The i10’s looks are no reason for style-conscious buyers to be put off
There was a time when most city cars on the market looked awkwardly shaped and top-heavy, and to be honest, the previous i10 was one of the worst offenders. However, with cars like the Volkswagen Up and Seat Mii injecting some much-needed style into the city car market, the i10 has followed suit. The baby Hyundai has conventional hatchback proportions and some funky design details, making it a rather smart-looking little runabout. Whether or not it’s as chic as its rivals will be a matter of opinion, but we reckon the i10’s looks are no longer a reason for style-conscious buyers to be put off.
The i10’s cabin has an impressively solid and hard-wearing feel, yet it delivers a decent amount of flair, too. The plastics are nicely textured as well as being sturdy, and the two-tone dashboard lends a dash of colour. The dash controls are logically laid out and easy to use, while all-round visibility is clear. However, the steering wheel only has tilt adjustment rather than full rake-and-reach movement, and you have to upgrade to second-rung trim for the height-adjustable driver’s seat that gives you more control over your driving position.
The i10 straddles the city car and supermini segments, and it’s bigger than most of its city car rivals
Hyundai markets the i10 as a car that straddles the city car and supermini segments, and sure enough, it’s bigger than most of its city car rivals. There’s sufficient head- and legroom in the back of the i10 to comfortably accommodate a brace of tall adults, and the seats are supportive and comfortable. There’s also a 252-litre boot that’s one of the biggest in the class, and split-folding rear seats that allow you to boost your cargo-carrying capacity. However, they don’t lay flat when you fold them down.
Ride and handling
The i10 is a very enjoyable little car to drive. The ride is impressively smooth and cosseting for a city car, yet the suspension controls body movements well enough to give the i10 a nimble feel when it’s asked to change direction. The steering is rather remote, but it’s nicely weighted and responsive enough, while the gearshift has a pleasantly smooth feel. These attributes also make the i10 a very easy car to drive, and with a city runabout like this, that’s the most important thing.
The base-level engine might sound a bit weedy, but surprisingly it’s the sweeter and smoother of the two engines available
The base-level engine is a 65bhp 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine; and, while it might sound a bit weedy, it’s more than up to the job of getting the i10 around town. It’ll even cope with a spell on the motorway, but more surprisingly, it’s the sweeter and smoother of the two engines available in the i10. The larger 86bhp four-cylinder 1.2 isn’t as perky as it might be because the power delivery is a little flat at the bottom of the rev range. That means you’ll find yourself having to do a fair amount of stirring on the five-speed manual gearbox. A four-speed automatic gearbox is also available, but we haven’t tried this yet. Refinement is generally very impressive. The engine stays smooth most of the time, while road and wind noise are effectively suppressed.
The i10 is competitively priced, but it’s no longer the budget alternative it once was. Most versions only cost a tiny bit less than what you’ll pay for the equivalent version of most major rivals, and the i10’s residual values are unlikely to be anywhere near as strong as those of a Volkswagen Up or Fiat 500, so it could end up costing you more in the long run. That said, the i10 will still be very affordable to run. All manual versions return over 57mpg, and the star performer, the 1.0 Blue Drive, will do almost 66mpg.
The solid way in which the i10 is put together gives you the impression that it’ll last a lifetime, and the materials used appear to be very hard-wearing, too. Reliability data is in short supply at the moment, but you can take heart from the fact that Hyundai currently sits near the top of the manufacturer standings in Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index. And, if something does go wrong, the car is backed by a generous five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.
The i10 comes with more safety kit than most of its city car rivals, because you get stability control and six airbags as standard across the range, as well as a tyre-pressure monitoring system. When the car was crash tested by the experts at Euro NCAP, it scored four stars, a decent score, but a little short of the impressive five-star standards set by the Seat Mii/Skoda Citigo/Volkswagen Up trio.
We reckon it’s worth upgrading to SE trim, which has chilled air as standard
The i10’s level of equipment is on a par with most rivals’. Base-level S spec gives you electric front windows, daytime running lights and a USB port, but you’ll have to spend extra if you want air-conditioning. That’s why we reckon it’s worth upgrading to SE trim, which has chilled air as standard, along with powered rear windows, heated electric door mirrors, and remote locking. Top-end Premium trim adds alloy wheels, Bluetooth, a multi-function steering wheel, LED daytime running lights and front fog lamps.
If you want as much practicality as a city car can offer, the i10 makes a very good case for itself. It also has enough style and class to cut it against its best city car rivals, and it’s seriously good to drive. Avoid the entry-level trim, and the i10 also provides all the equipment you’ll really need. Highly recommended.