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The Top Gear car review:Hyundai i10
For:Great build quality, fantastic refinement, styling
Against:Not much character, doesn't get stop-start or DAB radio
1.0 SE 5dr
Yet another quality car from the Koreans. Cheap price, good design and with minimal compromise
We drive Hyundai’s new baby: a small car completely fresh from the ground-up that’s aiming big…
Not only the best i10, but perhaps the best city car. A Fiat 500 for people with bifocals instead of Gucci shades…
What we say:
The Fiat Panda has ruled the city car roost for too long, reckons Hyundai - he new i10 is after its crown
What is it?
It’s Hyundai’s smallest offering in the UK, a little city car that has got plenty to live up to because we loved the last generation version. The latest one comes on an all-new platform (no, it’s not a common chassis shared with the Kia Picanto), as well as sharper looks and a sweet 1.0-litre engine. The old 1.2 motor is still available as well, but with slightly better economy figures now.
It’s all about quality here - the overriding impression you get from the i10 is one of refinement. This is a city car with a big car feel – wind noise is well-suppressed, the engine note is muted and there’s minimal tyre roar. It’s so good that you wouldn’t think twice about doing a long motorway journey in it. We really mean that.
There isn’t a diesel available in the i10, but the two petrols have got just about enough torque to make decent progress. Our choice would be the 1.0-litre, because the three-cylinder has got more character and feels no slower. One word of warning, though – both engines have long, fuel-saving fifth gears (doing it this way is cheaper than a six-speed gearbox…) so you’ll need to drop it down to fourth on long hills. And don’t try to avoid this with the automatic, because it isn’t very good. At all.
On the inside
This is where the Hyundai really impresses. The build quality is superb, and the clean layout and modern look is a world away from cliched Korean cars of 15 years ago. Even the leather on the steering wheel feels real now, unlike the shiny cheap stuff they used to use.
It’s also a practical car. Longer and wider than the last one, it’s no surprise that the internal volume is impressive. The boot’s a decent size, and four adults will easily manage long journeys in it. Just make sure they’re not too, um, big-boned, otherwise the lack of torque and the long fifth gear will make any uphill sections hard work.
There are a couple of equipment chinks. Hyundai is very conscious of costs at this level, so there’s no DAB radio option, and you need to be in a top-spec Premium model to get Bluetooth as standard. Otherwise it’s a £175 option.
Korean manufacturers pioneered the extended warranty and the i10 is no different – it comes with five-year coverage as standard (drive as much as you want in that time; there’s no mileage cap…). Both engines are pretty economical, too – the claimed figure on the 1.0-litre is 60.1mpg and the 1.2 is 57.6mpg – but neither comes with stop-start, so neither drops below 100g/km of CO2. For that, you’ll need to buy the Blue Drive model, which is £250 more expensive but manages 98g/km.