2009 Hyundai i20 Preview

  • All-new subcompact on sale in Europe by end of 2008
  • Replaces Getz in Hyundai's European lineup
  • Designed in Russelsheim, Germany, at Hyundai's European design studio
  • Hyundai hasn't said if U.S. buyers will get a version of the i20
  • i20 blue concept gets diesel engine, other super-economy features


To be introduced at the Paris Motor Show in October, the i20 supplements Hyundai's growing lineup of models in Europe and elsewhere that get the "i" prefix. That portfolio now includes the i10 city car; the i30 (the in the United States) and the i55 sport utility vehicle, which also will be unveiled in Paris. This 5-door hatchback qualifies as a subcompact, but it gets a longer wheelbase than the Getz. It's an all-new platform. The i20 will compete against cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and Opel Corsa. A 3-door version is expected to arrive sometime in 2009.


The i20 design is "chic," Hyundai says. That look includes a contoured hood, a chrome-accented grille complete with the Hyundai "H'', and huge, teardrop-shaped headlamps. Bumpers, door sills and the wing mirror are color-coordinated. It has a larger, fancier interior than the Getz, and achieves better fuel economy, Hyundai says. The i20 "was built on an entirely new platform, and much of the ride and handling development took place on European roads," according to Kun Hee Ahn, president of Hyundai Motor Europe.


In releasing early details about the car, Hyundai didn't identify its engine but said it would get a 5-speed transmission. Some suggest it will come with 1.2- and 1.4-liter petrol engines. The i20 blue show car carries a 1.4-liter CRDi turbo-diesel engine and a 6-speed manual transmission, so expect to see a diesel under the i20's hood. Performance numbers issued by Hyundai suggest the i20 blue makes 90 PS and 220 Nm of torque (89 hp and 162 lb.-ft.). Energy-efficient modifications to the i20 blue, which is based on the new i20, include a cover that runs beneath the entire car; ground clearance that is 15 millimeters lower than the regular i20; smoother front and rear styling; low-rolling-resistance tires; and low-friction oil. The result is a car that emits just 99 g/km of CO2 and gets 4.0 liters per 100 kilometers. (That's about 57 mpg.)