What Car? says...
To understand the appeal of the Hyundai i10, try thinking of watches. You can spend a gazillion quid on a Rolex, but it'll tell the same time as the digital watch you paid a tenner for – and the i10 is one of the digital watches of motoring.
Yes, a BMW X7 will massage your backside while you're cruising along, but when it comes to getting from the suburbs to the centre, a small car is just as good. Better, in fact, because squeezing it through narrow streets and picking a parking space will be far less stressful.
The choice of three peppy but efficient little petrol engines means you’ll also be able to weave through city traffic easily and it’ll be cheaper to boot. There’s even an N-Line trim for those that want a small car that looks a bit sportier.
Regardless of which version you go for, the i10 is designed to carry up to five people and some luggage, and while it's not as big on the outside as some value cars – the Dacia Sandero for example – it's still relatively practical.
It sounds like the i10 has all the basics covered, then – but don’t forget the alternatives. As well as the Sandero, which is a bit bigger, you can also pick from the Kia Picanto, the Toyota Aygo X or, if you want four-wheel drive, the slightly more rugged Suzuki Ignis.
This Hyundai i10 review will tell you what it's like to drive, what it’s like inside and more. We'll also tell you all about the trims and engines. When you've decided which model suits you, make sure you get it for the lowest price by using our New Car Buying pages.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The Hyundai i10's entry-level 1.0 MPi 67 three-cylinder petrol engine is strong enough in town, and gets you away from the lights briskly enough.
It can feel a little wheezy on motorways though, so be prepared to work the five-speed manual gearbox quite hard (0-62mph takes 14.8 seconds). With the optional AMT gearbox it's even slower: the pauses between gear changes... feel... quite long.
If you're planning to do longer journeys, we recommend the 1.2 MPi 84. It's a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine with a meatier 83bhp that feels stronger lower in the rev range and revs out more willingly. Its 0-62mph time is a leisurely 12.6 seconds, which is increased if you choose the automatic gearbox. The Sandero 1.0 TCe 90 is altogether punchier.
If you want more pep, the i10's 99bhp 1.0T 100 engine could be of interest, but it's exclusive to the pricier N Line trim. It feels the most spritely of the lot when you put your foot down and can officially sprint from 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds. The thing is though, it doesn’t feel that much quicker than the 1.2 MPi 84 and won't worry even the mildest of hot hatches.
Suspension and ride comfort
City-focused small cars aren't usually the comfiest modes of transport, but the i10 is one of the best. Even on the largest 16in wheels, it takes the sting out of vicious potholes and resists fidgeting over pimpled surfaces.
The Sandero rides pretty well too, and there are more expensive small cars (the Peugeot 208 for example) that ride even better, but by the standards of city cars, the i10 is impressive.
The good ride comfort is maintained as you increase your speed, and there's a supple edge that makes even long motorway jaunts a breeze. It’s not as well controlled over undulating B-roads as the Aygo X but neither does it feel too soft and bouncy, as the Citroën C3 can.
The i10 N Line’s bigger wheels make the ride noticeably firmer and you feel yourself moving around in the seat more as you drive over imperfections. It’s not uncomfortable, though, and doesn’t crash or thump through potholes. We suspect those who like the idea of a slightly sporting hatchback will be more than happy.
Let’s cut to the chase – the i10 is a decent drive despite its low price. Even looking at it practically, the tight turning circle and light steering make town driving a breeze.
The steering weights up at speed, and is precise enough to make the i10 an easy car to place on faster roads. It also musters more grip in the wet than the Picanto.
That said, the Picanto is better at resisting body roll, while an Aygo X has more playful agility to please those who really revel in throwing a car about. Stiffer i10 N Line models roll a little less in bends, feel a bit more poised and are more fun, but the difference is not vast.
Noise and vibration
By the standards of dinky, three-cylinder petrols, the i10's 1.0 MPi 67 is a refined little lump that’s smoother and quieter than the equivalent Sandero or Aygo X engine. The same goes for the 1.0T 100, although it has a fruitier sound that’s in keeping with the N Line trim’s sportier demeanour.
The 1.2 MPi 84 is the quietest of the lot, though, thanks to its extra cylinder improving the engine’s smoothness and removing the need to thrash it to get the most out of it. No matter which engine you go for, wind and road noise at 70mph is better contained than they are in a Picanto.
The standard five-speed manual gearbox has a light, slick and precise action, when you’re on the move, but the non-turbocharged models need quite a few revs to get off the line without bogging down. Even so, we’d avoid the optional automatic because, while it doesn’t send the revs soaring like the CVT auto in the Aygo X, it’s pretty lethargic when it comes to changing gear.
Strengths Smooth ride; better steering than rivals
Weaknesses Slow auto gearbox; less body control than a Toyota Aygo X
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
All versions of the i10 get a supportive, height-adjustable driver’s seat and a height-adjustable steering wheel. Unlike in the Sandero, there’s no reach adjustment for the steering wheel, although that didn’t stop us getting comfortable behind the wheel.
