Car Reviews

Test drive review: Hyundai Elite i20 CVT

We drive the CVT variant of the new Hyundai Elite i20. It sports a 5-speed CVT compared to the earlier 4-speed CVT. The question is, does it still retain the fun? or is the CVT still lethargic. We find out!

Hyundai Elite i20 Auto

There is no doubt about how Hyundai has transformed itself from obscurity to being a household name in India over the past 20 years. Much of its success has to be credited to the i20 hatchback, which not only brought loads of safety features on board but also provided a great value proposition for those who like a little bit of zing in their daily driver. The current Elite i20 model carries forward the tradition. Even in our head-to-head duel with its arch rival – the Maruti Suzuki Baleno – the Elite i20 emerged as the winner, owing to the fact that it sports numerous features, is extremely spacious, is well built and gives you the impression that you have a premium package in your garage. There remained the case of an automatic variant for the new car and that’s what Hyundai has delivered – the Elite i20 Automatic.

Which auto ’box?

Unlike other brands that are known to use both AMT and CVT in their portfolio, Hyundai has always stuck to the latter for most of its automatic variants. The Elite i20 is only available in the petrol 1.2-litre Kappa dual VTVT motor that makes a respectable 82bhp and 115Nm. It sports a five-speed CVT and not a four-speed version like earlier. The power delivery is extremely smooth and linear which is ideal for cruising around town in a relatively relaxed manner. There is none of that head jerking motion that one experiences in an AMT vehicle. The refinement levels too are brilliant for its class with NVH levels being next to none. Except for the mind numbing whine of the CVT when you decide to step on it.

However, this being evo India, the CVT transmission delays the fun bits for far too long. The shifts also take a fair bit of time in auto mode and it keeps fluttering between ratios up to a point in kickdown until it finally settles down. The manual mode does help a fair bit in this regard as the shifts are quicker. It also helps you stay in the desired ratio for a longer period. Ride and handling are typical of the Elite i20. The setup is soft offering a plush ride while handling is par for the course. Won’t set your heart on fire but will do the job.

Any other differences?

The CVT option is only found in the Magna Executive and Asta trims, the latter being the one on test. It misses out on minor features like keyless ignition, projector beams, cornering lights and ISOFIX child seat attachments that are found on the Asta (O) package. It rides on 15-inch wheels and not 16-inchers like the diesel variant that we have tested earlier and also had on long term. But these are small payouts for the amount of convenience and refinement you get. Beside, in spite of these missing items the Elite i20 still offers tonnes of stuff. Want a good city car? This should do the duties pretty well, keeping the family happy.

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