Hyundai Elite i20 Long Term Report
Our long term Elite i20 has not only spent time in the city but also taken to the highway

Hyundai Elite i20 Long Term Review

Long Term Test No. 76

Car Tested: Hyundai Elite i20 1.4 CRDI Asta
Kms Done: 5024 kms
Test Started at: 6797 kms
Test Concluded at: 11821 kms
Mileage: 15.76 km/l, 19.13 km/l (best), 13.08 km/l (worst)
Fuel Consumed: 319 litres
Fuel Cost: Rs. 17533/-
Rs. per km: Rs. 3.49/-

The Hyundai Elite i20 not only looks premium, it also offers oodles of practicality and comfort

After our last report, when my colleague handed me the keys of the Hyundai Elite i20, he seemingly parted with it with reluctance. If you have read his last report, you would know why. The Elite had been a perfect companion for him for his rigorous city commutes and now I had taken over to put this Hyundai through some more challenging bits of both the city and highway. We have cumulatively driven the second generation Hyundai i20 for more than 5000 kms in its long term stint with us and here is what we think about this premium Korean hatch.

The second iteration of the fluidic design grows on you with time

The i20 has always been an expensive car (compared to the competition) and has still managed to sell in very good numbers. By the time Hyundai had launched the Elite i20, the brand already had a strong fan following with price not being a deterrent. The mere size of this hatch gives you a big car feel. Personally, I am not a sucker for sedans and I rather do with a hatch which fulfill my criteria of space, performance and ride, a meticulous balance of the three being most ideal. When it comes to design, I will admit that I was not a fan when I first saw the car at the global unveil last year. The fluidic design V2 looked understated and took away the curves, the reason which made the fluidic sculpture so popular. However, the new design language grows on you with time and looks mature and elegant. I know a few people, who have been so impressed with the i20’s design, that they have actually sold their sedan and opted for the i20, the premium looks being the primary reason.

Large proportions make the Elite look quite big by hatchback standards

Though we had a maroon colour car, in our opinion the Elite i20 looks best in white with the tail lamps giving a good contrast to the white colour. In our car, the tail lamps blend too well with the colour. Before I switched to the i20, I was driving a German hatch and the first thing which really sets things apart from the competition is the interior space which is quite generous (not considering the Maruti Baleno and Honda Jazz). The main point here being good interior space yet compact hatch dimensions making it a city friendly car.

The interiors are well put together with tons of practical features

As with all Hyundai cars, there are loads of features on board. Rear AC is now pretty much standard in the newer Hyundais, starting from the Grand i10 onwards and is pretty useful in cooling the car quickly. There is 1 GB storage in the audio unit where I could conveniently store my son’s nursery rhymes saving me the trouble of carrying pen drives and CDs. There are some unique features as well. The steering centre reminder will pop up on the MID if the the wheels are not pointing straight once you start the car. The door lock button is conveniently placed in the centre and can be used by the front passenger easily. Even if any of the doors are unlocked, a light on the button would blink indicating to the driver, quite a neat touch.

The diamond cut alloy wheels add a sporty touch to the profile

The seats are quite supportive and even long drives were taken well by both the driver and passengers. The rear bench is quite wide enabling three average sized adults to sit comfortably. Even with the child seat mounted, there was enough space for two adults. Hyundai quality is top notch with great fit and finish. Even with over 11,000 kms on the odometer, the Elite was holding up well with no rattles or squeaks from any part of the car. Boot space too is good by hatchback standards. Our frequent trips to the airport with tons of luggage surprised everyone with this car’s capacity.

The 90 HP motor is powerful and gives the i20 good pulling power

The Elite i20’s biggest leap over the previous gen has come in handling

The 90 HP oil burner is a gem and scores extremely well in performance with exceptional NVH levels. Our drag race with the new 1.5-litre Volkswagen Polo is testimony to the fact. The performance of the CRDI mill coupled with the gear ratios gave the Elite the edge over the Polo, which was a surprise for us as we expected the Polo to easily come out on top. 220 Nm of twisting force feels apt for quick sprints. Even when fully loaded, power was never an issue. The 6-speed gearbox is well matched with this diesel motor, the gearing suiting all types of situations. Drive with a light foot and the Elite i20 will return good fuel economy, floor the pedal to the metal and you will get some nice punch from the engine.

