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Future models - Hyundai - i20

Next Hyundai i20 switches sourcing

Changing times: The current-generation i20 (left) is built in India, but this will change when the all-new model arrives next year.

Hyundai's next-gen i20 to switch from India to Turkey when it arrives during 2015

Hyundai logo27 Jun 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in SOUTH KOREA

HYUNDAI’S oldest passenger vehicle, the i20 light car, will undergo a complete revamp with a different source plant when it is launched in Australia sometime in the first half of next year.

Expected to be unveiled in August prior to a Paris Motor Show debut in early October, the i20 will be built in Turkey, alongside the smaller i10 that is also likely to arrive in Australia sometime during 2015.

The latter will slot underneath the i20 as Hyundai’s entry-level hatch to take on the Mitsubishi Mirage, as well as the Holden Barina Spark, Nissan Micra, Suzuki Alto and Fiat 500.

Meanwhile the existing i20, which debuted in 2008, is built in India for the Australia market, serving as the replacement for the best-selling Getz light car (built in South Korea) from 2010.

A variation of the 2015 i20 will also be manufactured in India as a lower-cost alternative and it will lack some of the safety and convenience features deemed necessary to take on the more sophisticated B-segment hatch competition in Europe and Australia.

Sitting on a longer wheelbase, the next i20 brings a fresh look to the series, featuring the new corporate hexagonal grille as seen in the Santa Fe SUV and Genesis luxury sedan, while boomerang-shaped tail-lights give the South Korean light-car a distinctive rear appearance.

The body is also slightly larger than before, promising increased space and improved comfort in the process, while Hyundai is thought to have made big strides in refinement and dynamic capabilities.

Among other competitors, the Volkswagen Polo, Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta served as benchmarks for the upcoming i20.

A lift in interior quality and craftsmanship is in line with the company’s latest efforts in the upcoming Sonata mid-sizer, which is due in the second quarter of 2015.

Rumours point to a couple of four-cylinder engine sizes for the new i20, ranging from 1.2-litre to 1.6-litres, with some markets – but not Australia – also believed to be taking on a turbo-diesel in either a 1.1-litre three-cylinder or 1.4-litre option.

Additionally, it is likely that the new i20 will underpin a compact SUV spin-off in the mould of the Holden Trax and Nissan Juke, giving Hyundai an entry-level B-segment crossover contender for the first time.

Whether this turns out to be the production version of the ix25 that debuted at the Beijing Auto Show in April remains to be seen.

According to reports leaked out of China, that car will offer 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine choices, mated to six-speed transmissions in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive configurations.

In related news, the next-generation ix35 will be significantly larger than the existing model – also released in 2010 – to accommodate the ix25, most likely moving it up to the medium SUV segment from the compact SUV classification the current one sits in.

The 2015 i20 is not the first European-built Hyundai slated for Australia.

Since 2013 both the i30 Tourer wagon and the ix35 Special Edition have been shipped over from the brand’s Nošovice facility in the Czech Republic.

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