Hyundai i20 Active (2011) review: Hyundai i20 Active (2011)

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Solid, logical cabin. Standard Bluetooth, USB.

The Bad None of the visual drama of the i45 and ix35. Uneven power assistance for the steering.

The Bottom Line The i20 doesn't have the visual flair of its ix35 and i45 siblings, but it is a solid, decently equipped and sensible small hatchback. That you don't have to pay extra for Bluetooth and a USB port is nice.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.2 Overall


It may be one of the newer additions to Hyundai Australia's range, but the i20 actually pre-dates a few of the other models. As such, it doesn't bear the company's dramatic "fluidic design" styling that we have seen and admired on the ix35 wagon and i45 sedan. While it mightn't be as extroverted as those cars, the i20 bears a neat, if unremarkable, shape.

The base model Active can be had as either a three- and five-door hatchback; the higher-spec grades come only as a five-door hatch. You'll need to lift items over the slightly high boot lip to make use of the car's 295-litre trunk. The rear seats split and fold, so you can sacrifice passenger capacity for yet more stuff. Under the boot floor lives a full-size spare wheel and tyre.

Standard on the Active are 15-inch steel wheels, with the Elite and Premium enjoying 15- and 16-inch alloy wheels, respectively. Those higher spec models also gain front fog lights.


Like the exterior, the interior is functional and professional. The dashboard is logically laid out and although it's made of hard plastic, it feels durable and of a good quality.

However, there are a few bum points that Hyundai should fix post haste. Firstly, the chrome on and around the automatic gear shifter catches and reflects sunlight with a distracting regularity. And then there's the blue backlighting for the switches, which when set near maximum is as eye searing as a Blu-ray laser.

There's a decent amount of space for this class vehicle, with decent head and shoulder room at the back. The front seats are moderately grippy and finding a good driving position shouldn't be problematic, as the steering wheel adjusts for both angle and reach.

Around the cabin there's a number of nooks and crannies to store various bits and bobs, and the glovebox is chilled when the air conditioning is on.


For an entry-level car, the i20 features a decent number of gadgets and features. All windows feature electric operation, as do the wing mirrors, which, interestingly for a car in this class, also features an electric folding mechanism. Air conditioning is standard across the i20 range, with the range-topping Premium gaining climate control.

Safety gear for all i20s includes anti-lock brakes, seatbelt pretensioners, stability and traction control, and driver and front passenger airbags. It's a shame that only the more expensive Elite and Premium models have side airbags for those riding up front, as well as curtain airbags for all passengers.

Keyless entry, alarm and immobiliser, and automatic door locking are also standard on the Active. The mid-range Elite gains leather on the steering wheel and gear knob, a trip computer with fuel economy stats, a luggage net in the boot and a bag hook on the back of the front passenger's seat.

Go all out for the Premium and you'll also get to enjoy reading lights up front, and leather seats with red piping. Front and rear parking sensors are available for all i20s as a dealer fit accessory. Cruise control, a reversing camera, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers can't be had, no matter the price.

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