Hyundai has its i on the prize

Hyundai i10

Hyundai i10

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New car review

Hyundai i10

by Andy Enright

Hyundai is looking for its i10 city car to step up from being merely branded good value for money to being considered best in class - or thereabouts.

With smart styling, plenty of pace inside, strong equipment levels and a focus on refinement, it’s in with a genuine shot.

Hyundai didn’t go big on choice when the first i10 was launched. Everyone got a 67PS 1.1-litre petrol engine and that was their lot.

That engine was subsequently upgraded to a 1.2-litre powerplant and it’s this unit that carries over into the latest car, albeit mildly tweaked to offer better efficiency numbers and now developing 87PS, good for 62mph in 12.3s on the way to 106mph.

Customers are also offered a 66PS 1.0-litre engine at the entry level which makes 62mph in 14.9s on the way to 96mph.

Hyundai are probably keeping their fingers crossed for ‘Scrappage Scheme: The Sequel’ because the 1.0-litre car could well be a big beneficiary.

There’s still no diesel engine offered and it’s probably a sound decision. Buyers of this type of car rarely rack up enough miles to make the incremental cost of buying a diesel work out versus the savings they’d see in fuel bills.

The latest model has targeted improving refinement as a key priority. The suspension has been given a thorough working over to improve ride quality and reduce noise.

The longer wheelbase and better quality relocated dampers will help here, improving body control over road imperfections.

The key difference between this car and its predecessor is that whereas the old design was a model created largely for emerging markets and was built in India, the latest car is a little more tailored to European tastes.

As with 95 per cent of Hyundai cars sold in Europe, this i10 has been designed and developed at the Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Centre in Rsselsheim, Germany, and is built at Hyundai’s factory in Izmit, Turkey.

Understanding this is key to figuring out why Hyundai is doing so well across our continent. With the i10 now on stream, over 90 per cent of Hyundai cars sold in Europe are also built in the region.

The company may be Korean, but to all intents and purposes, this is a European car designed for European customers.

The Hyundai i10 might be an inexpensive car, but it’s also a hugely significant one. When conditions are tough, buyers increasingly look to limit their expenditure and often downsize their automotive choices. Into something like a citycar of this sort? Perhaps.

There’s certainly more temptation to do so now that models of this kind offer the sort of fit, finish, refinement and equipment that we used to expect in a good family hatch.

The i10 is a good example of this trend, also offering tidy styling, plenty of space inside and low running costs.

Add in a strong level of standard kit and a competitive warranty arrangement and the i10 looks able to compete with the class best even when it’s pitched at much the same price as them.

That’s a clear statement of intent from Hyundai. It’s evidence of real confidence in their product and the Koreans are bullish about its prospects. After a first look, it appears their optimism may be well-founded.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

CAR: Hyundai i10

PRICES: £8,345-£10,495

INSURANCE GROUPS: 10-12 (est)

CO2 EMISSIONS: 98-142g/km

PERFORMANCE: (1.2) Max Speed 106mph/0-60mph 12.3s

FUEL CONSUMPTION: (1.2) 64mpg (est)

STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: twin front, side and curtain airbags, ABS, stability control

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE? length/width/height mm 3645/1660/1490