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Hyundai i10

7/10
Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review: Hyundai i10

£9,800£16,270

Driving

What is it like on the road?

The fastest Hyundai i10 does 0-62mph in 12.6 seconds, which is very, very slow indeed. It uses a naturally-aspirated 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 83bhp and 87lb ft of torque, spinning the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. Alternatively, if you don’t mind being late for literally everything, you could save yourself £500 and go for the 67bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol, which has just 71lb ft of torque and at best offers 0-62mph in 14.6 seconds. The new i10 might sit on an all-new platform, but both engines are carried over from the old car. 

And y’know what? They’re absolutely fine. There will be a more powerful i10 later this year - the sportified N-Line will get a 100bhp-odd turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol - but the 1.2’s 82bhp just about does the job. Assuming you’re not in too much of a rush. The lack of a little turbo means you have to use all the revs pretty much all the time and work the five-speed manual gearbox like you mean it, but it hums along nicely in town and is even pretty civilised at motorway speeds (which admittedly takes some time to reach).

The 1.0-litre might be down on power, and take two seconds longer to reach 62mph, but around town it doesn’t feel that much slower than the 1.2. It’s on the motorway and in the country where the deficit is most obvious. You drive it the same as the 1.2, by chasing and maintaining momentum at all costs, but be prepared to shift down from 5th to 4th or even 3rd, and from 3rd to 2nd even more frequently. Sounds good though, in a semi-skimmed 911 kind of way. 

A little car like the i10 really ought to have a three-cylinder of some description - this is a more characterful engine than the 1.2, and despite the lack of power, the one we’d be tempted to go for if we never ever ventured beyond city limits. For most of you though, the 1.2 is the more versatile option - it’s only a £500 premium over the 1.0-litre, and realistically makes precious little difference to claimed mpg and CO2 figures. 

Both engines can be specified with an automatic gearbox for another £500. But rather than a slick twin-clutch, a conventional torque-converter or even a CVT, the i10’s auto ‘box is a newly-developed five-speed automated manual straight out of the Nineties. Changes frequently come at odd times and are hardly instant - they make your head loll back and forth as power is interrupted and cogs swapped. It makes for significantly less smooth progress than the standard five-speed manual, which is precise despite a long-ish throw and with a progressive clutch pedal learners will find easy to get to grips with. 

Oh, and the auto absolutely saps power - both 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre i10s are around three seconds slower to 62mph with the auto than they are with the manuals, making the 1.0-litre car (which takes 17.3 seconds to hit the national speed limit) one of the slowest cars on sale in Britain. So yeah - avoid. 

Like the car it replaces, the new i10 is a very mature little car. It’s comfortable at any speed, quiet and stable on the motorway and has well-weighted, inoffensive steering. We’d quite happily do a long-ish journey in it, no word of a lie. It’s even quite good fun - as you chase momentum and wring the engines out to their respective redlines just to keep pace with traffic. Responsive and agile as you’d hope a city car would be, thanks to light-weight, but more refined than you’d expect.

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