Until a couple of years ago, the Hyundai i10 ruled the city car roost. Yet after a lengthy reign at the top it was ousted by the VW up! and then the Skoda Citigo. However, there’s now an all-new i10, and it’s out to reclaim its place at the top of the class.
Boasting sharper looks, a bigger, more upmarket interior and more grown-up driving dynamics, the newcomer promises to be the most desirable small car that money can buy. Yet Hyundai hasn’t lost sight of the car’s core appeal, so it offers great-value pricing, low running costs and the brand’s trademark five-year warranty.
Has the i10 done enough to take the spoils? To find out, we’ve pitched the new model against our current city car champ: the Skoda Citigo. This is practical and great to drive, and still sets the standard for refinement and comfort.
Better still, it’s currently available with enticing finance deals from as little as £69 a month. We’ve also brought along the Fiat Panda. It’s not as accomplished as the Skoda, but it’s full of Latin charm, looks great, is cleverly packaged and is bursting with character.
Adding to the Panda’s appeal are numerous personalisation options and an eager driving experience. So, which of our small cars can deliver the biggest blow in what promises to be one of the most closely fought tests of the year?
In-car tech ALL three of our cars are available with the sort of hi-tech kit you’d expect only on much bigger models. The Hyundai gets a USB port as standard, while the £175 Connectivity Pack adds Bluetooth and voice recognition. You’ll pay £265 for this on the Panda, plus £50 for a dock for a portable TomTom sat-nav. Best of all is the Skoda’s £275 Portable Information Device (below), which includes sat-nav, Bluetooth and an in-depth trip computer.
Of our three city cars, the Skoda and Hyundai are easiest on your wallet. They cost £20 a year in road tax and claim fuel returns of nearly 50mpg. Plus, the Citigo will retain 46.6 per cent of its value over three years.
Given their dinky dimensions, all three of our contenders are surprisingly practical. Yet it’s the Hyundai that steals a march in the space race. Rear passengers get a little more legroom than those in the Skoda, plus there are three seatbelts in the back – the Citigo and Panda have to make do with two. The i10 also has the biggest boot, at 252 litres – 37 litres more than the Panda’s. All three cars get a folding rear bench, but you’ll pay £50 for a split-fold function on the Fiat.
The competition is getting closer, but the Skoda is still the top city car choice. While it’s not quite as spacious as the Hyundai, it’s just as well equipped and cheaper to run. Overall, the brilliant driving experience gives the Citigo the edge, and the current £69 per month finance deal makes it even more appealing.
It's second place for the Hyundai, as it misses out on victory by the narrowest of margins. It looks good, is practical, has a classy interior and comes with plenty of kit. Plus, it’s backed by a great warranty and won’t cost very much to run. We just wish the driving experience had a little more sparkle.
Resisting the Fiat’s cheeky character is difficult – and in isolation the Panda impresses. Not only does it look great, it also features a comfortable ride and stylishly appointed cabin. But it costs more to buy and run than rivals, while its 1.2-litre engine is off the pace in both performance and efficiency.
|Skoda Citigo||Hyundai||Fiat Panda|
|1.0 SE||i10 1.0 SE||1.2 Easy|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£9,230/£9,230||£9,295/£9,925||£9,745/£11,345|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)||£4,301/46.6%||£4,146/44.6%||£4,161/42.7%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£239/£477||£240/£480||£310/£621|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,486/£2,476||£1,782/£2,970||£1,796/£2,993|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||1/£251/B/£20||1/£309/B/£20||4/£261/C/£30|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£529 (3yrs)||£349 (3yrs)||£209/£303/£209|
|Engine||3cyl in-line /999cc||3cyl in-line/998cc||4cyl in-line/1,242cc|
|Peak power||59/5,000 bhp/rpm||66/5,500 bhp/rpm||68/5,500 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque||95/3,000 Nm/rpm||95/3,500 Nm/rpm||102/3,000 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||5-spd man/fwd||5-spd man/fwd||5-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||35 litres/sealant||40 litres/sealant||37 litres/sealant|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||251/959 litres||252/1,046 litres||225/870 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||9.8 metres/0.33Cd||9.6 metres/0.31Cd||9.3 metres/0.32Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs||5yrs (unlimited)/5yrs||3yrs (100,000)/1yr|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||10,000 miles (1yr)/136||10,000 miles (1yr)/162||18,000 miles (2yr)/160|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||2nd/7th||14th/20th||30th/28th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||89/80/46/5||N/A||82/63/49/4|
|0-60/30-70mph||12.7/13.4 secs||14.1/15.6 secs||13.4/14.2 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||7.2/11.7 secs||7.1/12.0 secs||7.3/10.6 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th||18.8 secs||19.4 secs||20.7 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||99mph/3,200rpm||96mph/3,250rpm||102mph/3,100rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||65/52/60/68dB||70/40/64/73dB||61/43/64/73dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||48.1/10.6/370 miles||40.1/8.8/353 miles||39.8/8.8/324 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||136/105g/km/13%||163/108g/km/13%||164/120g/km/16%|
|Airbags/Isofix/rear parking sensors||Four/yes/£310^||Six/yes/£195||Four/yes/£250|
|Air-con/leather st wheel/heated seats||Yes/£180/£300||Yes/no/no||Yes/£105/£250|
|Automatic box/stability/cruise control||£665/yes/£310^||No/yes/£50||£750/£315/no|
|Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go||£490/no/no||£455/no/no||£460/no/no|