The traffic on our roads is increasing by the day and while you and I cannot do too much about that we can certainly be smarter when choosing our set of wheels. A good chunk of our everyday commute is spent negotiating traffic but there’s a way to make that experience less cumbersome. Go Automatic. There’s been a spurt of cars with automatic transmission in recent times and they range from AMT to CVT to conventional automatics. Buying them also makes more sense now as some of the stigmas attached with them no longer exist. These include poor mileage, high maintenance or lower resale. The latest to join the bandwagon is the Hyundai Elite i20 CVT that promises to crush all these concerns under it. We sample the car.
The facelift of the hugely popular Elite i20 was launched at the Auto Expo earlier this year. The car has always had appealing facets to its design and the facelift has made it even better. The cascade design high gloss front grille gives sporty and bold stance to the hatch which also gets projector headlamps with LED DRL, positioning & cornering lamps and air curtains on the front. The rear also sees its fair share of changes with new tail lamps and tail gate as well as a redesigned bumper. With this CVT the car also comes with first-in-segment dual tone exteriors with red and orange interior colour packs, the latter seen here. To compliment the new colour the 16 inch alloys have been blacked out to give a more aggressive look.
The quality of interiors like all cars from the brand continues to impress. The dual tone has worked well for the company in the recent years. Feature list too is rich with the car getting a touch screen infotainment system that works with Apple car play and Android auto. It also provides the feed for the rear parking camera. The new Elite also offers arkamys sound mood along with climate control and rear AC vents. However as we’ve seen from many other automakers the CVT is not offered in the top trim which means you’ll have to miss out on a start/stop button as well as paddle shifters. Company’s human connected technology, Hyundai Auto Link seen recently on the Creta facelift is here too. It helps you stay connected with your car for vehicle health check, Driving information, Road side assistance, Driving History, Eco Driving and Vehicle Health history check with click of button.
Unlike its rivals the Maruti Swift and the Honda Amaze the i20 CVT is offered with just the Petrol engine. The 1.2 liter 82 BHP mill has been seen earlier as well on many Hyundai cars and does the duty here as well. Hyundai says the CVT engine comes with linear driving force and no shift jerk for smooth and comfortable drive. That is indeed true especially in low and mid-range when you’re negotiating through city traffic. The engine and the gearbox show how smooth they are as you experience on the most silent cabins seen on any sub Rs 10 lakh cars. However, when you press the accelerator hard and get into high speeds you do experience the rubber band effect of the CVTs where you have lots of revs and noise but less than desired acceleration. As I mentioned earlier you do miss the presence of paddle shifters many times and to change gears manually the only way out is using the gear lever. Hyundai hasn’t officially revealed the mileage figures but they could be close to 18.6 kmpl which the manual variant offers.
Ride & Handling
The Elite i20 even on the facelift offers a smooth and reassuring ride. The suspension is able to take on the challenges thrown at it by all kinds of road surfaces and very little trickles in to bother the occupants of the cabin. The car is agile as well and offers good handling characteristics owing to its near perfect dimensions. Safety is also setting benchmarks in the segment with the car getting i20 equipped with 6-airbags with front dual, side and curtain airbags, Speed Sensing Auto Door Lock and Impact Sensing Auto Door.
The Hyundai i20 Elite CVT is being offered in 2 trims—Magna Executive and Asta with prices starting from Rs 7.04 lakhs (ex-showroom). That makes it an attractive proposition looking at the convenience it offers. Add to that a long impressive list of exterior, interior and safety features. It isn’t the best CVT you’ll come across but most times will do its job with aplomb. The sales of AT and CVT options in the premium compact segment has grown from 4% in 2015 to 14% in 2018. That might give you the consumer some much needed confidence to go in for an automatic and reduce considerable stress in traffic.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars