Hyundai i20 Active Facelift First Drive


Do you like the concept of Cross hatchbacks? because quite honestly I do not. If you ask me why I can give you many and the list goes like this; how is it different from a regular hatchback upon which they are actually based on, these Cross hatchbacks are compared with SUV’s and just by adding some side cladding, rugged looking bumpers and changing some interior features or adding some new colors to make it look different from their standard hatchback avatar does really change the purpose or nature of the car without actually re-engineering it? Check On Road Price of Hyundai cars in Carzprice

When all the other Cross hatchbacks failed to create an impression in the Indian market like the Toyota Cross or the Volkswagen Cross Polo, Hyundai actually tried their best and launched the i20 Active in the Indian market which actually is based on their newly launched Elite i20 premium hatchback. Now Hyundai claims that this car is targeted towards the Active owners of India who wants something more out or their regular life or wants to live the ‘Active life’ and the new Cross hatchback surely looks adventurous or purposefully made to look like so.The i20 Active surely looks different than the standard hatchback and the addition of lot of new elements has actually made it appear rugged but just like the other Cross hatches available in the Indian market the i20 Active too shares the same engines with the hatchback Elite i20.


Exterior appeal counts far more than anything else in this segment. Hyundai has done a good job to transform the Elite i20 into a muscular and sportier SUV lookalike. The front and rear get faux skid plates along with a two tone bumper design. Hyundai has given a tusk bar on the front bumper for that SUV look. Black cladding runs along the sides while the rear bumper gets round reflectors. The most significant addition to the i20 Active are the projector headlamps with automatic function along with LED DRLs. When Hyundai had omitted these on the Elite i20, we had a pretty good guess where this was going. The i20 Active gets SUV styled large round fog lamps (rectangular in the Elite i20) with cornering function. Get Ex Showroom Price of Hyundai I20 Active in Carzprice

The side profile makes obvious the increased ground clearance. Hyundai has raised the ride height by 20 mm, so the Active version has a ground clearance of 190 mm against 170 mm seen on the Elite. Also seen are roof rails which add a lot of substance to the design. The muscular wheel arches look good but the 16-inch diamond cut alloys (new design) don’t seem to fill them up completely. Hyundai has also given the C-pillar a glossy finish as opposed to the matte one on the Elite i20. Even the fuel filler lid gets a silver finish. The Korean manufacturer has also added a new brown colour to the i20 Active lineup.


The interiors of the i20 aren’t much different from the Elite i20. The quality of the materials used is first-rate and this is the best in its segment, I will rate it higher than the Verna too. The orange and black interiors look trendy, however my personal pick might have been red and black. There is sufficient space on the inside considering legroom and head room in the first row and there is sufficient knee-room in the second row too. The thigh support in the second row could have been better. The second row seats could have had more recline for better comfort. To increase the convenience and faster cooling of the cabin, there is a rear AC vent too. Even the size of the boot is sufficient for long trips, I think the boot should have opened like an SUV, the swinging one than a hatch-style.

In terms of features, Hyundai has always loaded its cars with maximum brownies. The i20 Active gets an in-built music system with steering mounted audio controls, with Bluetooth connectivity, aux and USB connections too from the S variant. The top-of-the-line variant also gets 1 GB of internal storage for music, though I do not understand why does one need only 1 GB. The Bluetooth connectivity has audio streaming. The new generation steering wheel does look good and so are the twin-dials, which can be read easily. There is a driver information system that has trip details, but it misses out on distance to empty and mileage, which generally comes very handy in information system


The outright performance is not too different from the standard car; not surprising since the engine outputs remain exactly the same. Hyundai says it has reworked the gearing in the i20 Active – both the petrol and the diesel versions – for better bottom end responses; six percent better in the petrol and 11 percent in the diesel, the company claims (with a minor dip in fuel economy). The 1.4-litre CRDi motor with 89bhp is still smooth, very refined and loves to rev in a manner most unlike a diesel engine. The light, six-speed manual gearbox can be left in a higher gear at lower-than-average revs, and the car will move forward with little hesitation. It’s still a pretty strong performer too, and as for the improved responses, it does feel a touch more urgent than before, but we’ll have to put it up against our timing gear to tell you just how much. The bump in low end responses are even less apparent in the petrol, but this still remains one of the peppier units amongst the 1.2-litre naturally aspirated units in India. Check for low interest car loans on Hyundai I20 Active

Hyundai says it didn’t want to raise the suspension to more than 190mm because it didn’t want to compromise on the car’s styling, and because it wanted to keep the dynamics intact. The handling, as before, is agreeable and pretty good by Hyundai’s previous standards, but the very light and inconsistently weighted steering stop it from being a very engaging car to drive. It has to be said, however, that though there is some body roll, it is impressively contained for a car that rides higher than before.The ride, correspondingly, seems a little better than before. It still elicits a thunk over bumps and the suspension sounds a bit clunky too, but it does seem to have a slightly softer edge now at lower speeds. Again, the difference is so subtle, that it would take a back-to-back drive with an i20 hatchback to confirm how true this is.


If you have driven the Elite i20 before, you’ll immediately notice that the i20 Active has a stiffer suspension setup. As the ground clearance is raised, the i20 Active is given stiffer springs to control the body movement. This works fantastically as Hyundai has got this setup just right. The car remains well under control at high speed or while taking a sharp turn and there’s negligible body roll. The car also does not lose composure over bumps, though they can be felt in the cabin. After having driven the Active, I feel even the Elite i20 should be given a similar setup as it makes the drive so much more engaging. Overall, the suspension setup seems to be slightly more focused towards keeping the car stable rather than on outright comfort, which according to me is the ideal setup for an urban car in the Indian scenario.

The steering wheel is light for city use but does leave you wanting for feel as the speed goes up. In the city, the lightness allows for quick and easy U-turns without causing fatigue. Even at high speeds, it never feels unsafe but the feedback, though enough, but it could have been better. Brakes of the i20 Active also shy of progressive feedback but nonetheless, are quick to stop the car and inspire confidence even under emergency braking. The ABS lets you press the pedal hard without having to worry about spinning out of control.


At the front, disc brakes are equipped, which work in sync with the drum brakes fitted at the rear. Standard safety fitments include central locking for doors and tailgate, smart pedal, escort function for head lights, keyless entry with foldable key, immobilizer, and dual horn. Safety equipment available in the mid- and high-end trims comprise driver airbag, anti-lock-braking system, front fog lights, impact-sensing auto door unlock, electrochromic inside rear-view mirror and rear defogger. Features such as co-passenger airbag, automatic head lights, clutch lock and keyless entry via smart key are incorporated in the range-topping trim.


Hyundai has got it right with the i20 Active, no doubt. It is a good looking car – the best in its class, to be honest. It is loaded to the gills and because it is based on the Elite i20, a properly successful car (unlike its competitors), the Active will continue to be a hassle free car to own be it engines, service or overall durability. The Hyundai i20 Active then has the potential to rise to the top in the ‘cross’ race, no doubt…and we feel it will.


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