Next Hyundai i20 has 'Sensuous Sportiness'

Hyundai will unveil the next-generation i20 at the upcoming Geneva Show and the firm has released a pair of imaginative design sketches to whet our appetites. It’s touted to be the first hatchback to incorporate the Hyundai's new “Sensuous Sportiness” design language…

The current i20 compact hatchback is a perennial sales success for Hyundai South Africa but, by virtue of being in the twilight of its product cycle, it's one of the Korean brand’s most conservative offerings, well, at least compared with its newer models. Owing to the fact that we get the Indian-market version in South Africa, instead of the European model, the derivatives in Mzansi are more moderately equipped to cater specifically for the value-for-money/mid-spec light hatchback market.

Should you expect more of the same? While these design sketches do seem fanciful and overblown compared with what we’ll find in showrooms when the newcomer arrives on our shores, but they suggest that the next i20 won’t just be a modernised version of what we have now; it will showcase the brand's “Sensuous Sportiness” design language, which combines “proportion, architecture, styling and technology” to “bring instinctive beauty to Hyundai(s)" by "creating emotional value and (producing) a distinctive look”.

From the front, the dominant design cue of the all-new i20 is ostensibly a cascading grille and (markedly) upwardly-contoured bonnet, while the swept-back headlamp clusters and bold character lines on the flanks emphasize the car’s sporty proportions and hunkered stance. The second image highlights a rear aspect dominated by ornate C-pillar garnishes and LED tail lamps with Z-shaped lighting elements, which are, in turn, linked by a pronounced lip midway up the tailgate. It's a tantalising prospect...

The newcomer’s interior is left up to the imagination… Hyundai claims the dashboard features “horizontal blades” that “emphasise the width of the fascia and disguises the air vents”. Keeping with the trend of increasingly-digital interiors, the instrument cluster and infotainment screen “have been combined” and comprise two 10.25-inch screens.

Earlier this week, we published spy photographs of a pre-production i20 undergoing winter testing. The current version is powered by either a 1.2- or 1.4-litre naturally aspirated engine, but we wouldn't be surprised if the 88 kW/172 Nm 1.0-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder motor from the Venue and Kona made an appearance in the new i20. If so, it would mark two firsts for the Hyundai's Volkswagen Polo-rival in South Africa: a turbopetrol motor and a dual-clutch transmission (in 1.0-litre automatic guise).

And keeping with the sportier and dynamic theme, with the imminent local launch of the eagerly-anticipated Hyundai i30N hot hatch, these sketches of a sportier and dynamic next-generation i20 raises hopes that an i20 N derivative might eventually be offered in South Africa, replete with sporty suspension, race suspension, stronger brakes and a purposeful body kit. If rumours are to be believed, the i20N will be powered by the Veloster Turbo's 150 kW/265 Nm 1.6-litre 4-pot turbopetrol.

We don’t yet know when the new-generation i20 will be made available in South Africa, but we don’t expect to see it here before late 2020 or early in 2021….