Hyundai i20 Active Long Term Review
The Hyundai i20 Active is a feature loaded car which boosts the practicality of a hatchback
The dynamics of the Indian automotive market has changed drastically with the SUV body-type garnering more attention from potential buyers. This craze has led to opening of a few new segments, one of them being that of the pseudo-crossover. This segment attracts those buyers who want the muscle of an SUV with the practicality of a hatchback. There aren’t many out there and of the few which are, the Hyundai i20 Active is one of the top contenders in this segment. Having moved up into the Active from the Elite i20, I find both cars similar yet different. After using the Active for daily duties, let’s find out how it’s fairing as our daily drive!
The Elite i20 is a big hatchback and dimensions with the Active are pretty much the same. We love the bold SUV elements, the faux skid plates, roof rails, black cladding which really render it some SUV DNA. Though, very similar to the Elite, the Active looks more tough and imposing. The interiors are a comfortable place to be in. Since our car is silver in colour, it gets the aqua blue treatment inside. We honestly prefer the tangerine orange theme which is seen in the darker body colours. All light body colours come with aqua blue theme, which looks too flashy in our opinion.
What really cuts the cheese for the Hyundai i20 Active is some top of the line features. The projector headlamps not only add a lot of show but are pretty effective at night. Then there are the turn with steering lights and for those who love to flaunt the DRLs on their car, Hyundai has offered them standard on the Active (the Elite i20 gets it in the MY 2016 car). Besides this, all the other features of the Elite have been carried over and they offer a lot of convenience and practicality to the entire package. The interior space is quite good by hatchback standards and seating three adults at the rear is comfortable. Although thigh support is lacking for tall passengers, the seats offer good cushioning. Even long drives didn’t have anyone complaining.
Performance is strong with the slick gearbox and light clutch making is easy to navigate through dense traffic
Our drive has been in both city and highway scenarios with an occasional countryside run. The CRDI oilburner produces 90 PS and 220 Nm which is more than adequate for all situations. We specifically liked the linear performance this engine offers. The icing on the cake is a light clutch and butter smooth gearbox which makes it quite stress free through the peak hour traffic. As compared to the Elite i20, the Active offers a better low-end torque delivery and it’s evident when you get behind the wheel. The 6-speed transmission works well in both city and highway conditions with a tall sixth gear enabling the Active to munch the miles with ease.
The high speed stability is quite good and the steering feels more responsive (compared to the Elite i20) with better feedback on offer. Hyundai has drastically stepped up when it comes to handling and the Active has a more stiffer suspension setup than its hatchback sibling. A drive around the twisties gives you good confidence to push the pedal harder but still the handling isn’t the best we have seen. Handling has never really been Hyundai’s strong point but the Active has matured and evolved in this department. Even the higher ground clearance hasn’t compromised on the handling much. Even when the car is fully loaded (including boot), the ride quality is pretty good.
Fuel efficiency is something which depends on many parameters, predominantly the driving cycle. Our drive has been through a routine city driving cycle which includes a mixture of both city and highway. The Active has been returning a fuel economy of around 15 km/l. The economy has risen to about 16.5 km/l when highway use has been more significant than the city. We will be putting up more detailed fuel efficiency figures in our next report. The fuel tank has a good range of about 650-700 kms. This is a good thing as it reduces your visits to the fuel pump.
The Hyundai i20 Active makes a bold statement for those who want some SUV flare but also take practicality on priority. The compact dimensions make it easy to drive around and park in the city while not compromising on interior space. It fares well on most fronts including space, performance and features. It even marginally betters its sibling, the Elite i20 when it comes to handling and steering feel. The higher ground clearance is a boon for those undulated roads. So far it has been logging in the kms effortlessly at the MotorBeam garage and if you are one of those who are looking to buy a pseudo-crossover, the i20 Active is easily the pick of the segment.
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