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New Hyundai i10 N Line 2020 review

A slightly livelier, slightly sportier version on the excellent Hyundai i10 city car makes lots of sense...

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The Hyundai i10 is a superb little city car. It’s crammed with technology and kit you don’t expect to see at this price point, while the addition of a new 1.0-litre turbo engine in this N Line model brings a welcome injection of performance. It’s not as fun to drive as the VW up! GTI, but it’s cheaper and you get a lot more car for your cash. 

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Rather than abandon the city car segment, like an increasing number of car brands are considering, Hyundai is strengthening its position in the segment by launching a slightly more sporting version of its all-new i10

But don’t get too excited, this N Line edition is far from an entry-level hot hatch. Under the bonnet is a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo engine developing 100bhp and 172Nm of torque that is paired to a five-speed manual gearbox. Its closest rival is the VW up! GTI, a car which has, so far, had this corner of the market to itself. 

The N Line trim brings with it a host of cosmetic tweaks such as a new front grille with integrated LED daytime running lights, 16-inch alloys, plenty of N Line badging, a dual-exit exhaust with chrome tips, as well as an N Line steering wheel and seats. The changes certainly make what is otherwise a slightly drab looking city car a lot more interesting. 

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The engine is the big news, however. The 1.0-litre turbo is a welcome addition to the i10 line-up, as the only existing options are the 1.0 and 1.2-litre naturally aspirated engines, which both lack a bit of punch even in a car as small as the i10. 

Hyundai says the new 1.0 T-GDi will cover 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds, so it’s not exactly quick. But that doesn’t tell the full story, as from a standstill, the engine gives the little i10 much improved performance thanks to the extra torque available lower down in the rev range. 

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Acceleration does begin to tail off at around 50mph, but the increased shove the turbo provides is certainly noticeable when trying to keep up with fast-moving traffic or overtaking on the motorway. One downside is that the i10 only gets a five-speed manual, while the up! GTI has a useful sixth gear for more refined motorway cruising. 

Rather surprisingly, Hyundai has also made a number of small chassis tweaks to the i10 N Line; spring rates have been increased and new shock absorbers with enhanced compression control have been added. The result is a car that rides and handles with impressive composure for its size; the ride is a little on the firm side but the suspension soaks up bumps pretty well, giving the i10 a real sense of maturity on the move. 

With more performance, this N Line i10 is a fun little car to drive, but it remains some way off the up! GTI for handling and ability. The steering lacks the sharpness of the VW’s, while the engine in the up! delivers superior performance. 

However, Hyundai has crammed its smallest model with a load of standard equipment. Air-conditioning, cruise control, a rear-view camera, an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB charging ports and Bluetooth feature. 

Then there's the amount of safety kit; lane departure warning, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, hill-start assist and a full suite of airbags are all standard-fit. The up! GTI doesn’t come close to matching the Hyundai here, and at £16,195 the i10 N Line also undercuts the up! GTI on price. 

Model:Hyundai i10 1.0 T-GDi N Line
Price:£16,195
Engine:1.0-litre 3-cyl turbo
Transmission:Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power/torque:100bhp/172Nm
0-62mph:10.5 seconds
Top speed:115mph
Economy:52.3mpg
CO2:123g/km
On sale:Now
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