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by Tim Beissmann

The upgraded 2012 Hyundai i20 is now on sale in Australia, bringing refreshed styling, added safety and a new standard six-speed manual transmission to the Korean city car.

The model line-up remains the same, with the entry-level i20 Active available in three- and five-door form and the higher-spec i20 Elite as a five-door only. Prices have increased $100 across the board, meaning the 2012 line-up ranges from $15,590 to $19,590.

The new exterior styling gives the updated i20 hatch a more confident, sophisticated appearance, drawing inspiration from Hyundai’s ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language with a fresh interpretation of the signature hexagonal grille.

The reshaped bonnet and front bumper embrace redesigned horizontal headlights and sleek fog lights, while a new rear bumper and revised tail-lights update the view from the rear. The side indicators have been relocated to the wing mirrors while the alloys/wheel covers have also been redesigned.

Inside, the 2012 Hyundai i20 benefits from new seat material and piano black inserts on centre console. A trip computer and one-touch triple-blink turn indicators are also now standard.

The i20 retains the old model’s audio system, which features AUX and USB ports for iPod connectivity as well as Bluetooth telephone connectivity with audio streaming.

As before, the i20 Active comes standard with a manual air conditioner, tilt and reach adjustable steering wheel, chilled glove box and 60:40 split folding rear seats. It now comes with 14-inch steel wheels – down from 15s – which Hyundai says improve the ride quality.

For $1000, the i20 Elite adds 15-inch alloys, front fog lamps, leather-wrapped gear knob and steering wheel with audio controls, two additional speakers, a front passenger bag hook and a luggage net.

Under the bonnet of the updated model sits the same 1.4-litre petrol engine producing 74kW of power at 5500rpm and 136Nm of torque at 4200rpm.

Replacing the old five-speed manual transmission, the new six-speed gearbox improves fuel efficiency by 12 per cent, reducing the i20’s combined cycle fuel consumption to 5.3 litres per 100km. The $2000 four-speed automatic transmission option carries over unchanged.

The new i20’s suspension has been tuned specifically for Australia, with thousands of kilometres of testing and calibration work conducted on local roads to improve the car’s ride.

The new Vehicle Stability Management system, which integrates the i20’s power steering with its electronic stability control and traction control systems to enhance directional stability, adds to the five-star ANCAP-rated safety package that already includes six airbags (dual front, side and curtains).

Sales of the Hyundai i20 have increased 82 per cent so far this year following the discontinuation of the popular Getz from the line-up late last year. The i20 currently holds an 8.5 per cent share of the light segment, trailing the Toyota Yaris, Mazda2, Holden Barina and the Suzuki Swift.

2012 Hyundai i20 manufacturer’s list prices:

  • Active three-door manual – $15,590
  • Active three-door automatic – $17,590
  • Active five-door manual – $16,590
  • Active five-door automatic – $18,590
  • Elite five-door manual – $17,590
  • Elite five-door automatic – $19,590



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