The premium hatchback segment is seeing fresh launches since the past few weeks. First up, the Volkswagen Polo facelift got launched, followed by the Fiat Punto Evo. Now, Hyundai has launched the Elite i20 which is the second generation of the i20 hatchback that was introduced in India way back in 2009. The i20 was the first ever premium hatchback to be accepted by buyers. The Honda Jazz too had great potential but optimistic pricing by Honda killed the product.
So, just like always, we at MotorBeam have come up with a quick comparo of the Hyundai Elite i20 with its closest rivals, i.e. Maruti Swift, Volkswagen Polo and Fiat Punto Evo.
The previous generation i20 carried an European styling philosophy which looked very good. It was then given the ‘fluidic’ treatment by Hyundai in its mid-life facelift. The second generation i20 comes with a very funky design. It will grab eyeballs wherever it goes but we cannot deny the fact that the styling may not be to everyone’s favour. According to us, the first ever i20 was the one that looked the best. Compared to the i20, the Swift looks very neutral. There is hardly any attractiveness in the design of the Swift now. The vehicle is so common that you just don’t give it a second look. The Polo, however has a the best and the most classiest design out here. You cannot go wrong with a car that comes with clean and beautiful lines. The Punto too comes with a funky design that largely appeals to the youth. Hence, buy the i20 or Punto if you are a fan of funky designs or get the Polo if you prefer something elegant. The Swift is such that it will please most and hurt none.
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Moving to the interiors, the i20 comes with the most equipment. It is loaded to the gills and even the middle variant comes with a rear AC vent which is a very good move by Hyundai. The i20 gets good quality materials used on the inside. The Polo, however is a notch better and the Punto follows very closely. Maruti can do much better in terms of interior part quality and fit and finish when compared to VW and Hyundai. Here, the Polo and Punto get the best build quality as the doors shut with a reassuring thud.
Manufacturers in India are known to skimp freely on safety features. In this segment, usually only top variants get ABS and airbags. We are really impressed by Volkswagen who provides dual airbags as standard on each and every variant of the Polo. The i20 Sportz variant gets a driver-side airbag while the Asta variant gets dual airbags. The earlier i20 came with six airbags on the Asta (O) variant but unfortunately that variant is discontinued now. The Swift and Punto also get dual airbags only on the top most variants.
All the four hatchbacks compared here come with 1.2-litre petrol engines. It is only the Punto that also gets an option of a more powerful 1.4-litre unit. The i20’s Kappa unit produces similar power to the Swift’s K12 engine. The Swift, however brings a bigger smile to your face while driving. The Polo gets a 3-cylinder engine which is not as refined as rivals. It also provides a poor driving experience and it is also the least powerful. The Punto’s 1.2-litre engine is grossly underpowered for this segment and we feel only the 1.4-litre engine should be considered if buyers really want to enjoy the car. Even the 1.4-litre FIRE engine lacks a punch due to the heavy weight of the car.
The diesel Hyundai Elite i20 gets a 1.4-litre U2 CRDI engine and the Polo gets a 1.5-litre TDI unit. The Swift and Punto share the 1.3-litre Multijet engine which is available in two states of tune. The Swift only gets the lower tune (75 PS) while the Punto gets both the tunes (75 PS and 90 PS). All cars here come with a 5-speed manual transmission and only the i20 diesel gets a 6-speed box.
With regards to pricing, the i20 Elite is the most expensive product here. But then again, it also comes with the most equipment, unlike the Swift which is half a lakh cheaper but comes as a bare-bones vehicle when compared against the Hyundai. When we compare top variants, the Swift is significantly cheaper while the Polo is also priced at a value-for-money level. For diesel too, the i20 Elite is the most expensive while the Swift again is the cheapest.
Hyundai i20 Elite vs Maruti Swift vs Volkswagen Polo vs Fiat Punto Evo – Petrol Price Comparison
Hyundai i20 Elite vs Maruti Swift vs Volkswagen Polo vs Fiat Punto Evo – Diesel Price Comparison