover and can actually take the fight to the likes of the Ford Ecosport.

[box type=”success” ]The Fiat Avventura will be our pick thanks to attractive styling, beautiful interiors, tried and tested engine and the fact that it comes the closest to being a proper SUV.[/box]

Fiat Avventura
The Fiat Avventura is our pick

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What do you think about our Hyundai i20 Active vs Toyota Etios Cross vs Volkswagen Cross Polo vs Fiat Avventura comparo? Which one would you pick? Express your views in the comments section below

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi,
    Today I got an opportunity to have a look at I20 active.

    The interiors was done beautiful.

    Back seats were comfortable.

    Boot space is little reduced.

    Styling is nice.

    Overall I love this car.

    My first car was I20 Asta.

    I would like to have I20 active.

    Thanks

    Srinivasan C

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