Renault Pulse vs. Hyundai i20: Petrol hatch comparison

Renault India launched the Pulse petrol version last week. The Pulse is powered by the same 1.2-litre petrol motor that powers the Nissan Micra petrol.

i20-vs-pulse

The launch of petrol version has brought the Pulse into a new price range starting from as low as Rs. 4.25 lakh and extending up to Rs. 5.55 lakh unlike the Pulse diesel which is priced in the range of Rs. 5.99 lakh to Rs. 6.50 lakh.

The Hyundai i20 has been one of the hottest selling cars in the premium hatchback segment. The new i20 comes with fluidic looks and even more features than the earlier model, making it an attractive package for feature-conscious buyers. If you are confused between the Pulse and the i20 petrol version, we might be able to help you here.

hyundai i gen i20
Photo: The new Hyundai i20 is feature loaded and a very attractive looking car as well

Performance and handling

The new i20 is powered by a 1.2-litre Kappa2 petrol engine that puts out 84 bhp of power while the Pulse is powered by a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine that puts out 74.9 bhp. Hence, the i20 petrol is more powerful (by 9.1 bhp) than the Pulse petrol. The refinement level of the Kappa2 engine is also better than the 3-cylinder engine of the Pulse.

With regard to handling, both the cars have suspension setups tuned for good ride quality and hence, they tend to exhibit vertical movements, especially when pushed hard towards corners. The i20 and the Pulse have a light steering which is great in city traffic conditions. However, when it comes to highway driving, both the cars fail to offer precise feedback and don’t inspire confidence when driven at three digit speeds. Also read: Community speak: Hyundai i20, Maruti Suzuki Swift or Ford Figo?

Summing up, expect the i20 to perform slightly better than the Pulse, but handling wise, there is no clear winner.

Space and comfort

In terms of space, the i20 has a slight edge over the Pulse because dimensionally, the i20 is 190 mm longer, 45 mm wider and has 75 mm longer wheelbase than the Pulse. Hence, the i20 offers more rear seat legroom and shoulder room for passengers than the Pulse and also comes with 295 litres of luggage space while the Pulse offers 251 litres only. Also read: Renault Pulse petrol launched at Rs. 4.25 lakh!

In terms of comfort both the front and rear seats of the i20 offer adequate all round support to keep the passengers free from fatigue even during long journeys. In the Pulse, the rear seat is set too low and as a result, tall passengers will feel the lack of under thigh support especially during long journeys.

Overall, the i20 has an edge over the Pulse in terms of space and comfort.

renault pulse india photo
Photo: The Renault Pulse is a badge engineered Micra and looks slightly more aggressive

Looks

Hyundai has applied its fluidic design theme in the i20 facelift. Hence, the new i20 has smooth curves and dynamic flowing lines like the rest of its siblings such as the i10, Eon and the fluidic Verna. The refreshed headlamps and tail lamp cluster give a youthful look to the i20.

Coming to the Pulse, at the front, the Pulse has a sporty hexagonal radiator grille and new headlamp cluster that give it a masculine look. The sides of the Pulse are similar to the Micra while at the rear, except for the tail lamp cluster, the Pulse, once again reminds us the Micra in its styling. Though looks are subjective, we feel the new i20 is more pleasing to the eyes than the Pulse.

Features

With regard to base variants, the Pulse RxE and i20 Era come with features such as AC and electric power steering. But the Pulse RxE comes with driver airbag too. On comparing the mid variants, the i20 Magna features digital clock, two front speakers and two tweeters and rear parking sensors not offered in the Pulse RxL.

Between the two top-end variants, the i20 Asta (O) as well as the Pulse RxZ gets a start/stop button, automatic climate control, music system, dual front airbags and ABS with EBD. However, Hyundai has loaded the i20 Asta (O) with many more features such as six airbags, sunroof, push button start, rear camera, auto headlight, steering mounted audio & Bluetooth controls and rain sensing wipers. Summing up, the new i20 has more safety and comfort features than the Pulse.

Price mileage and overall VFM

Variant to variant, the i20 has a premium price tag over the Pulse. For instance, the i20 Era is Rs. 48,000 more than the Pulse RxE while the fully loaded i20 Asta (O) is Rs. 1.10 lakh more than the Pulse RxZ. With regard to mileage, the i20 returns 18.5 kmpl (ARAI-certified) while the Pulse returns 18.06 kmpl (ARAI-certified). Hence, expect the real mileage to be close.

Overall, if you are not keen on the fancy features, the Pulse is slightly better value for money as it is offered at a much lower price than the i20.

Pros and Cons

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Verdict

The i20 is slightly more powerful, offers more space and is also equipped with more comfort and safety features than the Pulse. The Pulse is slightly more affordable and offers decent ride quality and mileage in par with the i20.

Therefore, if you are on a tight budget and are not too particular about features and rear seat comfort, go for the Pulse. But if you are ready to shell out more money for creature comforts, pick the i20.