Spotted testing all over the country, we know the refreshed Hyundai i20 is all set to make its debut at the Auto Expo 2018. Now, Hyundai sources have confirmed that along with the facelift, a new automatic gearbox will also be introduced. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) – mated to the 1.2-litre Kappa engine – will debut for the first time on the i20. This, in effect, will replace the 1.4-litre petrol variant.
The outgoing i20 1.4, mated to a four-speed torque converter and made for the European market, was introduced in India in September 2016, but never caught on because of its lofty pricing. In mid-spec Magna trim, it retails at Rs 9.15 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), a significant Rs 81,000 more than the fully-loaded Maruti Baleno Alpha CVT.
As India is a key market for Hyundai, and seeing as the demand for automatics is expected to rise by 7 to 8 per cent in 2018, Hyundai has invested in a new transmission tailored specifically for India. With the smaller 1.2-litre petrol engine, the i20 gets the benefit of the lower ‘small car’ tax rate (12.5 percent) which applies to cars under 4 metres long and with petrol engines under 1200cc. The 1.4 i20 attracted a much higher duty of 24 percent. This massive tax saving will allow Hyundai to price the i20 automatic more competitively and take the Baleno CVT head-on.
The new CVT will likely also make the i20 facelift more fuel-efficient. While there will be no paddle shifts on offer, a source stated that “there could be a possibility of them being introduced in the future”.
This update brings an extensive change-up in terms of appearance. Gone is the two-part grille of the current i20, and replacing it is a single-piece ‘Cascade’ grille, similar to the one seen on the new Verna. As for other cosmetic changes, the refreshed i20 will feature tweaked bumpers and headlights, new alloy wheel designs and the registration plate housing being moved up from the bumper to the boot lid.