CarToq Exclusive – Hyundai Elite i20 1.4 Petrol Automatic launch on the backburner

Hyundai India raised a few eyebrows when the recently launched i20 Elite hatchback missed the automatic gearbox option. At the recently concluded media drives at Jodhpur, CarToq had a chance to interact with Hyundai India’s senior management about why the i20 Elite Automatic wasn’t launched at the time of launch and whether the automatic variant is likely in the near future. Here are some answers.

2015 Hyundai i20 Elite Hatchback Photo
2015 Hyundai i20 Elite Hatchback

 

The Hyundai i20’s first generation model was offered in automatic guise, with a 1.4 liter petrol engine doing duty for propulsion. Using the 1.4 liter petrol engine on the i20 Elite would have meant additional excise duties, pushing up the car’s costs substantially, given the fact that the Elite is pricier than the outgoing model.

The higher costs plus the automatic gearbox would have made the i20 Elite nudge Polo GT TSI territory, and the volumes at that price level aren’t high. This is the main reason for Hyundai India deciding to do away with the 1.4 liter-automatic gearbox combination on the i20 Elite.

Coming to the question on whether Hyundai will launch the Elite i20 Automatic in the near future, senior Hyundai India officials admitted that the possibility of such a car seeing a launch soon was minimal as the volumes and associated costs don’t justify such an offering. This position is contrary to previous media reports, which reported that the i20 Elite 1.4 Petrol Automatic is in the works for a launch soon.

Also, mating the 1.2 liter Kappa petrol engine to the 4 speed automatic gearbox isn’t something that Hyundai India is willing to consider as such an option would make the i20 Elite quite sluggish, and that is contrary to the i20 Elite’s premium positioning.

Therefore, the 1.2 liter Kappa petrol engine-4 speed automatic option is something that the South Korean automaker isn’t considering for the Elite i20. However, the same combination is offered on cars such as the Grand i10 and the Xcent Automatics. The key difference between these cars and the i20 Elite, according to Hyundai officials, is the latter’s premium fit and finish, which costs significantly higher to achieve.