- Excellent pricing and running costs
- Punchy petrol engines, including a three-cylinder 1.0-litre option
- Class-leading safety and connectivity features
- A little unsettled on bumpy country lanes
- No diesel option
- Missing a sixth gear on faster roads
At a time when we seem to have gone SUV-crazy there is still a place in our lives for the perfectly-proportioned city cars that offer all the versatility needed for school runs, shopping trips and family days out in the countryside.
The five-door Hyundai i10 is a super example of how much fun these cars can be. The revamped second generation car is longer than its predecessor with a lower roofline giving it a sportier stance and it is packed with techno treats with five generously-equipped trim levels to choose from.
On The Road
Hyundai i10 is available with two punchy petrol engines – a three-cylinder 66PS 1.0-litre or four-cylinder 87PS 1.2-litre – and transmissions include a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic option.
The five trim levels called S, SE, SE Blue, Premium and Premium SE, cater for all budgets and requirements with the likes of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Bluetooth, sat nav and a colour touchscreen offered in higher specced cars.
We tested out the 1.2-litre i10 in Premium SE spec priced at £12,800. It could sprint from 0 to 62mph in a fairly-respectable 12.1 seconds and topped out at 109mph. According to official figures this car could deliver combined fuel economy of 57.6mpg with carbon emissions of 114g/km.
Agility is a key factor when considering purchasing a city car and this is an area where the i10 excels. It’s diminutive proportions (almost 3.7 metres long and 1.66 metres wide) means it can squeeze through the tightest of gaps and the car can be turned on a sixpence.
When taken away from the bright lights, the i10 is also an accomplished performer on the open road. Admittedly, you can expect to feel some bumps along the more uneven country lanes, but the acceleration is good through the five-speed manual gear box and the car happily shows off its spirited and sprightly nature. I did, at times, go searching for a non-existent sixth gear on faster roads.
There is ample room within the Hyundai i10 for four people to travel in comfort along with a fairly generous amount of kit on lengthy journeys, but it would be fair to assume the car will spend most of its time whizzing along busier, more congested streets where its agility is a great asset.
Since it first arrived on the scene back in 2008 the i10 has grown in stature and matured with age. Previous models lacked a little finesse and sometimes came across as cheap and cheerful. But not so Hyundai i10.
The manual transmission delivers slick gear changes and there is a constant stream of power on tap from the tiny 1.2-litre engine. Although there are faster and more dynamic models competing with the i10 and the likes of Skoda Citigo and VW up! feel a little more refined at times, the i10 can hold its head up high in a busy sector.
The ride quality is good and the car handles well on motorways too without being buffeted too much by heavy HGVs thundering along on the inside lane.
My only real criticism was the rather light steering which offers very little in the way of driver feedback, but that aside the suspension was very efficient and the cabin remained relatively well insulated against outside sounds.
This is an area that Hyundai has improved upon immensely. The original i10 looked a little like a box on wheels and lacked any real flair. However, the latest i10 is a head-turner in the city car segment. It looks sharper with cascading grille, round LED daytime running lights, round fog lights, new bumpers and redesigned rear lights that are encased in a darker housing for a sporty look. Premium SE models also feature an electric tilt and slide sunroof.
On-board technology impresses with the likes of rear parking sensors, satellite navigation, a multi-function heated steering wheel, heated seats, a seven-inch touchscreen, automatic air conditioning, a smartphone docking station with full connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and Bluetooth.
The 2,385mm wheelbase helps to create one of the roomiest city cars on the market with excellent leg, head and shoulder space. Up front the driver benefits from good all round visibility and the addition of the sunroof means light floods into the cabin helping to create a bright and cheerful atmosphere.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Whilst the i10 may not be the fastest city car in showrooms today, it’s certainly one of the nicest to sit in with ample seat and steering wheel adjustment to find a perfect driving position.
All the technology and creature comforts are well tuned for ease of use and the cabin layout means that all features are ideally located without causing driver distraction. There is nothing worse than trying to access drop down menus on a touchscreen to lower the temperature. A simple dial is all that’s needed and that what you get with the i10.
But at the same time there is nothing basic about the car either. The interior is beautifully refined in places with smart upholstery – the two-tone red and black seats and additional flashes of colour look particularly upmarket.
Move up to Premium SE grade and the navigation system comes with a free seven-year subscription to LIVE services that means you will receive up-to-the-minute information on traffic conditions, weather, points of interest along with the position of speed cameras in countries where such warning are permitted.
Space & Practicality
The interior of the Hyundai i10 is like a TARDIS. While it looks pretty compact on the outside, the interior can easily accommodate four adults in comfort - a fifth could be added for short journeys if you don’t mind rubbing shoulders. In fact, the i10 boasts one of the most spacious cabins in class.
And the Korean company has given careful consideration to the need for practical boot space too with a capacity of 252 litres. This is ample for the weekly shopping or to carry overnight bags and sports kit. With the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat the limit increases to 1,046 litres of storage space which is accessed via one of the widest boot openings in class. At 920mm, loading awkward-shaped items is made much easier.
The clever use of space within the cabin is also worth a mention as all four doors on the i10 can hold a decent sized water bottle – 1.0-litre up front and 0.6-litre in the rear. In addition, there is a decent sized glovebox, cup holders and central storage compartments.
With competition for sales fierce in the city car segment, keeping prices attractive is essential and Hyundai has succeeded on that count. This model is only available with the smaller 1.0-litre engine and can deliver combined fuel economy of 60.1mpg with carbon emissions of 108g/km. This would mean owners would face a Vehicle Excise Duty cost of £140 for the first tax year and the same for each subsequent year.
The test car, which offered running costs of 57.6mpg and 114g/km combined would have a first year VED fee of £160 and then reduced to £140 for following years.
The insurance rating for the i10 ranges from group 1 to 4. It was rated at 4 for the test car.
One area that the i10 really impresses when it comes to value, is the generous levels of kit offered as standard. It would be worth comparing the spec levels on a number of similar city cars to see just how extensively equipped the i10 is.
Quality & Reliability
Previous Hyundai models felt a little tin-like without too much substance. But over the years the build quality has been upgraded substantially and now feels far more hard-wearing. The switchgear certainly feels like it will last the test of time as do the rather striking red upholstered seats.
Whereas the hard-plastic surfaces within cars are often criticised when compared to the more refined soft-touch dashboards, there is a practical advantage as they easily wipe clean.
Hyundai enjoys a good reputation regarding reliability (if you have any doubt then check out the number of rental companies that use them). In addition, there is a five-year/100,000-mile warranty that should eradicate any further concerns.
Safety & Security
The Hyundai i10 is packed with safety features, including electronic stability control and vehicle stability management, cruise control with speed limiter, six airbags, seatbelt reminders for all occupants, central locking and the reassurance that all three rear seats feature an ISOfix child seat anchor.
In addition, there are a number of driver aids some of which are fitted as standard and others are available as an optional extra. Systems include lane departure warning, a front collision warning system, hill-start assist control, tyre pressure monitoring and static bending lights.
The Hyundai i10 was awarded 4 starts out of 5 when it was tested for a Euro NCAP safety rating.