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Hyundai i20 Active three-door 2013 review: snapshot

Hyundai i20 Active: surprisingly zippy, at least with one person aboard.

We turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering -- would you buy one?

What is it?

Our test car has the honour of being the cheapest car that Hyundai's currently makes and sells in this country. That's not necessarily a bad thing if you don't have much money to spend. I always get i20 and Accent confused but Accent is actually larger and more expensive.

How much?

Prices start at $15,590 or you can have the five-door for another grand. That buys you a basic car with five-star safety, hubcaps/steel wheels, manual airconditioning, power windows and a Bluetooth equipped audio system.

What are competitors?

Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta, Holden Barina, Honda Jazz, Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Micra, Suzuki Swift, Toyota Yaris  to name a few (it's suddenly getting crowded down there in tiddlerville).

What's under the bonnet?

Before the Accent arrived on the scene it scored the 1.6. Now it just gets the old school, multipoint injected 1.4-litre four with 73.5kW/136Nm paired with either a 6-speed manual or optional 4-speed auto.

How does it go?

Surprisingly zippy, at least with one person aboard. None of the nasty throttle overrun that you usuallyt get with small engines either.

Is it economical?

Manual 5.3/auto 5.9 litres/100km. The tendency is to thrash it however and this impacts on economy (we were getting 6.5 litres/100km).

Is it green?

Gets 5 stars from the Govt's Green Vehicle Guide, just like the Prius with emissions of 126g/km CO2.

Is it safe?

Gets a full complement of safety systems including six airbags and electronic stability and traction control.

Is it comfortable?

Hmmm? Unless you get the seat in just the right position, a ridge at the base of the seat tends to stick into your butt (it did for me anyway).

What's it like to drive?

Acceptable within limits. If you start to push it you'll find the tyres/wheels are the limiting factor, with plenty of early tyre squeal.

Is it value for money?

We miss cruise and steering wheel audio controls but that's about it. The audio/communications package includes Bluetooth telephone and media streaming, CD player, MP3, WMA and AM/FM tuner. The auxiliary audio and USB inputs allow full iPod connectivity and connection to other external audio sources.

Would we buy one?

You could do a lot worse than this car. It looks good, has a five-star safety rating, Bluetooth connectivity and a trip computer  all of which make it an attractive proposition.

Pricing guides

Based on 156 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

Active 1.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $5,300 – 8,140 2013 Hyundai I20 2013 Active Pricing and Specs
Elite 1.4L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $5,800 – 9,020 2013 Hyundai I20 2013 Elite Pricing and Specs