On the road in the New Generation i10 with Neil Lyndon

A Review of Hyundai’s New Generation i10

In Car Reviews, Hyundai by Neil Lyndon

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  • New-Generation-i10-Hyundai-Badge-2
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The i10 is not merely the best little car of the year.

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At the beginning of 2014, I wrote, “The year is still new but 2014 will need to be extra special if it is to produce a little car that is more of a belter than Hyundai’s new i10.”


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Now that the year is coming to its end and the i10 has come to me for a week’s loan, I’d like to add a few words to that thought.

 

The i10 is not merely the best little car of the year. For value for money, for engineering excellence in build and finish, for driver satisfaction and passenger comfort, the Hyundai i10 has a fair claim to have been the car of the year, in any and all categories

The car market teems with excellent city cars or urban minis – in the same class as Ford’s Fiesta and Volkswagen’s Up  – as profusely as the Marrakech soukh abounds with wooden boxes. Compared with mass-produced cars even 20 years ago, these products are astounding for their reliability, their build quality, their dynamic attributes and the depths of comfort and refinement they offer.

The new Hyundai i10 is up there with the best of them.

That statement ought not to raise eyebrows any longer; but there probably are still some people in the West who do not realise that the giant Korean chaebol comprised of Hyundai and Kia is now making cars as good as any in the world. Readers whose picture of Hyundai was formed by the BL-inspired Pony of the 1970s or the Mitsubishi-branded Spacewagon of the 1990s may still have to suppress a shiver of horror when they hear the word Hyundai. Such victim/survivors may need to be led gently to the i10 with soothing words and comforting caresses.

Reassurance begins with Hyundai’s approach to pricing for the i10. The final price that they charge the customer is within a whisker of the amount at which they advertise the car. Given the flesh-tearing habits of European car companies in adding extras that gouge holes in your pocket and your purse, this is a refreshing change. In the 1.2 version I borrowed, for example, the “on-the-road” price should be £10110; but metallic paint had been added, along with a “Connectivity Pack” including Bluetooth with voice recognition and audio controls on the steering wheel. Those optional extras added £670 to the price; but the list of standard equipment on this car stretches from here to the edge of eternity and includes masses of stuff for which other companies charge extra – such as six airbags, air-conditioning, trip computer and remote central locking.

No products in the car market are more sensitive to price than city cars. Customers may be swayed in their choices by a few hundred pounds here or there. So it’s sensible of Hyundai to put the new i10 on sale at prices close to or even less than they were charging for the model it succeeds. For people living on fixed incomes, pensions or savings such non-inflationary pricing is like the milk of human kindness.

Neither does the i10 purchaser have to suffer the automotive equivalent of prison gruel in exchange for such austere pricing. Designed in Germany and assembled in Turkey, the i10 has been composed to lift spirits, inside and out. It even includes a little design jeu d’esprit in the form of a rear quarter-light that looks like the original Mercedes A-Class. Because function narrowly determines form for such tiny cars, the overall shape of the i10’s five-door hatchback body follows the mould of Corsa/Polo/Fiesta; but it has been enlivened with asymmetric light mouldings at the front end and swoopy scuff plates above the sills. Hard plastics in cheerily contrasting colours complement the upholstery inside the car where there is good space for four adults – though better for adults in the front and children in the back.

The 1.2 litre version might be the better choice for any driver who needs to travel regularly on motorways; but most others would benefit from the cheaper and livelier three-cylinder, one litre petrol engine. Like the latest equivalents from Ford, VW and the PSA group, this three-pot engine is delightfully energetic and willing, with plenty of torque or pulling power in its mid-range. It’s also beautifully quiet.

Our i10 was not, however, quite so economical with fuel as the makers officially claim. Driven normally, the test car barely topped 50 mpg. Hyundai claim 57.6. Again, they deserve a laurel or two for naming a figure that’s within another whisker of the truth.

That genuineness alone wouldn’t make the New Generation i10 the car of the year but it’s one of the little things that all add up to putting this car in a class of its own.

About the Author
Neil Lyndon

Neil Lyndon

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Neil Lyndon has been a journalist, broadcaster and writer on the UK's national stage for 40 years, writing for every "quality" newspaper on Fleet Street. He started writing about cars and motorbikes for The Sunday Times in the 1980s and was Motoring Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph for 20 years, having previously written a column on motorbikes for Esquire. He is also recognised as a leading commentator on gender politics, having published No More Sex War in 1992 - the first ever critique of feminism from a radical, egalitarian point of view.

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Specs of model driven – New Generation Hyundai i10
1.2 SE 87PS Manual

On the Road Price: £10,110 price as tested £10,780 inc Metallic Paint: £495, Connectivity Pack: Bluetooth, Voice recognition, Steering Wheel Audio Control, rear speakers – £175

Engine: EuroV 1,248cc 4 cylinder
DOHC, 16 Valve
Transmission: 5 Speed Manual
Rated Output: 66hp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 120Nm @ 4000rpm
0-62mph: 12.3 seconds
Top speed: 109mph
Fuel economy urban/extra-urban/combined: 43.5/68.9/57.6mpg
CO2 emissions: 114g/km

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