New Hyundai i10

5 Mar, 2008 3:46am Owen Mildenhall

The Korean company's new supermini has the quality, kit and price to beat the best.

Verdict

Hyundai hopes to double its market share in the city car class with the i10. And we think it deserves to, as the newcomer is well built, inoffensively styled and practical. It’s easy and entertaining to drive, while the 1.1-litre engine offers peppy performance. The unit becomes a bit coarse higher up in the revs, and the ride is a little firm, but with generous equipment and an unbeatable five-year warranty, this car represents outstanding value for money.
Meet the smart city car that Hyundai wants everyone to pay attention to!

On sale next month, the new model replaces the Amica, and aims to offer quality and value in a pocket-sized package, while taking a huge leap forward in finish and design.

The newcomer is built in India, and is powered by a 1.1-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. There’s also a choice of Classic, Style and Comfort trims.

Equipment levels are good when you consider the low price. Even the £6,495 entry-level Classic model we drove gets side airbags, central locking, air-conditioning and a CD player as standard. And Hyundai’s five-year unlimited mileage warranty guarantees hassle-free motoring. But crucially, the i10 looks well built. Even though it’s very basic, the body and interior feel robust and soundly engineered.

Thanks to the narrow track and high roofline, the car looks similar to the i30 hatch from the front, but it’s less attractive in profile. Still, the five-door layout helps practicality.

There’s a decent amount of space inside, with enough legroom in the rear for adults to sit comfortably. Unlike rivals, the i10’s back seats split and fold, while you get three rear belts and a full complement of headrests.

Up front, the dashboard design is modern, while the materials used are impressive for a model in this price range. The high-mounted stereo is excellent, with big buttons and a CD player, as well as compatibility with MP3 players. What’s more, the thin-rimmed steering wheel adjusts for height, and the gearlever is perfectly placed on the dashboard.

Light controls ensure the Hyundai is extremely easy to drive, and with a tight turning circle and excellent visibility, it boasts all the key attributes a great city car requires.

The 1.1-litre engine delivers keen throttle response, making sure the i10 is nippy through traffic. Combine this with responsive steering, progressive brakes and a tidy gearshift, and the new Hyundai is fun and easy to drive.

Even so, it’s worth pointing out that those buyers who want the ultimate in luxurious road manners could be disappointed. The engine does get a little coarse the higher in the revs you go, and the ride tends to be on the firm side. However, the stiff suspension means you’ll have no reason to avoid the motorway, because the i10 always feels stable and secure.

Still, this is another example of the Korean brand’s ever-improving products. It’s a great little city car, offering no-frills motoring at its very best.

Rival: Fiat PandaThe Panda offers interior space on a par with the i10’s, but its ride is more supple. Add great looks and a cheeky image, and the Fiat is a strong choice. The trouble is, it trails the Hyundai for standard kit, and has a dated dash design.

Key specs

* Price: £6,495
* Engine: 1.1-litre 4cyl
* Power: 65bhp
* Economy: 56.5mpg
* CO2: 119g/km
* Standard equipment: Central locking, air-conditioning, side airbags, CD player with MP3 socket, rev counter
* On sale: April

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