Hyundai i10 facelift

7 Feb, 2011 9:55am Graeme Lambert

Mid-life refresh breathes new life into Korean company’s big-selling city car, but do the changes improve the overall package?


The Hyundai i10 is a worthy class leader – and this revised model strengthens the car’s position at the top. Not only is it cheap to buy and run, but it comes with added peace of mind from the company’s five-year warranty package. Some buyers may be deterred by the looks, but once you discover how good the i10 is to drive, plus how spacious and well equipped the interior is, it’s hard not to be smitten.
Ten is Hyundai’s lucky number! In 2010, it sold more than 19,500 examples of the i10 to private buyers – beating Fiat’s 500 to the title of the UK’s most popular city car. But instead of resting on its laurels, the firm has just given the model a mid-life refresh.
The styling revisions are subtle, with the headlights, bumper and grille all being reprofiled – the latter now follows the hexagonal shape seen on the ix35. Colour-coded side mouldings feature, while the rear bumper, lights and alloy wheels have been reworked. The design is certainly improved as a result, although the i10 still isn’t exactly stylish, with its slab sides and small wheels. 

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Hyundai i10

Inside are some minor detail changes. The instrument cluster has been freshened up, and the display screens now feature blue lighting. There’s a new cup-holder for rear passengers and all the cabin textiles have been upgraded and redesigned. 

Thankfully, the previous car’s generous standard spec is carried over, as is the overall quality of the fit and finish. Every model features air-conditioning, electric windows, a six-speaker stereo and four airbags. 

It all feels grown-up inside, and you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in a much larger car – partly due to the room on offer. Rear seat passengers are surprisingly well catered for, and while the boot isn’t massive, the underfloor storage tray on our Style model makes the available space much more useful.

The 1.25-litre petrol engine has been boosted by 10bhp to 85bhp, and promises 61.4mpg fuel economy and 108g/km CO2 emissions. Performance is acceptable, and only out of town does the Hyundai feel underpowered.

Steering weight is consistent, though, and the five-speed gearbox is precise. Ride comfort impresses, too, thanks to a long wheelbase for the class, grip is good and the brakes are strong.

Adding to the appeal, all i10s now get Hyundai’s five-year Triple Care warranty deal. This includes an unlimited mileage warranty, roadside assistance and vehicle health checks for five years. 

The city car was already an Auto Express favourite, and these revisions have made it one of the most convincing products from the brand – and indeed in the sector.

Rival: Fiat 500 1.2 Pop
Entry-level 500 costs £9,665, and has the kind of charm and style the i10 just can’t match. However, it’s not as spacious, and you’ll have to pay extra for air-con and alloy wheels.

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At first glance I was reminded of the old fourth generation Daihatsu Mira - a neat package with clean lines. The update, although subtle has clearly resulted in a good (if safe) looking car.
I am puzzled though that the reviewer considered its 85bhp engine underpowered for out of town driving. My old Alfa Romeo Alfasud had 85bhp and was an absolute joy on the open road; mind you, it could not in its wildest dreams return up to 61mpg. So is it the car's gearing or is the car unusually heavy that its engine's output is insufficient for keeping up with traffic on the open road?
I do find this a bit odd as thirty years ago 40bhp was considered underpowered, yet bnow that figure is twice that!

I am hoping to get an i10 (1.25 model) in June. I already own an Atoz from 2000 which I shall be keeping also. This older model has 56bhp from a 1.0 engine and while its isn't a street racer, I find it very nippy and willing to rev, with good acceleration. So why is it that a 1.25 developing 85bhp is considered as underpowered and that ts performance is adequate? Puzzling to say the least! I have not yet gone for a test drive so i have no first hand experience, but I am sure that the performance figures being quoted, i.e. 0-62mph in 11.8 sec (sometimes quoted as 12.2 sec) and a top speed of 105mph, mean that this car 'performs' more than adequately!

Any input anyone?



l have an Amica GLX! It looks like it's been hewn out of stone and drive Fred Flintstone. People squint at it and smile.
l drive it out of spite BUT it's a cracking little car
My wife recently changed her Fiat for an Hyundai i10 in white
with a bit of arm twisting from me
Simply the best value, best warranty, and if not the best then one of the best rides in it's class
People don't come up to the car ,smile and sqint as they do to my Amica
The only thought is do l really want everyone to how good this car is

Key specs

* Price: £9,345
* Engine: 1.25-litre 4cyl petrol
* Power: 85bhp
* Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
* 0-62mph: 12.3 seconds
* Top speed: 105mph
* Economy: 61.4mpg
* CO2: 108g/km
* Equipment: Air conditioning, electric windows, USB/iPod connection, heated seats, alloy wheels and electric sunroof
* On sale: March