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In a bid to pinch sales from Volkswagen’s Polo turbodiesel, Hyundai Automotive South Africa has launched the i20 1,4 CRDi.
The introduction of this entry-level turbodiesel comes as a welcome surprise, because currently Hyundai doesn’t offer locally a turbodiesel variant in any of its saloon or hatch derivatives. With the introduction of this 1,4 CRDi, a Hyundai representative confirmed that more turbodiesels might be introduced into some of the other ranges in the near future.
Delivering 66 kW at 4 000 r/min, the engine develops 220 N.m at 1 500 r/min. The claimed fuel consumption is 5,0 litres per 100 km with an official CO2 figure of 110 g/km.
Concentration is required when pulling away, as both my colleague and I stalled the car at the first attempt to drive off. Having said that, it is one of those characteristics that owners will quickly get used to. In urban driving conditions the engine is in its element – you can easily keep the six-speed ‘box in third gear and use the torque to accelerate rather than change to a lower gear.
That was also the case on the open road. Cruising at an indicated 120 km/h, you can overtake slower traffic – if you are fairly patient – by leaving the slick-shifting gearbox in sixth gear, or if you are really in a hurry, it’s best to shift down by a gear or two. Keep the revs between 2 500 and 3 500 r/min, and the engine will perform with a relative level of enthusiasm.
Part of our route comprised the Bainskloof Pass outside Wellington. This pass is known for its bumpy surface, but the i20 coped well with the irregularities, although perhaps not quite as well as a Volkswagen Polo or Ford Fiesta would.
In terms of safety features the i20 comes standard with six airbags, ABS brakes with EBD (electronic brake force distribution) and auto locking doors. Other standard comfort features include climate control, Bluetooth compatibility as well as an iPod and USB connection.
There is no doubt that the addition of a 1,4-litre turbodiesel to the i20 range should lure more buyers to the brand and range. Also keep in mind the not so small sweetener of a standard 3 year/60 000 km service plan (Ford offers a standard 4 year/60 000 km plan on the Fiesta, but Volkswagen will charge you more than R8 000 for a similar plan).