Comfortable, good tech/equipment, smooth and sensible to drive
Dodgy auto gearbox, steering wheel doesn’t adjust for reach, lane keep tech is overzealous
What is it?
It’s an endangered species, this, if you listen to the car industry doom-mongers. City cars have the lowest profit margins of anything on a carmaker’s model list by virtue of being so cheap yet not really being able to skimp on the expensive stuff, like engines and that.
Even the development costs of a city car aren’t much less than something bigger – it takes a lot of clever thinking to pack everything in one of these, you know. And nowadays they have to come as standard with much of the same expensive infotainment and safety tech.
And so we come to this third-generation Hyundai i10, a more sophisticated machine than we’ve seen before with this badge. It comes with some impressive big car tech features, and while it still feels like it’s been built to a price, it’s less overtly budget than before. ‘Robust’, let’s say.
Are there any electric options?
There are no electric or hybrid options available here, that would make the car ruinously expensive and defeat the point of the car’s low-cost simplicity. If you want to go all fancy, a few city cars have gone electric – you can get EV versions of the Fiat 500 and Volkswagen Up, but they’re much pricier than the likes of the i10.
This car’s rivals are all advancing in years – you can still buy a creaking Fiat Panda, and the petrol versions of the 500 and Up are old models. Of the fresher options, Toyota’s just launched a fancy pretend-SUV version of its Aygo and Kia offers the Picanto (the i10's sibling), whippersnappers that were launched back in 2019.
Is the i10 just the same old, same old then?
Well, that's not to say that Hyundai hasn’t spent any money on the car – the i10’s platform was engineered fresh for this version of the car, with a longer wheelbase and wider body for increased passenger and cargo space, using the same small, naturally aspirated petrol engines as before.
It feels like a fresh car, and certainly the styling is better today than it’s ever been on the i10. The car really benefits from the latest company styling language that looks sharp and more in proportion than it did on the last car.
Are the spec levels decent?
There’s loads of life-enhancing tech available on the i10, you don’t need to suffer for having opted for a cut price city car. Most versions get an 8in touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, and all get lane keep, auto high beam and hill start tech. The top spec Premium car is rammed with toys from grown-up cars including heated seats and steering wheel and climate control.
Prices kick off at around £13k, which sounds expensive but is still £2.5k to £3k cheaper than the entry models from superminis like the Vauxhall Corsa or Ford Fiesta.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
Well done Hyundai for having come up with a fresh city car when lots of other carmakers have canned theirs. Not everyone can afford to fork out loads of cash for an electric car, and there is still room in the market for cheap, small, fun, relatively simple cars like the i10.
The i10 offers impressive levels of tech, a relatively spacious interior for a city car and it feels grown-up to drive, even if it isn’t especially nippy.