EVERY household has a different definition of what constitutes a family car, writes Andy Simms. For some, a boot big enough to accommodate both a double pushchair and chocolate brown Labrador is essential.
For others, an all-singing, all-dancing entertainment system to distract from the monotony of hours spent on the motorway is paramount. As the father of two boys, my own four-wheeled wish-list is defined by the extra-curricular activities of my sons.
Consequently, I am happy to forsake motoring’s finer luxuries in return for a car that can navigate a perpetual schedule of shuttle runs to and from football matches, karate training and swim classes without costing a fortune in fuel.
Cue the Hyundai i20 – a compact vehicle tailored for urban errands. With adequate acceleration for picking a path through the Chelsea tractor-plagued school run and a profile perfect for parallel parking, this Korean pocket rocket is difficult to dismiss if the impact on your purse or wallet is a principal driver.
The entry-level 1.2-litre Classic model starts at £9,745 and returns an impressive 54.3mpg; making the i20 an incredibly cheap alternative to its German contemporaries. It may lack the frills and overall performance of a Fiesta or Clio but, surprisingly, this Hyundai’s low price tag does not come at the cost of a stripped-out cabin.
As the father of two boys, my own four-wheeled wish-list is defined by the extra-curricular activities of my sons.
All i20s are equipped with air-conditioning, six airbags, active head restraints, remote central locking, electric front windows and CD player with an all-important aux jack. Size, of course, does matter when it comes to the comfort of a car – especially if, like this reviewer, you are cursed with a Peter Crouch-esque stature.
Standing at over six feet tall usually makes journeys in anything smaller than a family saloon an act of contortionism, so I had fairly low expectations of a car pitched in the supermini class. However, my visions of driving with knees bent double were wide of the mark.
While far from expansive, the i20 has plenty of space for a driver to stretch their legs – albeit at the expense of the unfortunate passenger behind them. As with its rivals, room in the rear is limited but it is ample for those yet to hit their teens and the 295-litre boot can easily house a weekly shop alongside pairs of muddy football boots and wet swim gear.
In summary, this is not a car in which you would wish to complete a marathon journey home from Germany, but for short sprints around the garrison you’ll be hard pushed to find a more economical option.
- Great value
- Good fuel economy
- Not as flash as its rivals