Hyundai i20 (2009-2015)

Flushed with the success of its i10 city car and i30 supermini, Hyundai launched another small car in 2009 – the i20. From the outset it was clear the titchy Hyundai was aimed at those who saw their car as little more than transport, but that doesn’t make the i20 a poor buy – just one that’s unlikely to excite you. With its Vauxhall Corsa-esque styling and keen pricing, the i20 was a success for Hyundai in the UK, and thanks to it being a pensioners’ favourite, low-mileage, cherished i20s aren’t rare, which only makes it an even more appealing second-hand buy.


Key dates

1/09: The five-door i20 reaches UK showrooms with 1.2 or 1.4-litre petrol engines (the latter with a 4-speed auto option) and a 1.4 CRDi diesel, in 74bhp or 89bhp forms.

4/09: There’s now a three-door i20. 

7/10: A 99g/km 1.4 CRDi Blue eco edition arrives; its introduction coincides with CO2 emissions reductions for all engines, and the fitment of standard bluetooth for all models except the Classic. 

5/12: A facelift brings an overhauled interior, refreshed exterior styling and a new 1.1-litre diesel engine, rated at 84g/km.



  • The radio can regularly lose all of the presets for some reason.
  • If the central locking fails, the transponder unit has probably failed.
  • The clutch pedal pivot can dry out and squeak, but a drop of oil is all that’s needed to restore silence.
  • Clutches can wear out in under 10,000 miles, with dealers invariably claiming it’s because of the owner’s driving style.
  • Some owners have had problems with corrosion around the door handles and rear wiper arm; look for signs of bubbling.
  • All of the seats offer little support, so they can be uncomfortable on long journeys.


We like

  • Spacious interior
  • Easy to drive
  • Excellent reliability
  • Well equipped
  • Cheap to run


We don’t like

  • Not cheap to buy
  • Mediocre to drive
  • Anonymous looks



Hyundai Sonata (2005-2009)

For many Brits wanting to buy an executive car, nothing less than German will do. That's a shame for companies like Hyundai, which offers some great products at competitive prices. Take the Sonata for example; it's phenomenally reliable, superbly kitted out and not bad to drive, yet the Hyundai badge puts people off because of links to past products. That only ensures its used cars are astonishing value though, so cast aside your prejudices and take a closer look.

Key Dates

5/05: An all-new Sonata goes on sale, with a 2.4-litre V6 petrol engine only. Only CDX trim is offered.

7/06: Three new engines join the range while the 2.4-litre unit is discontinued. A 2.0-litre petrol unit along with a 3.3-litre V6 petrol. There's also a 2.0-litre turbodiesel, but still only a CDX trim level. However, the 3.3 is offered in ultra-high spec CDX+ form.

Hyundai Sonata (2005-2009) Checklist

  • Many of these cars are bought for occasional use only by low-mileage drivers, so the engine is running cold most of the time. Make sure the engine isn't worn out on low-mileage cars.
  • Depreciation is a major issue, so make sure you buy at the right price; shop around to ensure you're getting a decent deal, because many cheap cars aren't as cheap as they should be.
  • Sonatas are well equipped and reliable, so make sure everything works - although problems are unlikely.

We Like

  • Reliability
  • Equipment levels
  • Low purchase costs
  • Diesel engine

We Don't Like

  • Saloon only
  • Thirsty petrol engines


Hyundai Trajet (2000-2008)

Budget MPVs come no more affordable than here, but don't be blinded by the attractive used values, because running costs can be high. Fuel and maintenance costs can be wallet-wilting and despite the fact that a five-year warranty was standard, the Trajet isn't always as reliable as you'd hope. Refinement also leaves a lot to be desired - but despite all this, the Trajet is a lot of car for the money.

Key Dates

6/00: The Trajet debuts, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine only.

1/01: There's now a 2.7-litre V6 petrol engine also offered.

6/01: A 2.0-litre turbodiesel joins the range.

2/02: All models get dual air-con as standard, apart from the 2.0 petrol which has to wait another year.

6/04: A facelift brings a new radiator grille, fresh rear lights, a revised dash and extra standard equipment. There's also a new engine for the 2.0-litre petrol model.

Hyundai Trajet (2000-2008) Checklist

  • Alternators can fail prematurely because they're badly misaligned.
  • Manual gearboxes can prove weak, and replacement costs are high.
  • Anti-lock brake sensors can fail (an MoT failure)
  • The front suspension top mounts can fail, leading to the car collapsing.
  • The interior trim can prove fragile.
  • Windscreen wiper mechanisms sometimes prove to be weak.
  • Check servicing costs before buying; franchised dealers can be costly.
  • Front tyres don't wear well because of the weight over the front axle.
  • Brake discs also wear quickly because of the car's weight.

We Like

  • Value
  • Space
  • Practicality

We Don't Like

  • Thirsty petrol engines
  • Cheap interior plastics
  • Poor refinement