Used Hyundai i10 (Mk2, 2014-2019) review - What’s it like to drive?

Assured handling and decent refinement combine with peppy engines to deliver an impressively grown-up driving experience

You don’t expect a small car to be comfortable and quiet on the move, but the capable Hyundai is a more mature performer than most. Yet its dinky dimensions and eager petrol engines mean it’s as nimble and easy to drive as any city car.

Engines and performance

Picking from the i10’s two engines is easy if you live in town – go for the small one. Even though the 1.0-litre has only 65bhp, it’s lively, quick to rev and emits a pleasant little three-cylinder thrum when you push it hard. It’s also fractionally lighter than the 1.2 (by 10kg), and it’s certainly more tax-efficient.

Out in the real world, the Hyundai feels lively enough around town and can just about keep up with fast-flowing traffic on open roads. The engine is quite smooth, if not as refined as similar three-cylinder units found in rivals. It also feels a little breathless when extended, which means shifting up early using the slick five-speed manual is the best bet.

Those who spend a lot of time on motorways may find the 1.2's extra torque and cruising refinement worth the loss of fuel economy and character, but the 1.0-litre isn't totally out of its depth at speed. The 1.2 still isn't anything approaching fast, either, especially when fitted with the sluggish four-speed automatic gearbox.

On the road

The Hyundai has decent driving dynamics: it handles quite tidily and the ride quality is fairly comfortable for such a small and light car. Plus, it doesn’t feel out of its depth when dicing with HGVs and SUVs on the motorway; wind and road noise are isolated well, although the VW-group trio of city cars is more refined still.

There’s also more wind and tyre roar than in city car rivals. It’s far from deafening, and the car is more than capable on the motorway, but rivals have the edge for cruising comfort. As with the Kia Picanto, the Hyundai i10 can’t match the VW Up for driver appeal. The i10 feels composed through a series of bends, with good grip and direct steering, but there’s little feedback via the light controls.

On the plus side, it’s easy to drive in town, while compact dimensions and good visibility make it easy to park. Potholes and sharp ridges shudder through the structure, but in all other situations the i10 rides well.

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