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by Matt Campbell

The European version of the Hyundai i20 Active compact crossover has been unveiled ahead of its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show.

The higher-riding version of the new-generation European i20 hatch will launch on the Continent from early 2016, with Hyundai claiming it offers “a distinctive design and increased versatility for customers with adventurous lifestyles”.

The car’s revised suspension has been raised by 20mm and the seating position has also been lifted to give the driver (and occupants) better outward vision.

Hyundai i20 Active (2)

Styling changes include bash-plates under the front and rear bumpers, while the typical plastic cladding on the wheel arches add to the faux-wheel-drive look.

And faux it is, with the i20 being offered exclusively as a front-drive model, with the option of two different power outputs available from a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine.

It’s likely the high-output version of this engine is the same as that seen in the Kia Cee’d in Europe (which produces 90kW and 172Nm), while the lower-spec engine is expected to have about 75kW and 150Nm.

Hyundai i20 Active (4)

CarAdvice has contacted Hyundai Australia to get an idea of the potential of the model being sold here.

However, the South Korean brand has made it clear that European-sourced models are hard to justify given the costs – indeed, the company won’t sell the regular European i20 hatch for that very reason.

The company has also ruled out the Hyundai Creta small SUV in what is the fastest-growing segment of the market. Hyundai therefore could be without a competitor to the likes of the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 for some time.