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In-depth reviews

Hyundai i10 - Engines, performance and drive

The Hyundai i10 feels mature and refined on the road, however automatic versions should be avoided at all costs

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£15,400 to £18,950
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The Hyundai i10 feels as mature and refined to drive as you’d think based on its understated, sensible appearance. The ride is smooth and considerably more comfortable than the Toyota Aygo X, plus the long fifth gear in the transmission and well-suppressed wind noise means that it’s a more relaxed cruiser than the Toyota too, based on our experience. 

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We won’t say the standard i10 is fun to drive, as there’s some body roll when cornering, and the tyres don’t deliver quite as much grip as the ones on the Aygo X. However, the steering is light and being the size of a shoe means the i10 is an absolute doddle to drive around town, and you’ll never struggle to find a parking space to slot it into.

The sportier i10 N Line offers more driving thrills, as it gets tuned suspension and steering, and a more powerful turbocharged engine. The steering has just enough weight to it so you feel like you’re muscling the car around corners, but still light enough so low-speed manoeuvres remain easy. Of course the i10’s dinky dimensions allow it to also change direction quickly, making it feel very agile.

The firmer ride in the N Line version did make the car feel lively when we were snaking through the countryside on smooth tarmac, but on rougher road surfaces, the ride became quite bouncy. Anyone in the back has it worse because they’re positioned directly over the rear axle, with passengers we took for a ride complaining they could feel every bump and pothole we hit.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

Outright performance won’t be a key consideration for those looking for a city car, and the i10 is much more suited to life in urban traffic. The most basic 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol offered in the i10 produces just 66bhp and 96Nm of torque. This engine is not happy being revved, which means the i10 doesn’t feel as lively as some of its more dynamic rivals, but reasonable levels of torque mean it’s more flexible in the mid-range.

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Paired with the standard five-speed manual gearbox, the bog-standard i10 is a particularly slow sprinter, taking 14.8 seconds from 0-62mph. Customers opting for the automated manual will probably never see the speedo reach 62mph, as it takes a ridiculously lethargic 17.8 seconds to reach the mark from standstill. 

Our advice is clear: avoid the Hyundai i10 with an automated manual transmission if you value the ability to keep pace with traffic. The top speed on this model is virtually redundant, but it can reach a theoretical 97mph, if you can find a long enough road.

We’d recommend sticking with the five-speed manual, but upgrading to the slightly larger 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. This produces 83bhp and 118Nm of torque, which is a little more persuasive, while also reducing the i10’s 0-62mph down to 12.6 seconds. It ups the top speed to 106mph, too.

Unsurprisingly, the quickest of the bunch is the i10 N Line, which gets an exclusive 1.0-litre turbocharged three-pot motor that pumps out 99bhp and 172Nm of torque. It might not sound like a lot, but it’s plenty to fling the little N Line from 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds and onto a top speed of 115mph. It’ll also have the front tyres scrabbling for grip when tearing away from a junction and provides a rowdy exhaust note that perfectly compliments the car’s boy racer look.

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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