Drive easy

K SHIVRAJ
Saturday, 21 July 2018

A friendly city car, the Hyundai i20 CVT Auto flaunts subtle changes to the exterior and interior, and is best driven in a relaxed manner

The i20 had a facelift early this year. Now, Hyundai has introduced a CVT version of the car. The CVT auto transmission is mated to a 1.2-litre petrol engine since Hyundai has discontinued the 1.4-litre petrol engine post facelift, which on the earlier model was paired with a four-speed torque converter-based auto transmission. An interesting thing about the CVT box of the new i20 is its availability on the Magna Executive and Asta trim levels. The top-spec Asta (O) does not get it. With ABS, daytime running lights, reverse camera and parking sensors, auto climate control and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, the i20 CVT Auto is priced at Rs 7.05 lakh approximately for the Magna Executive, and Rs 8.15 lakh approximately for the Asta.
 
Subtle tweaks 

In terms of appearance, the new car flaunts subtle changes to the exterior and interior. If the head lamps are equipped with daytime running lights, the car features redesigned fog lamps. They are a part of the tweaked front bumper. Walk over and there is absolutely no change to the side profile of the car. At the rear, the bumper has been redesigned and the tail lamps too have been tweaked. Inside, except for some of the features mentioned, and the CVT Auto shifter, there’s no change to talk about. Like the earlier model, the latest i20 offers the same amount of space and seating arrangement. Both the front and rear seats offer good amount of support, and are comfortable. The materials used are of good quality, and the level of fit and finish is on par with other cars in its category. 

City driving is pleasant 

Turn the key and the engine settles down to a smooth idle. It is barely audible, indicating that the insulation levels are good. From standstill, the car moves off with good verve. The 85bhp engine provides a good amount of power. Delivery through the CVT auto-box through to the front wheels is smooth. The change in gear is barely noticeable. The combination of a smooth gearbox and a refined engine makes for a pleasant drive. City driving is quite enjoyable, but that is until one does not get tempted and floors the throttle. If part throttle inputs make for a pleasant drive, aggressive driving has the engine revving up and getting noisy. The amount of action at the engine however does seem to get transferred to the wheels through the gearbox as the rubber band effect, typical of a CVT, cuts in. It is quite prominent. To be precise, the rise in engine power does not get translated into vehicle speed. 

Feels light at speeds

Overtaking manoeuvres have to be planned in advance. The manual mode comes handy. It helps to leverage the engine’s strong mid-range pull. There’s not much power available at the top. It does not help much therefore even if driving in the manual mode. All that is felt is the engine getting noisy. Displaying a good ability to absorb surface irregularities and bumps at low speeds, the i20 is set towards soft. The ride is largely silent with very few shocks filtering into the cabin. Sans excessive pitching or bobbing, the i20 feels light at speeds. A bit of a vertical movement shows up, and the car does not feel as planted as it should. The steering too is light and not as engaging as one would expect. 

Verdict

Though the two CVT Auto variants miss out on some of the features of the top-spec Asta (O), they cannot be described as low on kit. They are quite well appointed and undercut the competition even if with a small margin. Making for a friendly city car to drive with good smoothness and refinement, the i20 CVT Auto is best driven in a relaxed manner. For those who are keen to indulge in aggressive driving, the manual transmission version is the best bet, especially on the highway.

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