New Hyundai i10 first drive

Hyundai i10Hyundai’s new generation i10 five door compact hatchback is classed as a City Car but it’s just as capable of coping with longer journeys on the open road,

at least the 1.2-litre versions are.

The i10 is Hyundai’s best selling model range and takes a large share of their sales. Last year the South Korean brand recorded another record year of UK new car sales with over 77,000 registrations. The buying public like the style, they like the prices and they like the 5-year warranty and care package – right cars at the right price at the right time in fact.  Competitors of the i10 include the Fiat Panda and the Volkswagen Up.

The appeal of the new i10 launch earlier this year is about functionality.   It’s roomier than the first generation model but it still has a compact length of 3,665mm, the width is a little more as well at 1,660mm and there is lots of headroom due to the 1,500mm of height. It all adds up to making easy to live with and easy on the pocket transport with prices starting from £8,345 and going up to £10,495.

Hyundai i10There is the choice of two petrol engines, a 1.0-litre three cylinder, 65bhp unit and the better selling 1.2-litre, 86bhp, four cylinder engine.  There is the choice of S, the best selling SE and Premium spec levels depending on the engine chosen but customers can order S Air for the 1.0-litre engine option which adds air conditioning and costs £650 more the starter-model price.  There is also a SE Blue Drive version with intelligent Stop & Go which uses the 1.0-litre engine but has the CO2 emissions reduced from 108g/km to 98g/km but the price goes up to £9,595.   Insurance costs are low as the 1.0-litre models are generally rated as Group 1 and the 1.2-litre models as Group 4.

The best selling version I tested was the 1.2-litre SE priced at £9,795 with CO2 emissions of 114g/km.  This means that VED road tax is £0 for the First Year rate and then only £30 for the Second Year onwards.  There is also an automatic gearbox option for this model which costs £10,495.  This version also sees the CO2 emissions go up considerably to 142g/km so the road tax is increased to £145 for every year. 

As for fuel economy, the Combined Cycle figure for the 1.0-litre engine is 60.1mpg and 57.6mpg for the 1.2 manual.  On my test drive the 1.2-litre unit with its 5-speed manual gearbox returned a real-life 46.8mpg.  I think this was good as my driving involved nearly 200-miles of motorway travel at the maximum legal speed as well as another 100 miles or so of rural road and town travel.  

The prices might be budget but the specification is realistic with the cheapest models having six airbags, central door locking, front electric windows, ISOFIX anchorage points, trip computer, electronic stability and anti lock braking plus a radio/CD unit. The SE has 14-inch steel wheels with trims, air con, electric rear windows, electric operated and heated door mirrors, driver’s seat height adjustment and remote central locking.  The top Premium models gains include 14-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel controls, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights and rear speakers. The Premium spec costs £700 more than the SE level which looks attractive if the i10 is the main car rather than the shopping runabout and it’s quite capable of being both.

The interior of the latest i10 is much improved over the old model. It’s not plush but it looks and feels more polished. Yes the plastics are hard but they are textured to add interest and they seem to fit well.  The controls are all well positioned so the radio/CD unit is easy to see and use as are the centre positioned heater controls.  The extra width Hyundai i10Hyundai i10Hyundai i10of this generation i10 gives noticeably more space up front but the increase in body length doesn’t appear to have added very much more legroom for the two rear seat passengers.  Headroom however is good front and rear and thankfully practical boxy styling means rear and rear quarter visibility is also good.  At the rear a wide tailgate gives easy access to the boot although there is a high rear sill that bags have to be lifted over.  There are 252-litres of boot space with the rear seats raised but fold down the seat backs onto their bases and this goes up to 1,046-litres. It’s just a pity the seat backs don’t fold flat.  There is no spare wheel as standard so an inflation kit is provided which sits under the boot floor but for £50 a space-saver spare wheel can be supplied but a dealer might provide it FOC to clinch the deal.

Because the i10 can be more than a City Car I’d advise opting for the 1.2-litre, four cylinder engine over the 1.0-litre triple unit. It not only gives more power, 86bhp over 65bhp, it gives more torque at 88lb ft over 69lb ft. That makes the power delivery more linear and generally responsive mid range and not stressed even at motorway cruising speeds.  The engine worked well with the five-speed gearbox. Reverse gear was sometimes difficult to engage when cold.   Top speed is 109mph and zero to 62mph takes 12.3 seconds. I suspect in real-life the 1.2-litre engine will be more economical in its fuel use as it will be ‘worked’ less than the 1.0-litre unit to maintain cruising speeds.  It was quiet as well considering its free-revving nature. 

On the down-side with the absence of engine noise there was considerable tyre noise intrusion due to our rough and worn-out road surfaces.  That said the suspension did a good job at absorbing all but the worst potholes and the ride comfort was perfectly acceptable – better than many larger cars in fact.   Being a tall-ish, short wheelbase car the i10 is prone to side-wind gusting on motorways and the height of the car does produce some body-roll during cornering but felt more planted with the extra weight of passengers on-board.

It is easy to understand why the new i10 has been such a popular car with customers and has been the recipient of many media awards. It is a smart buy for those wanting a small main car, a low cost runabout or an affordable to insure first car.  It ticks lots of boxes and remains the right car at the right price at the right time for our cost-conscious motoring era.

Currently to sweeten the purchasing process Hyundai are giving a £250 deposit contribution for i10 models to go with a £500 deposit from the buyer. Under their PCP terms for the 1.2 SE version as tested that leaves 35 monthly payments of £166.47 with an APR rate of 5.9%. There is of course the usual optional final ‘bubble’ payment or hand the car back at the end of the contract purchase term.    It adds up to affordable new City Car ownership.

MILESTONES. Hyundai i10 1.2 SE 5-Door City Car. Price: £9,795.  Engine/transmission: 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder, petrol 86bhp, 88lb ft at 4,000rpm, 5-speed manual. Performance: 109mp[h, 0-62mph 12.3 seconds. 57.7mpg Combined Cycle (46.8mpg on test), VED road tax £0 First Year rate then £30 Year Two onwards, BIK company car tax 14%. Insurance group: 4. Warranty: 5-years unlimited mileage.  Service Care 5-year package: £649. Boot/load space: 252 to 1,046-litres. For:  Improved interior space, nicer interior quality, better driving manners, engine copes well with motorway cruising speeds, value for money, long warranty, more than just a City Car. Against:  Tyre noise intrusion, sticky reverse gear selector when cold, high boot sill, no spare wheel as standard.   Miles better news agency

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