In the Metal
If you've ever seen the Kia Venga then you have an idea of how the new ix20 looks. While it is more just than a rebadging exerceise you can tell that it is essentially the same car underneath the Hyundai styling cues.
Arguably and perhaps unusually, Hyundai has done a better job than Kia has with the Venga because the ix20 looks better proportioned and the lights and grille are more handsome than those used on the Venga. This is a car that will compete with the likes of the excellent new Opel Meriva.
The Hyundai has a high roof and generous cabin space, with a sliding rear bench seat to provide more legroom or luggage space depending which is required. The quality of the plastics in the cabin is really good, and although final specification for Ireland has yet to be announced we do know that it will have a leather trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, giving the car a quality feel.
We drove two versions of the ix20 in Croatia, one petrol model with 126h and the 1.4-litre 90hp diesel, which is the only engine coming to Ireland. It boasts emissions of 119g/km and fuel economy of 4.5 l/100km, which is pretty impressive. We were pleasantly surprised by how good the chassis is in this car, with pretty decent steering too (for this sort of car). With so much glass area there is really decent visibility all-round and we know from extended time in the Kia Venga that the ix20 will be particularly good around town.
The diesel engine isn't particularly quiet, but the torque on offer makes it a better choice than even the highest output petrol model on offer in other markets. The ix20 is a really likeable small car and it will suit a wide range of buyers: it's good for young families, while older buyers will love it because it's easy to get in and out of.
What you get for the Money
The Irish specification has not been set in stone, but we do know that the car with get manual air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel mounted audio and telephone controls, body coloured bumpers, leather steering wheel and gear knob and 16-inch alloy wheels as standard. A five-year, unlimited mileage warranty will also come with this car, along with five years' roadside assistance and a five-year free vehicle health check. Hyundai expects the car to cost less than €19,000.
Hyundai's 'ix' range denotes models that are versatile so will include SUV and MPV models, while the 'i' names are for more mainstream, core models. The next 'i' model will be the i40, which will be a large family car that arrives in 2011.
Yes the Hyundai ix20 is very, very similar to the Kia Venga, but that is a good thing and for us, the ix20 is a better-looking car. We will see what the exact price is before we make a call on whether it is a better buy than the Kia, which has a seven-year warranty, compared to five years for this car. But we like the ix20 and you are getting plenty for what we know will be less than €19,000.