P.Tharyan; Photography: Mohd. Nasir
The first thought
that comes to your mind when you see a Hyundai i20 Active is, “Hey, I have seen
many like that in India”. Yes, the i20 Active may look like an ordinary
crossover, but get a closer look and you get bowled over by its sporty design. It’s
competing in a market where the likes of the Volkswagen Cross Polo, the Toyota Etios
Cross and the Fiat Avventura have already landed. These are built on the already existing
hatchbacks existing in each of the company’s stable. At Hyundai too it’s as
though the story continues. But then Hyundai does not like the word crossover
and refuses to call it one. It’s coined a different name for it, a ‘Sport
Styled Vehicle’ or SSV for short. So it’s not a crossover and neither is it an
SUV. We had got to understand the vehicle and in Goa, the best one can do is
drive through its narrow roads to hit a large patch of beach and try your best
to take it as close to the sea waters as possible. At the end of the day, it’s
a sporty vehicle, and we wanted to have some fun with it.
i20 Active comes with both a petrol as well as a diesel engine option. The
petrol engine is the refined 1.2 litre Kappa engine—1.2 Dual VTVT mated to a
five-speed gear box. The diesel engine is the 1.4 litre U2 CRDi mated to a
six-speed gear box. We had a diesel car for a test drive.
Mind you, the
i20 Active does not have a four-wheel drive or huge Hankook tyres that can sail
over sand and unruly terrains. But still, this one’s an i20 that’s had an
entire crate of Red Bull! It does feel strong and also drives as though it has
wings. We put the car to test when we took it to a beach in Goa’s Verna
location. But before that, let me briefly tell you what makes this car
different from an ordinary Hyundai i20 hatch.
Active has a high ground clearance, around 190mm. In order to give it its smart
looks it has a tailgate spoiler, a smart uniquely designed fuel cap, hi-tech 3-step
LED rear lamp, DRL projector headlamps with cornering lamps and 16 inches
diamond cut alloy wheels. The front and rear looks are enhanced by a two tone
bumper, with a tusk bar and skid plates. The C pillar is black and glossy. Then
there are roof rails and body side claddings. With all these add-ons, the car
looks very different from its i20 hatchback cousin.
Active interiors are unique in every way. The car comes in either a Tangerine
Orange coloured interior or an Aqua Blue coloured interior. The colour reflects
in a subtle way on the dash and the front seats. Loads of convenience features
come with the i20 Active. It has an auto folding outside rear view mirror, and
it has a push start/stop button. Loads of infotainment comes in the form of
2DIN Bluetooth audio with 1 GB internal memory, 8 speakers and a fully automatic
climate control with cluster ionizer. Not to miss are the sporty aluminium pedals. Then
there are several other features that come in the i20 Active that comes from
the existing i20 available in the market, like steering wheel mounted controls,
lots of storage spaces for bottles and cups, cool glove box, tilt and telescopic steering,
driver seat height adjustment, etc. As for the design, it remains fluidic and
Since it is
not an SUV or a 4-wheel wonder, yet it has a sporty look with a 190mm ground
clearance. We were tempted to cross over to the shores, cutting across loose
sand. It was tricky. If the car were to get stuck, it would be virtually
impossible to yank it out of the sand without calling for help from a tow van. Good
driving experience combined with a powerful engine to boot can do wonders. Before
I could blink, I had cleared the sandy patch to get near to the damp shores. We
spent at least an hour driving on the shore line full blast and cornering at
high speeds. The car behaved so well, and without a fuss, it waltzed on the
Goan sun was beating down on us mercilessly, we could not resist driving with the
air-conditioner on and off, just to test the engine power. The handling was perfect
and the car behaved amazingly well in those tight corners. The suspension had
been tweaked perfectly to handle all kinds of twists and turns. There was
enough torque at even low RPMs. Power too was ample at higher gears. The car
may not be an SUV, but it definitely proved to be a butch hatch. This car will
definitely appeal to the young at heart, for those wanting to tell the world
that they are restless and are ready for action.
2nd generation U2 CRDi
strut/ Coupled torsion beam axle
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