Hyundai i10 – Review
by Liam Bird
If you’d asked me a couple of weeks ago what, in my humble opinion, the best city car you can buy is, I’d have answered you without hesitation: Volkswagen Up. The Up’s combination of near bullet-proof build quality, its ability to feel like a large car when in fact it’s a very small one and the fact that it’s a joy to drive, together with Volkswagen’s enviable reputation for reliability and rock solid residual values made it, for me at least, the obvious choice. If when I answered you’d have told that Volkswagens just weren’t your thing, I’d have steered you (no pun intended) towards either Skoda’s Citigo or Seat’s Mii.
Whether or not I’d have told you that, apart from a few different badges here and there, some squarer rear windows and a few hundred pounds difference in the screen price, both the Citigo and the Mii are identical to the Up, I’m not sure. But it’s unlikely that it would have taken you very long to figure things out. Quite simply when it comes to city cars the good old VW group has the competition licked. Or a least it did…
Hyundai have just released the latest version of their little i10 and after a week in its company I’m not so sure that Up still deserves all of the applause. The new i10 is slightly wider, longer, and lower than the previous incarnation of the i10 and as a result now sports the biggest boot in its class. Don’t get too excited, it only trumps its competition by one litre, but, that said, despite not being exactly what you’d call cavernous the boot is deep and it’ll happily swallow the weekly shop. Also, while we’re on the subject of practicality, the new five-door only i10 will just about accommodate four six-footers in comfort for more than just short journeys and, Hyundai claim, in certain circumstances, their latest edition to our city streets is good for 60.1 mpg on the combined cycle too.
Power – in the case of the car on test, all 96bhp of it – comes from either a four cylinder 1.2litre petrol engine, or a three cylinder unit displacing just 998cc. There is no diesel option. Despite what you might already be thinking the three-pot motor (as tested) is probably the one to go for. Fast it isn’t; 0-62 takes an almost calendar worthy 14.9 seconds. But this little engine’s rev-happy nature means it’s full of character and even when it’s worked hard, thanks to some clever engineering, it remains surprisingly smooth.
Once up to speed the i10 feels as if it’s from the class above. Or perhaps even the class above that. Hyundai have paid close attention to noise suppression. They have fitted extra seals around the doors and extra insulation in the bulkhead. This results in a surprisingly quiet ride, even at motorway speeds. Which incidentally the i10 seems happy to do all day. At lower speed the stiff suspension set-up can sometimes thump into potholes and make things jiggle a little over broken surfaces. However, in town, the i10’s combination of light steering and gearshift, excellent all-round visibility and a well thought out driving position more than make up for its foibles.
There’s a new found maturity to be found inside the i10 as well. Some of the plastics lower down may still be very much in the hard and scratchy league, but nevertheless everything’s been assembled with a new-found precision.
Overall it’s an attractive cabin. The list of kit that comes as standard in the top spec Premium version – voice controlled Bluetooth, leather trimmed contact points (that’s steering wheel and gear-knob to the likes of you and me) electric windows front and rear, air-con, USB input, electric mirrors and height adjustable driver’s seat, hill hold assist, LED running lights, ABS with EBD, ESP, and a whole host of other abbreviated electrickery – is a very generous one indeed. If the i10 were European rather than Korean you’d be plundering your pockets time and time again for that little lot. And let’s not forget the i10 also comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty whatever the spec.
The only thing the i10 doesn’t come with is a prestigious badge. Whether or not that will affect its overall residual value come trade-in time we can only wait and see. Still, whether you choose to go for an i10 now or wait to see if you can bag yourself a bargain in a couple of years time, I’m in no doubt that you’ll get yourself one of the best, if not the best, city cars available.
Hyundai i10 1.0 Premium
Engine: 998cc, 3Cyl, 12V DOHC
Transmission: 5 speed. Front Wheel Drive
Power: 65 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 70 lbft @ 2500 – 3500 rpm
0-62mph: 14.9 sec
Max Speed: 96mph
MPG: 60.1 combined.
CO2: 108 g/km
VED Band: B
Price: from £9,995 (as tested £10,695)