Two petrol engines are available. The eco-focused ‘Blue’ model has a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine with 68bhp, while the four-cylinder 1.2 has 85bhp. The Blue is flexible enough in town and surprisingly sprightly with a bootful of revs. The more powerful 1.2 makes life a little more relaxed on both counts, though.
The suspension is compliant enough to take the sting out of potholes, yet controlled enough to make the car feel stable on a country road. It’d actually be quite fun if it weren’t for the numb, slow steering. Still, the wheel stays light at low speed and the short-throw gearshift has a nice, snappy feel.
The Blue has one of the smoothest three-cylinder engines we’ve ever encountered, but whether you’re piling on the revs or cruising on the motorway, the 1.2 is still a more relaxed companion. There’s a fair amount of wind- and road noise at 70mph, but it's easily forgivable in a car this cheap.
Quite simply, the i10 is better and cheaper than most city car rivals, so it’s sensational value for money. Both engines give upwards of 60mpg, and low emissions mean that, whether you’re a private buyer or a company car driver, you’ll pay a pittance in taxes. Insurance costs are similarly teeny, too.
The cabin plastics are pretty hard and unappealing, but with its grown-up design, the i10’s interior still manages to feel quite sophisticated for such a cheap car. Hyundai’s impressive reliability record - the i10 was rated as being above average for mechanical reliability in the 2012 JD Power survey, and if that doesn't give you peace of mind, the five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty with roadside assistance will.
All i10s come with sophisticated anti-lock brakes to maximise stopping power, and if you do find yourself in an unavoidable pickle, twin front- and side airbags are there to help protect you. On all but the Blue, you can also add stability control for a few hundred quid. A few things are missing from the roster, though, like curtain airbags and deadlocks.
It’s easy to get comfy at the wheel of most versions, but be warned: entry-level cars miss out on seat-height adjustment. The simple dashboard design makes it easy to find all the functions, and every switch is clearly marked. Visibility is pretty good all around the car, too.
Obviously, a car this tiny is never going to be the last word in practicality, but for a city car, the i10 is superb. There’s enough head- and legroom for four adults to sit comfortably, and the boot is big enough for a few small bags, too. Split-folding rear seats mean you can also extend the load area.
Blue and Classic models share a similar spec, and both come with essentials like air-conditioning, electric front windows, and a CD player with USB port. Active trim adds remote locking, alloy wheels, powered rear windows, and front foglamps, while range-topping Style cars come with an electric sunroof, heated front seats and a bit more chrome and leather.
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