Hyundai i10 face-lift driven
Success is no excuse for resting on your laurels – just ask Hyundai. Sure, the i10 was the firm's biggest seller last year, and it scooped the supermini best buy for less than £9000 at our Car of the Year Awards, but that doesn't mean it can't be improved.
Right on cue, this new version hits the market with a sharper, edgier look. More importantly for a budget car, though, it's now cleaner and cheaper to run.
Take the 85bhp 1.2-litre petrol version. Fuel economy has risen from 56.5mpg to 61.4mpg, while CO2 emissions have dropped from 119g/km to 108g/km – that means you'll pay only £20 per year for a tax disc. There's also an all-new 'Blue' model, which uses a 68bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine to give 67.8mpg and 99g/km. That means no road tax at all and, for London types, no congestion charge, either.
If you're not a capital dweller, though, we'd steer clear of the Blue. Yes, it's flexible around town, surprisingly sprightly with a bootful of revs, and it's the smoothest, quietest three-cylinder engine we've ever encountered. However, the 1.2 is better on all counts, and it costs £1000 less – you'll have to drive well over 100,000 miles before the Blue's superior fuel economy gives you that back. Phew.
You'll enjoy driving both versions, though. The suspension gives enough compliance to take the sting out of potholes, yet enough control to make the i10 feel stable in bends – it'd actually be quite fun if it weren’t for the numb, slow steering. Still, the wheel stays light at low speeds, and the short-throw gearshift feels nice and snappy.
Granted, the interior plastics are pretty hard, but the cabin feels surprisingly grown up for such a cheap car, and there's enough space for four people plus a little bit of luggage.
You get plenty of kit, too – all versions come with air-conditioning, an iPod socket, electric front windows and four airbags. Sounds like another successful formula to us.
What Car? says
Our favourite budget car is now even cheaper to run