As with most Hyundai cars, ride quality is pliant on most surfaces

The first gear tops out at a little above 40 km/hr while the second goes to 72 km/hr. Stop-go traffic is best dealt with second gear and the butter smooth gearshift only makes it easier. On the other end ,the sixth gear is tall enabling the i20 to stretch its legs on the open roads without consuming too much fuel. You really have to give it to Hyundai for this gearbox, it is the smoothest one in the entire segment thus far. The clutch is extremely light and we had it relatively easy when we were stuck in one of the worst traffic jams on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. A routine journey takes about 2 hours to hit Pune from Navi Mumbai and vice-versa, this time it took us close to 8 hours. The stop go traffic in the ghats was a pain but the light clutch made it a lot easier.

Handling has vastly improved but is far from being engaging

As with most Hyundai cars, the ride quality is pliant and there is nothing to complain on this front. There has been a vast improvement over the previous generation model. The Elite is much sorted and not bouncy at all. Even when fully loaded, it tackles bad roads well. Handling is much better too. The biggest apprehension people had when the Elite was launched was with respect to handling. The dynamics are still not in the league of the competition but things are pretty predictable to say the least. The Elite feels quite stable at high speeds and with the terrific NVH levels, you can barely make out the speeds you are doing. The brakes bite well and even on hard braking, the i20 stops without any drama.

The smooth gearbox and light clutch make it quite easy to drive

Hyundai Elite i20 Service Costs

1. Service Schedule – 10,000 kms and 12 months (whichever is earlier)
2. Cost of Service Per 1,00,000 kms – Rs. 55,008/- (D)
3. Cost of Spares –
* Engine Oil Per Service – Rs. 1569/- (D)
* Brake Oil – Rs. 264/- (D)
* Oil Filter – Rs. 451/- (D)
* Fuel Filter – Rs. 2016/- (D)
* Brake Pads (Front and Rear) – Rs. 1553/-
* Front Bumper (without painting) – Rs. 1288/-
* Rear Bumper (without painting) – Rs. 1735/-
* Headlamp Assembly (Each) – Rs. 3665/-
* Tail Lamp Assembly (Each) – Rs. 1964/-

Above parts prices are for Delhi and labour includes service tax at 14.5%. Diesel denoted by (D). After Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai has the largest sales and service network in the country with good quality of service as rated by most owners.

The Elite i20 offers good stability and feels quite planted at speed

The Elite i20 has brought a lot to the table in the large size hatchback space. It is practical with sedan like interior dimensions yet the hatch body-style makes it easy to manoeuvre and park in tight spots. What we really loved was the punchy nature of the diesel motor and the convenience this Hyundai offers with its bells and whistles. With the handling improved in this new generation model, it’s quite comfortable on the highway as well. The Elite i20 continues be the choice for those looking for a large practical car which is capable in both city and highway roles.

The Hyundai Elite i20 has truly evolved into being an all-rounder. It delivers well on the space and practicality front with respectable performance from the engine. The biggest talking point is the improved driving dynamics over the previous generation. It remains to be the car of choice for those who want a hatch with the space of a sedan.

The i20 in truly Elite company; played support car for many shoots

What’s Cool

* Good build quality with a lot of premium touches
* Smooth shifting gearbox and light clutch
* Best in class NVH levels
* Practical features like rear AC, reversing camera smart key
* Ride quality and interior space
* Punchy diesel motor
* Predictable handling by Hyundai standards

What’s Not So Cool

* No speed sensitive auto door lock
* No distance to empty on MID
* Steering doesn’t weigh up

The i20 is among the best hatchbacks in India and thus the top-selling Hyundai car

Testers’ Note:

“As soon as you get into the Elite i20, you instantly realise the premium tag is justified by the quality interiors and cabin comfort. This Hyundai is easy to drive in the city and as long as you are ambling around town at low speeds, there is no signs of the lacklustre steering feedback. The diesel i20 does have enough punch for the highway and feels stable at speed but the steering is quite vague. The Elite turns out to be an excellent city car that also does well to cater to weekends.” – Faisal Khan, Editor, MotorBeam.
“The Elite i20 has changed the perception of hatchbacks. Indians love sedans but this is one hatch which has impressed most people. I loved the Elite i20 for its easy to drive nature and punchy diesel motor. Even after giving it the beans, it returns good fuel efficiency. It fulfils my criteria of space, performance, safety and would definitely be in my consideration list if I need to buy a hatchback. This may be wishful thinking but if only Hyundai could get the i20 in a diesel automatic version, I am sure it would be even more popular than it already is!” – Dr. Javeid Khan, Deputy Editor, MotorBeam.

Picture Editing: Sri Manikanta Achanta

Further Reading

Hyundai Elite i20 Long Term Review – Initial Report
Hyundai Elite i20 Review
Hyundai Elite i20 vs Hyundai i20 Active
Hyundai Elite i20 vs Honda Jazz
Hyundai Elite i20 vs Maruti Swift vs Volkswagen Polo vs Fiat Punto Evo