Before the world première of the new generation Hyundai i20 at the 2014 Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris (October, 4-19), the South Korean carmaker revealed three first images of its upcoming ambassador to the critically important B-segment, sub-compact or supermini category in Europe, at least in volume terms, if not in profit margins as such.
And European it looks indeed, this new i20, with no surprise, since its styling is signed from Hyundai Motor’s Design Centre Europe in Rüsselsheim, Germany.
The new i20's platform has a 2570 mm (101.18 in.) wheelbase, which is 45 mm (1.77 in.) longer than its predecessor, with a combined front and rear legroom at 1892 mm. Boot (trunk) volume is 326 litres (11.5 cu. ft) when the rear seats are upright. The bodyshell is 4035 mm (158.85 in.) long.
From what is shown now of the future competitor to a significant number of models such as the Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Peugeot 208, the Citroën C3 and the Opel Corsa, to name just a few, the new i20 proportions look well targeted to a young, dynamic audience, bearing in mind that all those "young-at-heart", as the industry likes to call the more "mature" age categories, are indeed fitting very well with this same audience, in their choices of compact and subcompact models, or even in the sports oriented ones.
More directly, under what Hyundai calls the Fluidic Sculpture 2.0’ design philosophy, this rendering promises good dimensions and proportions, made even more tempting by the sporty sharpness of the hood.
With a rather wide footprint on the ground, compared to the overall surface of a subcompact car, Hyundai's i20 sides are shaped with clear and simple lines, letting the dark treatment of the C-pillar accentuate the visual perception of the car’s length, while also making the cabin look like fitted neatly on the body.
Hyundai says that the front of its new i20 will represent a bold new interpretation of the brand's hexagonal grille, with its new thin horizontal strip connecting the headlamps, while the wrap-around rear window and treatment for the lamp clusters reflect the hatchback proportions with a dynamic language.
As a matter of fact, the new i20's European look and even its styling at Hyundai's Design Centre Europe in Germany are not the only links between the South Korean brand and the old continent.
Hyundai indicates that of the 4.73 million vehicles it sold globally last year, almost 95% of the vehicles its sells in 30 European countries across 2,500 outlets (422,930 Hyundai vehicles were sold in Europe last year, with a 3.4% market share) are designed, engineered and tested in Europe, and 90% are built at Hyundai's two local factories in the Czech Republic and Turkey, which have a combined annual capacity of 500,000 units.
It might be worth adding that Hyundai offers one of the best warranties in Europe, with a five year unlimited mileage warranty package for all new cars sold in the region, as well as five years of roadside assistance and five years of vehicle health checks
In the UK alone, were Hyundai has sold vehicles since 1982, Hyundai Motor UK Ltd registrations reached last year a record of 77,500 vehicles, representing no less than 18.3% of Hyundai's European sales.