Hyundai’s new i10 an easy drive

Road test: Hyundai i10 1.2 SE 87PS

Rising fuel costs, salaries struggling to keep up with inflation, soaring insurance premiums: all great reasons to run small cars. There has never been a wider variety to choose from and this means competition is high so consumers can demand the very best. Certainly, there is no excuse for compromising style, function or efficiency.

Tidily conservative

Hyundai has just freshened its i10 and it is has been our run-around this week but how does it fare? Our first impression of the powder blue (‘Montano Sky’) car is that it is clean-looking and contemporary although bereft of much in the way of distinctive features. If anything, there is a hint of Peugeot 107 about the nose but otherwise styling is tidily conservative.

Sitting inside, there are neat, blue panels in the doors, on the seats and on the dashboard – a different colour (more of a royal blue) to the outside but smart and well-fitted. The alternative option is orange . The layout is simple and pleasing – without looking too basic – and the instruments are probably the clearest I have seen on any car. Functionally, all the controls are intuitive and have a positive feel.

Bites hard

On the move, the straight-forward look and feel is echoed in the driving experience: slick and positive gear changes and light pedal action. Acceleration is brisk enough with this 1.2 87PS petrol engine, although it’s all power rather than torque: some of the steeper Pennine inclines necessitate a down-change. Enthusiastic acceleration is often rewarded by a slight loss of traction, possibly due to lower rolling resistance tyres but it did seem so lose grip more often than I would have expected. Of note are the brakes which are exceptionally keen. The first part of the pedal travel is reasonably progressive. Then they just bite hard.

Although fitted with just a five-speed ‘box, the i10 bowls along quite happily on the motorway.  Vibration and wind noise are all very well controlled but there is some road noise which works its way into the cabin, even at lower speeds.

Our little SE-trimmed Hyundai is well kitted-out, too. There are places to plug MP3 players in, a couple of 12Vsockets, electric windows all round and electrically adjustable mirrors. The entry S model has most of the equipment here (excepting rear electric windows), although we’d draw the line at the absent air conditioning; the mid spec. S Air bridges that gap. The only thing it could do with (and we’re being picky, here) is an intermittent rear wiper; it’s on constantly or off completely. Space-wise, it is good, too, with a sensible balance between rear passenger leg room and boot capacity (sufficient for a large weekly shop).

How does it stack up?

Functionally and price-wise, it is spot-on. On the down-side, while it is easy to drive, it isn’t as much fun as, say, a Ford Fiesta or Suzuki Swift; nor does it quite have the charisma. In summary, as a head-over-heart choice, the i10 is a winner and will be a very easy car to live with.

2014 Hyundai i10 1.2 SE 87PS, £9,795 (plus £455 for the paint). Range starts at £8,345.

Power: 87 PS (@ 6,000 rpm), torque: 120 Nm (@ 4,000 rpm), emissions: 114 g/km CO2 (band C), 0-60 mph: 12.3 secs.

Motor Writer rating: ●●●●○

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