Success of desirable new supermini can be traced back to 2001
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 15 years since the birth of a small South Korean car that would go on to transform the European supermini market.
First unveiled at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show as the Hyundai TB concept car, the Getz set a new benchmark for affordable practicality backed by its manufacturer’s generous five-year warranty.
It was arguably THE car which put Hyundai on the map in the UK too - introducing British drivers to the notion that it was possible to achieve “value beyond expectations”.
Recognition for the Getz came in the form of multiple awards. It was Australia’s Best Small Car in 2003 and 2005; Scottish Small Car of the Year in 2003, UK What Car? Budget Car of the Year in 2004 and Budget car champion on the UK motoring programme Fifth Gear in 2003.
The Getz evolved into the i20 in line with Hyundai’s switch to a numerical naming policy, although there was a period up until 2011 when both vehicles were being marketed around the world.
The latest development for Hyundai is an entirely new version of the i20, a car which is designed to build on the success of almost a one million sales for Hyundai’s offering in the competitive B-segment.
Having made its debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October, it is clear that the New Generation i20 has been designed and developed with European drivers firmly in mind.
Now a true five-seater, the New Generation i20 is longer, lower and wider than the previous model and was designed at Hyundai Motor’s Design Centre Europe in Russelsheim, Germany.
It boasts class-leading interior space – 1892 mm combined front and rear legroom – and has boot capacity of 326 litres.
Building on Hyundai’s promise of “value beyond expectations”, the New Generation i20 boasts a number of new technologies that provide levels of comfort and convenience normally associated with larger vehicles.
They include front and rear parking assist, a heating steering wheel, static bending headlamps, automatic defog systems, and a lane departure warning system.
There are five engine choices from launch, two ‘Kappa’ petrol units and two ‘U-ll’ diesel power units. A new Kappa 1-litre T-GDI downsized and turbocharged petrol engine will further enhance the New Generation i20 engine line-up in 2015.
The New Generation i20 has been equipped with active and passive safety features that are increasingly expected by European drivers. Standard features include the Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management and Hill Start Assist Control.
Six airbags are also fitted as standard, including front, side and full-length curtainairbags.
Almost 15 years after the Getz set the scene for Hyundai’s success in Europe’s competitive B-segment, the i20 has an important job to do for the South Korean carmaker.
The first-generation i20 further established Hyundai in the sector, with more than 400,000 sold in the past six years.
Hyundai hope that the New Generation i20 will further build on the brand’s success in a segment which is expected to reach 3.25million sales per annum by 2017.
“In 2013, our B-segment sales accounted for 19% of total Hyundai sales volume in Europe, which is below the market average,” said Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Hyundai Motor Europe.
“This highlights the potential growth for Hyundai in the segment and the importance of New Generation i20 to the company’s long-term goals in the region.”
The Hyundai’s New Generation i20 will hit the UK roads in January with prices starting from £10695 OTR for the petrol S model and £12445 for the S Blue Diesel model.