The new Hyundai i20 Active is the latest car to have stepped into the fast expanding pseudo-crossover segment of our car market. Kick-started some years ago by the now defunct Skoda Fabia Scout, this segment today comprises of cars like the Volkswagen Cross Polo, Toyota Etios Cross and the Punto-based Fiat Avventura. Now, with the advent of the i20 Active, things are bound to pretty much heat up in this section of our car market. Basically, the Hyundai i20 Active, akin to other models in its segment, is a hatchback that tries really hard to portray itself as a rugged vehicle that can be subjected to at least as much abuse as the more conventional crossovers out there. Team Car Blog India is in Goa and has just come back from driving the newest offering from the Indian subsidiary of the popular Korean car maker. Check out our Hyundai i20 Active review here for all that you need to know about the beefier version of Elite i20.
[box type=”shadow” ]Also See- Hyundai i20 Active Launch Details[/box]
As the gazillion Hyundai i20 Active spy pics that dot the cyber space have already revealed, the new Hyundai i20 Active sports a handful of styling tweaks to look unlike its donor car. In the crossover guise, the latest generation i20 comes with chunky looking round foglamps that replace the Elite i20’s sharper looking trapezoidal units. These foglamps, other than bestowing the i20 Active’s front-end with a touch of ruggedness, also feature cornering lamps. Other than this, the i20 Active also boasts of a new bumper that features an inverted air-dam. The headlamps on the i20 Active carry projector units and LED Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs). Rounding off the updates at the front-end are the plastic cladding for the lower end of the bumper and a faux skid plate.
When seen in side profile, first to catch your attention are the new design alloy wheels and the plastic cladding at the low-end of the body. Also new are the roof-rails and satin finish for the fuel-filler lid. The car’s rear-end sports a faux skid plate and round reflectors on the bumper.
We feel that Hyundai has done a pretty good job with infusing some traditional crossover elements with the i20’s sharp and rather suave design. The new Hyundai i20 Active looks sufficiently rugged, without losing any of the sleek, modern character of its hatchback sibling.
As expected, not much has changed on the inside. The cabin remains largely similar to the one on the Elite i20, but comes with enough styling tweaks to look a wee bit more premium, and we daresay, a bit sportier too. The i20 Active’s cabin boasts of a black interior that can be ordered with blue or orange highlights to spice up the things. The blue/orange highlights successfully infuse some sportiness with the cabin’s otherwise conventional design. Adding to the sporty character are the sports pedals, which are exclusive to the crossover variant of the new i20. Other than a few styling tweaks, the Active i20’s cabin is much like that of the Elite i20, which isn’t really a bad thing, especially if you consider that there’s enough space for five, and also for the luggage that they would carry for a weekend trip to the nearby tourist attraction.
Hyundai India has always made it a point to offer class-leading features in its cars and the i20 Active too comes liberally equipped. Much like its hatchback sibling, the new model comes with some thoughtful features such as a cooled glove compartment, , tilt and telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel, parking sensors with camera that us sensitive to the steering inputs, electric folding for the ORVMs, start-stop button and a premium audio system with internal storage for files. There’s also a thoughtful safety feature, which ignores any accelerator input while the brakes are being applied.
Engine and Gearbox
As expected, the engines have been carried over from the Elite i20. Also, unlike what the rumours suggested, power and torque figures remain unchanged and at least on paper, the Active i20 isn’t any more powerful than its hatchback sibling. In real world, however, the i20 Active comes across as a sprightlier performer, which is courtesy of reworked gear ratios that lead to better torque distribution in the low- and mid-end of the rev range. If official figures from Hyundai are to be believed, the petrol variant of the i20 Active enjoys a 6% performance advantage over its hatchback sibling. The diesel variant is even mightier, with a 12% improvement in performance over its hatchback counterpart. Talking about specs, the i20 Active’s 1.2-litre, four-cylinder, normally aspirated petrol engine pumps out a maximum power of 83 PS and a peak torque of 114 Nm. The motor comes mated with a smooth shifting five-speed manual transmission and has a claimed fuel economy of 17.19 km/l. The diesel variant gets the Elite i20’s 1.4-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged diesel motor that has a maximum power and torque figures of 90 PS and 220 Nm respectively. This engine comes mated with a six-speed manual gearbox that offers precise playing between the gears. The diesel engine variant boasts of a claimed fuel mileage of 21.19kmpl.
Ride, Handling and Braking
Unlike the Volkswagen Cross Polo and the Toyota Etios Cross, which have the same suspension settings as their hatchback counterparts, the Hyundai i20 Active becomes the second model in this segment, after the Fiat Avventura, to get increased ground clearance and updated suspension settings.
The Hyundai i20 Active enjoys 190 mm of ground clearance, which puts it at par with most of the crossovers out there. Compared to the Elite i20 hatchback, the new model gets 20 mm of additional ground clearance. Thanks to a significant increase in the ground clearance, the i20 Active can tackle even the nastiest of speed-humps and undulations without a fear of scrapping its underbelly. We took the i20 Active off the tar, and onto some of the unpaved, ‘soft roads’ of Goa and the car felt absolutely at home on the less beaten terrain.
Much like its hatchback sibling, the i20 Active offers a good ride quality. It soaks in most of the minor undulations that our roads are famous for with an ease and only the biggest of the craters threaten to unsettle this car. The i20 Active feels planted even at triple digit speeds, which is quite a surprise on considering the increment in ground clearance. Even when corner carving, the i20 Active holds on to its line pretty well and manages to impress us with decent grip levels and a well-maintained composure. The top-end variant of the i20 Active gets 16-inch mag wheels that come shod with 195-section rubber. Also, unlike what we expected, the increased clearance hasn’t led to higher levels of body roll and the i20 Active, yet again, manages to impress us. The steering is light at city speeds and while it does weigh up a bit as speeds rise, there’s only little that it offers in terms of feedback. That said, the i20 Active is still some of the among the better handling Hyundai models that we’ve known of. Braking performance is strong and the brakes are sufficiently potent to haul down this car from high speeds, without as much as breaking a sweat.
The new Hyundai i20 Active is an interesting little car that has a lot going for it. For starters, it benefits from all the core values of its hatchback sibling, which is saying a lot, especially when you consider that the latest generation of Hyundai’s popular supermini has been busy penning a success story for Hyundai India. Additionally, the styling tweaks, coupled with an updated suspension, go a long way with bestowing the i20 Active with a touch of ruggedness that is sure to have a sufficiently wide appeal. A set of potent motors, contemporary styling, good road handling manners and a long list of features – the Hyundai i20 Active seems to have all the right boxes ticked.
Stay tuned to Car Blog India for more such test drive reports. Also, what do you feel about our Hyundai i20 Active review? Do let us know by penning down your thoughts in the comments section below.