2012 Hyundai ix20 Active 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


Loads of space and comfort in a small car

General Comments:

Have test-driven the ix20 Active automatic, and decided to buy one after being very impressed. To be delivered in March 2012, after which I'll be regularly updating this review.

For now, if you're in the market for a small MPV-type, you MUST drive this! I can't speak for the other engines, but this is quiet, gets to 70 without you noticing, and the fuel computer after my city streets and trunk road test drive showed 33.9mpg. This is good for that type of trip - bodes well for 40+mpg on a run.

All controls are light and the ride quality is good. Not magic carpet, but good, and you don't hear much from the suspension, or anything else for that matter.

Seats are very comfortable, loads of space all round, incredible boot. Ideal!

The only minus point is that, unlike my old SX4, the heating/ventilation doesn't do 'hot feet/cold face'. Neither does the Note or several others, but it was something I really enjoyed in the Suzuki. However, the IX20's system is otherwise adequate, so it's a compromise I'm going to have to make!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 23rd January, 2012

19th May 2012, 11:07

OK, I've now had the IX20 Active 1.6 auto for 3.5 months, and am generally pleased with it. Have had 2 holidays around the Cotswolds and Peak District, and nothing has come loose, fallen off etc. Probably easiest to list the good and bad points:


1. Powerful enough to pull easily up motorway inclines without kicking down, but still giving approx 40mpg at a 70mph cruise.

2. Nice auto box. Old-fashioned torque converter type, but all the better for it. No frills, just does the job quietly and unobtrusively.

3. Generally a quiet car. Probably the source of the most noise at motorway speeds is the tyres, but for what is basically a tall supermini, it's refined enough. At A-road speeds it's quiet all round (even considering that noted under 'bad' below), even when accelerating at higher revs.

4. Comfortable and roomy seats. Plenty of adjustment for driver's seat and steering wheel. With the driver's armrest it's a very comfortable long distance machine. Dash / steering wheel lighting a bit garish, but can be turned down.

5. Not a magic carpet, but very reasonable ride quality - better than my old SX4. Not raced or rallied, but the handling seems fine to me! Steering very light at town and parking speeds; weights up at higher speeds.

6. Huge boot for a 4.1m long car, even with rear seats right back. Having looked at various cars of this size, I can't work out how they get so much room in there. Seats fold easily, boot floor can be raised, proper space-saver spare under everything else. In my opinion, the most flexible package of any similar car (including Jazz).

7. Several nice touches: Rear heating ducts, glovebox lamp, several 12v outlets, spring to mind among others.

Bad, or perhaps not ideal!...

1. Build quality: I take as a given nowadays that shut-lines, panel gaps etc on an Oriental car will be perfect. My Suzuki SX4 was, but on this IX20 and others I've since inspected, they are not. The rear door window-lines don't line up with the rear quarter panels, the tailgate is slightly wonky, the bonnet is proud of the bumper panel instead of flush, the horn button isn't exactly in the centre of the steering wheel, and more. On delivery, the steering wheel itself was wonky when driving straight and level, and the FNS suspension rattled over even slightly duff roads. Other than the latter, none of these things make any difference to the drive, but they don't inspire much confidence in the Hyundai brand.

For the record, the steering centre was fixed after 2 attempts (huge main dealer with posh showroom), and the rattling strut has been replaced with partial success - it only rattles over severe lumps and bumps now. Hyundai apparently acknowledge a problem here, but have no current fix. The demo car was OK so it's obviously luck of the draw. Either that or the strut isn't the sole problem. Garages have never been too hot on fault diagnosis in my experience. Just replace stuff willy-nilly until it's cured. Fine if it's under warranty, of course.

2. The heater isn't as good as the SX4; doesn't do hot feet / cold face by design. It also takes about 10 miles to really warm up, and on 'feet only' there is too much hot air bleeding to the screen vents, blowing on your face. However, opening a window cures this, and when it's hot enough you can turn the heat to halfway and 'face/feet' setting. Then you get warm to the feet and (because the air's travelling further) cooler to the face. So you can work around it even if it's not ideal, and it's the only area where my SX4 outdid it, to be fair.

3. Hyundai customer service!!! Hopefully I'll never need them, because although they keep sending you bumf, asking you to fill out online surveys etc, and generally promising the earth, they don't respond at all when you point out a few home truths. For instance, bragging about their wonderful robots is something I definitely would NOT be doing if I built IX20's, but Hyundai send you a brochure doing just that! I just hope that the Cambridge supplying dealer (who has a good reputation) will sort me out should it be necessary. So far, nothing awful has happened!

4. Can't think of anything else at present - will report back when I do...!