Hyundai i20 I, the genesis of what will become one day the leader of the supermini segment. It’s just that the Hyundai i20 I only unscrewed the champagne bottle, it didn’t deliver the whole experience. Is it then worth your money?

If I were to hit you with the truth in the same way I was hit in the head with a bottle in 2012 while I was enjoying a pint at the pub, I would quickly close shop saying that the Hyundai i20 I is not worth your money in 2023. Done, you can close the browser window and move on something else of equal educational value.

This is because the first i20 was part of the first generation of Hyundai “Made in Germany”, it was and is a reliable car and for this reason it holds it’s value better than a footballer hold his private area when he is standing in the wall formation. 

Things usually go like this – cars are expensive to buy new and a cheap to buy used. And I’m not talking about premium cars like the 5 Series, I’m also talking about more regular cars such as the Passat. And the Hyundai i20 I? Nope, you’re wrong. It’s cheap to buy new and expensive to buy used. Seriously, a used first-generation i20 is more expensive than a used Skoda Fabia, Seat Ibiza or Ford Fiesta. Same year and same engines. In fact, it costs so much on the used market that it almost beats the VW Polo, a car where you know you pay for the badge and not so much for the car.

But atleast it’s more equipped than Nicola McLean, right?

Sadly however it would’ve been true if Nicola McLean had been a college dorm room. I don’t know how many people checked in and were satisfied with the conditions, but I know that no one was deeply impressed by the conditions offered by the Hyundai i20. So, why buy used model of the sequel to the defunct Hyundai Getz? And the answer is pretty simple – because it is a very cheap car to run. What breaks down breaks very rarely and costs as much as two packs of cigarettes and a bottle of brandy.

Hyundai i20 I Engines


  • 1.2 Kappa of 86 horsepower – Yes, you could read about some cases of blown engines, but those are just a few examples out of the billions of engines sold, just as Mike O’Hearn has billions of fans all over the world and especially on the internet. I still wouldn’t rush or get out of my way to recommend it, but the market is full of them just like the walls at the office are full of mold.
  • 1.4 Gamma of 101 horsepower – The entry-level engine for the Hyundai i30 could be the sporty choice for the i20. Ha ha. Hyundai i20 I. Sports car. Apart from the premature wear of the engine mounts and the fact that the fuel economy is nothing to write home about, this engine offers the adequate performance that you would expect from a slightly faster motorized shopping trolley.
  • 1.6 Gamma of 128 horsepower – If on the i30 this is THE sports engine, on the i20 it’s like strapping some fireworks to a supermarket trolley and firing them up the parking lot. Also, the chances of finding an i20 with this engine are as high as finding that specific shopping trolley with fireworks strapped to it. But if you do find it however, it would be a great shame not to buy it. The fuel economy is the same as the 1.4 and slightly worse than the 1.2’s Kappa, the issues are the same as with the 1.4 but you get so much more power. Sure, the insurance aspect might be a issue in our Little Britain, but everywhere else it’s hard to fault this engine.


  • 1.1 U-Line CRDI of 3 horsepower – No. But atleast it doesn’t have an DPF so it’s urban friendly. And the emissions are low enough to not bother too much.
  • 1.4 U-Line CRDI of 75 and 90 horsepower – The second best-selling engine for this generation of i20 after the 1.1 version, but are you sure you want a 3-cylinder diesel for a city car? In fact, you can also find a lot of 1.4 TDIs on the Polo, so I should probably just mind my business and my brandy.
  • 1.6 U-Line CRDi of 113 and 128 horsepower – Normally I’d say that the more power the better, but for the i20 the 1.6 diesel doesn’t really make any sense. The 1.4 hardly makes sense already, but this 1.6 is an excellent highway and vacation warrior for the i30 and Cee’d, but for the city brawler i20 there’s no reason for it. Because you can’t take the i20 for a vacation spin anyway as you’d have nowhere to put your luggage.

Hyundai i20 I Common Issues

  • Diesel engines get along with the urban jungle just as well as a man gets along with a goverment clerk who doesn’t want to type a code on a paper and who denies your submission because the scanner doesn’t work and lunch break just suddenly started. If you buy a diesel and torture it around town, then it will torture you back by clogging the particle filter (the 1.1 version is exempt for this) and by wrecking the dual mass flywheel because obviously a 1.4 diesel needs a dual mass flywheel as otherwise it would break your legs. Unless of course you for an 4 speed automagic torque converter, which is both reliable and devoid of flywheel. 
  • All, but absolutely all cars came with an coolant tank the size of a fragrance tester bottle, so be careful and always keep an eye on the coolant level.
  • Speaking of the dual mass flywheel, there are clutch issues for all models as the i20 apparently has the munchies for the clutchies, so make sure you have at least 3 parts available around the house at any time. You never know.
  • The radio loses channels faster than a student loses fluids in the backalley of Scruffy Murphy’s after drinking way too much that night.
  • The key loses battery charge faster than the radio loses channels, which in turn loses channels faster than a student loses fluids in the backalley of Scruffy Murphy’s after drinking way too much that night.

Hyundai i20 I Verdict

Yes, it’s very reliable and somewhat cheap to run. But it remains very expensive to buy used and that makes it difficult to recommend. Seriously, it would be easier for me to recommend sparkling water than to recommend a first generation i20. Yes, maybe it’s reliable, but in this class of cars running costs are generally cheap (if we’re not talking about repairs that write them off). So what would I buy? A Hyundai i20 I or 2 Ford Fiestas to have one for driving and one for parts? Well, this scenario is possible with the Fiesta. But the same can be said about the Opel Corsa D, which is not far from the i20 in terms of reliability. But at least you have a Hyundai, which is a much more prestigious brand and when you leave your Hyundai keys on the table, people will be that much more impressed.

Which engines do I recommend? For petrol power I absolutely recommend the 1.4 and 101 horsepower engine, but you will buy the 1.2 and 86 horsepower version because that’s what’s generally available on the market. The same goes with the 1.4 CRDI 90 horsepower diesel.