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Hyundai ix20 1.4 Active

Click to view picture gallery“Value for money in the purchase
  price and running costs, a high
  level of specification, versatile
  accommodation and a certain
  amount of ‘style’ are the key
  elements for selling new models
...”


WHO SAID THAT? Matt Baker, Hyundai's product manager, that's who, at the media launch of the new ix20 range — their compact new MPV.

Of course he could have added the appeal for this brand also includes their five-year unlimited mileage warranty, five years' RAC cover and five-year vehicle health check scheme — all elements that generally do away with costly uncertainties of owning and running a family car.

The sales success of Hyundai models in the UK has been phenomenal, growing from 28,000 sales in 2008 to over 60,000 this year and up to 65,000 next year.

Hyundai are aiming the ix20 five-seater, five-door, 4.1-metre supermini-sized MPV with load carrying capabilities of 440 to 1,486 litres at cost-conscious young families who need a safe (five-star Euro NCAP rated), versatile vehicle with low running costs — and that includes low CO2 emissions and competitive insurance group ratings.

But these days all sectors of the buying public are attracted to value-for-money, do-it-all cars. Interestingly at the press launch, which started at the busy Gunwharf Quays shopping centre in Portsmouth, the assembled new models attracted a lot of attention; a lot from much older couples who were attracted by the ix20's exterior styling, the command position seating, the load carrying space and the price.

The performance
is lively and responsive
if revved hard
with a top speed of
104mph and zero to
62mph taking 12.9 seconds.
Emissions are 130g/km
so road tax is 0
in the first year and then
90 per annum
...”
The European-designed and built-in-the-Czech Republic ix20 will have a starting price of 11,595 rising to 15,095 for the range-topping Style models.

The ix20 is built on the same platform and uses more or less the same drivetrain as the Kia Venga MPV so similar prices will apply although Hyundai say their specification is higher and CO2 emissions and running costs lower.

There are three engine options: 1.4-litre, 89bhp petrol with a five-speed manual gearbox; 1.6-litre, 123bhp petrol but only with an auto transmission; and a 1.4-litre, 89bhp turbodiesel with a six-speed manual 'box.

There are Classic, Active and Style trim and equipment levels with Active being the most popular. A 1.4-litre (petrol) Active model — the likely best-selling version — will cost 12,695.

Classic version specification includes electronic control stability, air conditioning, electrically-operated front windows, height-adjustable driver's seat, six airbags, and stereo sound system with six speakers and split/folding rear seats. Additions for the best-selling Active version include electric rear windows, electrically-operated heated door mirrors a higher grade trim, 16-inch alloy wheels and, importantly, rear reversing sensors. Style model gains include a tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof, privacy glass and fog lights.

Unfortunately at the press launch production constraints meant that test cars were restricted to 1.4-litre turbodiesel models. But Hyundai did have a left-hand drive 1.4 petrol car hidden away which I squeezed a very brief drive with.

This would be my choice if I wasn't regularly doing high mileages. The performance is lively and responsive if revved hard with a top speed of 104mph and zero to 62mph taking 12.9 seconds. Emissions are 130g/km so road tax is 0 in the first year and then 90 per annum. Fuel consumption is officially 50.4mpg but around 33mpg was recorded driving on the Isle of Wight's twisty and busy roads.

On the mainland’s
better roads the ix20
was relatively sharp
handling and
comfortable although
road and wind
noise intrusion was
obvious
...”
However there was more open road driving to be had with the 1.4-litre turbodiesel versions, mainly with the best-selling Active specification, on the open and fast roads on the UK mainland around Hampshire before we were shipped as walk-on passengers via hovercraft to the Isle of Wight for more diesel model driving using the narrow roads and bumpy winding lanes of the Island.

On the mainland's better roads the ix20 was relatively sharp handling and comfortable although road and wind noise intrusion was obvious. On the island, large potholes unsettled the car's stability and although the suspension and handling has been 'tuned' for the UK's poor road surfaces, the final solution has clearly yet to be found.

The diesel engine is lively and potentially good for fuel economy with an official 65.7mpg for the Combined Cycle — 41.5mpg on test. Emissions are a low, and best in market sector, 117g/km which costs the owner nothing for first year road tax and thereafter a lowly 30 per annum.

With a price of £14,095 for 'higher mileage' younger and business users, the turbodiesel with Active spec is worth considering. The best buy for older, lower mileage users will be the 1.4 petrol Active version at 12,695.

Reasons to buy include good looks, very well equipped, roomy, low running costs and a good family transport package. While prices are yet to be finalised, there are a few demerits, namely that while the ride comfort is okay the suspension control needs more fine-tuning and only partly impresses. — David Miles

Hyundai ix20 1.4 Active | £12,695
Maximum speed: 104mph | 0-62mph: 12.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 33mpg
Power: 89bhp | Torque: 101lb ft | CO2 130g/km