2018 Hyundai Elite i20 Review
The Hyundai Elite i20 is updated for 2018 with cosmetic changes and equipment upgrades and the model was launched at Auto Expo just a day before the prices were announced for the all-new Swift. Ever since its launch, the Elite i20 has been an extremely successful model for the South Korean company and was the best-selling premium hatchback in India till the Maruti Suzuki Baleno came in.
With product lifecycles of cars shortening quickly, it was time Hyundai gave the Elite i20 a makeover and that’s exactly what Hyundai has done. While most facelifts end up being a nip and tuck job, Hyundai has gone the extra mile to enhance the value offering. Whether these changes are going to be enough to maintain the Elite i20’s competitiveness and strengthen it further is what we found out the new Hyundai Elite i20 recently.
The key change in the exterior design of the car is the inclusion of the cascade grille, which was first introduced in the new Verna. Finished in gloss effect, the new i20 looks wider and slightly more upmarket than the previous model. The headlamps now feature LED DRLs (Daytime Running Lamps) and projector units. Positioning and cornering lamps not only are a new inclusion but they also add to the overall driving convenience and safety.
Changes at the rear are quite substantial and the most noticeable one is the new tailgate design. New tail lamps along with a dual-tone bumper accentuate the Elite i20’s attractive design and ensure that the car looks fresh among its competitors. On the side, notable changes include new 16-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, which complement the i20’s sharp and sporty styling. A blackened-out C-Pillar adds further to the design by giving a floating roof effect.
The Elite i20 gets a cascading grille with curved edges now while the front bumper gets a minor restyle. The fog lamps are a bit smaller in size while the Sportz and Asta trims get LED DRLs near the fog lamps. The Asta (O), however, gets DRLs inside the headlamp housing. The car comes with new 16-inch alloy wheels on the Asta (O) trim while the regular Asta gets 15-inch gunmetal alloys. The lower variants get steel rims.
The side profile doesn’t have any changes but at the rear, the tail-gate and bumper have been redesigned and the number plate is now placed on the tail-gate instead of the bumper. The tail lamps also get new graphics while the bumper gets a black insert.
Very few changes have been made to the cabin of the Elite i20. The dashboard remains the same but the design of the centre AC vents has changed. The touchscreen infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the touchscreen itself is very good to use and smooth in its operations.
The vehicle comes with 6 airbags on the top variant and it also gets ISOFIX child seat mounts at the rear. The seat fabric has been changed now while the rear seat also gets a segment-first centre armrest. There are no other changes to the interiors and space and comfort levels remain similar.
On the Road
For most part, the Hyundai Elite i20 facelift retains the driving mannerisms of the older car. Meaning, it is an easy to drive car and most people will like it, but if you’re an enthusiast then you won’t like this car. The steering is still fairly light but even on the highways at high speeds it doesn’t really offer good feedback and feels quite vague. It has been sharpened slightly but the changes aren’t significantly noticeable. The suspension is well-tuned for our roads but the rear suspension has been stiffened a bit and the bounciness of the car has reduced somewhat. The brakes remain as good as before and so do the 16-inch tyres.
Traditionally, handling hasn’t been a forte for Hyundai cars but the latest crop of cars have improved vastly and the Elite i20 is one of them. The car remains planted at highway speeds and goes around corners with confidence. A series of quick directional changes too are handled well by the chassis during spirited drives.
However, the Elite i20 isn’t a performance-oriented car and hence there’s some body-roll but it’s evident only when pushing really hard. Braking from a high speed is also good and the front disc and rear drum setup along with ABS and EBD bring the car to a quick and sure-footed halt. ABS intervention has been programmed smartly and the system doesn’t feel as intrusive as on some other cars but does its job well.
The Hyundai Elite i20 was already a very good car and with this iteration, Hyundai has tried their level best to improve the efficiency and driving dynamics of the car. Though the changes are minor, all of them combined make the i20 a better package than before.