The all-new Hyundai i10 city car sets new standards for the classVerdict4.5There are two ways you can look at the Hyundai i10. Viewed as a rival for the VW up!, it looks slightly pricey in higher trim levels, but makes up for it with vastly superior kit and safety tech. On the other hand, it’s so spacious and practical for the class that it’ll be more than adequate for most supermini buyers. All things considered, the comfortable and frugal i10 makes a strong case for itself.
This is the third-generation Hyundai i10 – a city car that competes in a class that the Volkswagen up! has dominated for some time. But this time, Hyundai is taking the fight to the up! armed with a tiny tech fest.
Prices for what Hyundai claims is the most high-tech A-segment car ever start from £12,495 – just a few quid more than the basic VW – but top spec versions climb to £15,495, which is almost as much as a turbocharged up! GTI. So what exactly do you get for the cash, and is it worth it?
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The i10 is pretty much a clean sheet design compared with its predecessor, though it looks fairly familiar from the outside. Sharp headlights and body surfacing give it a fresher look, while the body has grown 20mm wider and 20mm lower, lending the third-generation model a sportier stance. Top-spec Premium versions now get 16-inch wheels (an inch up on the old model) and the option of a contrasting roof in red or black.
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The new i10 is just 5mm longer than its predecessor, but crucially 130mm longer than an up!. But the i10’s most significant change comes from the wheelbase, which has increased by 40mm.
This really pays dividends inside. The previous i10’s cabin wasn’t pokey by any measure, but the new car has the rear legroom to rival some cars from the class above. Electric windows are standard in the back, and the big glass area winds all the way into the doors. Compared with the small, hinged rear windows you get in the Up, it makes the i10 feel much more airy. The boot is unchanged in size at 252 litres, but that’s still a class-leading figure – and only 40 litres short of a Ford Fiesta.
The new dash keeps the raised gear lever position of the old model, but gets a slicker dashboard design inspired by the Kona crossover. The plastics are hard and scratchy (much like any other city car) but everything feels sturdy enough.
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From launch, the i10 comes with a choice of two engines. The 1.0 and 1.2-litre petrol units are both carried over almost much unchanged from the old car, but both now get stop-start tech as standard to help reduce CO2 emissions. The 1.0-litre has 66bhp, and starts to struggle a bit when you get out of town, but that’s still 7bhp more than the only petrol option available in the up!. We’d still go for the higher-power petrol instead – it’s £500 more expensive than the 1.0, and with 83bhp it can even cope with the occasional motorway journey. Both are also available with an automatic gearbox, but we’d avoid it unless you really need a self-shifter; it feels like you’ve got a nervous learner driver working the gears on your behalf.
Auto gearbox or not, long distances are something that the i10’s chassis is more than happy to do. It’s stable and comfortable at speed, again feeling more like a supermini than a typical city car. The ride remains fairly composed at lower speeds, too.
And being so small and light, it’s a fairly fun car to drive. Hyundai engineers have fitted a quicker steering rack this time around, and it means the i10 feels more agile through the corners. While the last car had steering so light that it was a little disconcerting at speed, the new model strikes the right balance between inspiring a little more confidence along a twisty road, while still being light enough to make parking a doddle.
And parking is a feat made even easier than before thanks to the availability of both rear parking sensors and a reversing camera – just two very un-city car-like features among a comprehensive kit list. This is most obvious when it comes to the safety tech; all i10 models come with autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, tyre pressure monitoring and driver attention alert.
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There are three trim levels to choose from: SE, SE Connect and Premium. While the base model gets a small LCD display for audio functions, the other two get a big, bright eight-inch touchscreen complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s a really slick system, and the physical shortcut buttons around the outside of the display means that it’s easy to use.
Spend an extra £1,000, and the Premium model adds a tech pack, complete with built-in sat-nav, wireless phone charging, intelligent speed limit warning and a telematics app which lets you send route data to the car directly from your smartphone. By contrast, the up! makes do with a rudimentary phone cradle on the dash, and the Fiat 500 suffers from a clunky infotainment set-up in a choice of five or seven-inch displays.
A leather steering wheel, cruise control, heated mirrors and air conditioning are standard on all trims. Mid-range SE Connect models are priced from £13,495, with upgrades over the base-model including a four-speaker stereo and that eight-inch display, which includes a reversing camera. For an extra £1,000, the Premium adds 16-inch wheels, plus heated seats and steering wheel. All are features that were pretty much unheard of in this class, until now.
- Model: Hyundai i10 1.2 MPi Premium
- Price: £14,995
- Engine: 1.2-litre 4cyl petrol
- Power/torque: 83bhp/118Nm
- Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
- 0-62mph: 12.6 seconds
- Top speed: 106mph
- Economy/CO2: 55.4mpg/105g/km
- On sale: Now
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