Kia Picanto vs Hyundai i10

Kia Picanto vs Hyundai i10 header
24 Jun, 2011 5:47pm

Which is the king of the urban jungle: Kia’s new Picanto or the Hyundai i10?

Small cars are big news in the city, and two Korean brands dominate the urban landscape. Hyundai has long led the way, but Kia’s latest arrival is aiming to topple its competitor, thanks to a thorough overhaul.

The all-new Picanto is bigger and better than ever, boasting fresh underpinnings and a more luxurious cabin. It will need all the help it can get to trump its Hyundai sister model, though. The i10 is a towering presence in the city car sector, and was given a makeover earlier this year in preparation for this very encounter, so it boasts updated looks of its own. 

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Kia Picanto


To find our winner, we took to the gridlocked streets of London’s Docklands, before heading out of town to put our two contenders through their paces. First in the queue at the traffic lights was the top-of-the-range Picanto 3, complete with a 1.25-litre petrol engine – that’s exactly the same unit as is found under the bonnet of the Hyundai.

The flagship i10 Style is a lot cheaper than the Picanto, but doesn’t have as much high-quality kit. Will this determine the outcome of our test, or will the Kia’s talents come at too high a price?

After a day of stop-start driving around the capital, plus higher-speed fun on rural roads, we have the answer.

Verdict

With so much in common, there’s little to choose between these two models – but the flagship versions highlight major differences. The new Picanto is a big improvement over its predecessor; distinctive looks and a high-quality cabin make it a real force to be reckoned with in the city car class again. It also comes loaded with big-car kit, albeit at a hefty price – for the cost of the top-spec Picanto 3, you could buy a bona fide supermini instead. In contrast, the Hyundai plays to its strengths, mixing a spacious and well appointed interior with strong performance, tidy handling and very attractive prices. As a result, the i10 pulls off a narrow win, but the margin of victory is small. Lesser versions of the two cars are even more closely matched – and, on this evidence, buyers won’t feel disappointed by either of our contenders.

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Just had exactly the debate in your road test. However in Central London getting 100g CO2 or less is key. Choice therefore is i10 Blue or either 1 litre or 1.25 Eco Dynamics Kia. For me it is a no brainer - the 1.25 Kia costs £1000 more but offers a better drive with more power, ESC and bluetooth as standard and, in my view, looks far better.

Just had exactly the debate in your road test. However in Central London getting 100g CO2 or less is key. Choice therefore is i10 Blue or either 1 litre or 1.25 Eco Dynamics Kia. For me it is a no brainer - the 1.25 Kia costs £1000 more but offers a better drive with more power, ESC and bluetooth as standard and, in my view, looks far better.

The i10, in its updated form is an attractive proposition particularly in Style spec. Personally, the 7 year warranty and an under 100g CO2 would make me go for the Picanto 2 with the 1 litre engine. I don't do a big mileage and rarely use motorways, so the smaller engine makes sense. These two cars are definitely worth looking at, although the i10 seems a bit "grey pound" whereas the Picanto looks very modern. I'm waiting for the 3 door Picanto later in the year, then I'll make my mind up.

Not wanting to wait for the new Picanto to come out, my wife bought a pre-facelift i10 Comfort earlier this year on a special run-out deal for just over £7,000. She had also considered a Czech-made Toyota Aygo but the Indian-built Hyundai was better-constructed, better-equipped and a complete no-brainer at the price. It’s absolutely excellent and at least as well-put-together as the Honda Jazz she had before. Meanwhile I've been well impressed with the old-model Picanto as a loan-car while my Sedona's been in for servicing. The choice between these two newer models is, I think, dependent partly on aesthetics, equipment and length of warranty, but I’d say mostly on the location, convenience and general reputation of the buyer’s local dealership. In their market sector I’m very confident that a purchaser would be equally happy with either model.

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