What’s more, the steering wheel doesn’t obscure the top section of the instruments as it can in the VW Up. It lines up well with the pedals and seat, so you’re not driving with a crooked posture, and there's more room for your left leg in the footwell than in the considerably larger Dacia Duster small SUV (which overlaps the i10 on price).
After a couple of hours behind the wheel, we didn’t have any aches or pains. Add in the sensibly placed controls, which are supremely simple to use on the move, and it's hard to fault the i10 here.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The i10 has slender front pillars and well-placed door mirrors that combine to give you a clear view forwards, or sideways when pulling out of T-junctions. The rear window line kicks up more towards the back of the car than in the Picanto and its rear window is shallower, but the i10 is still not a particularly tricky car to reverse.
Making parking even easier, every trim level gets a rear-view camera and rear parking sensors as standard.
You don’t get LED headlights with any version, though, like you do with the Sandero. Instead, all i10s come with LED daytime running lights, while the top-spec N Line trim adds front fog lights.
Sat nav and infotainment
Every i10 comes as standard with an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The latter is especially useful because you can’t have built-in sat-nav with the entry-level trim and it’s a fairly expensive option on the others.
The system itself is similar to the Picanto's and just as easy to use, as is the Sandero's system – they're all a big improvement over the Up's fiddly infotainment.
In the i10, the screen is mounted high on the dash, so it’s easy to see and reach without taking your eyes too far from the road, the menus and software are well conceived. There are the buttons and knobs surrounding the screen, which are easy to find and make swapping between menus a simple job.
Upgrading to mid-spec Premium trim or above adds a wireless charging pad to the standard equipment list, but every version has a USB port in the front for charging your phone.
You won’t find many soft-touch plastics in the i10, but the hard stuff that is there is nicely textured and avoids looking cheap. One thing’s for sure: the plastics are no worse than you’d find in a Picanto or an Up.
Premium trim adds an attractive hexagonal pattern to the trims on the doors and dashboard, while N Line adds a sportier flavour.
The buttons all feel substantial, working with a precision that wouldn’t be out of place in a car from the class above. Similarly, the soft leather on the steering wheel and gearknob (fitted to all trims) feels good to the touch.
Strengths Lots of parking aids; good build quality; comfy driving position
Weaknesses Over-the-shoulder visibility could be better; hard plastics
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Up front, the i10 offers a similar amount of head and leg room to the Picanto, which means plenty of space even if you're six feet tall. The main difference is that the i10's interior is wider, so more amply proportioned passengers will have extra room to breathe.
Storage space is good too. There's a tray in front of the gearlever – big enough for a smartphone, wallet or keys – and you'll find another that's perfect for a small umbrella above the glovebox.
The i10's glovebox is a good size, as are the door pockets, and you also get a couple of cup-holders.
Unlike most city-focused cars, the i10 is a five-seater. That immediately makes it more versatile than the Aygo X and the Up (both four-seaters).
Admittedly, loading three adults into the rear is a bit of a squeeze, but there's sufficient leg and head room for two six-footers to fit without feeling crushed. The only other cars that offer more space in the back for the price (or less) are the larger Duster and Sandero.
In the i10, the hump that runs along the middle of the floor is low and there's a good gap between the floor and the bottom of the front seats, so there's plenty of space to put your feet. You get a couple of door pockets big enough for a small bottle of water – a feature that's rare in a city car.
Seat folding and flexibility
The i10’s rear seat backs are split 60/40 and can be folded down by pressing buttons next to the rear head restraints.
There's no lumbar or height adjustment for the front passenger, either as standard or at extra cost. That's broadly the same as with the main rivals.
The i10 has a 252-litre boot, which is not far short of the Picanto’s impressive 255-litre capacity. There's enough space for three carry-on suitcases below the parcel shelf, with some room leftover, or a fairly hefty shopping trip.
There's a fairly high drop to negotiate from the edge of the tailgate to the boot floor, but it's not as big as on the Picanto or Aygo X. No i10 has a height-adjustable boot floor so you're stuck with a bump in the boot floor when you fold down the rear seats.
If you need a more practical boot, the Sandero’s is much bigger – it fits six carry-on suitcases.
Strengths Lots of front storage; decent rear head and leg room
Weaknesses No height adjustment for passenger; rivals have bigger boots
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
At first glance, the Hyundai i10 appears pricey compared with the much larger Sandero and the basic Picanto, but against rivals such as the Aygo X and Up, it's very reasonably priced.
What’s more, strong predicted resale values mean that finance payments should be kept nice and low, ensuring monthly PCP costs are competitive with even its cheaper rivals. On paper, the 1.0 MPi 67 emits less CO2 and drinks less fuel than our recommended 1.2 MPi 84, but the margins are wafer thin.
It will sup more petrol than an Aygo X, though, according to our True MPG testing. The Aygo X managed 52.2mpg, whereas the 1.2 MPi 84 version of the i10 achieved 44.6mpg. That's still good, but there are more efficient small cars out there.
Equipment, options and extras
No i10 is badly equipped. Even the entry-level Advance model comes with automatic lights, air conditioning, electric windows (front and rear), cruise control and electric door-mirror adjustment, on top of the leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearlever, infotainment bits and parking aids that we’ve already mentioned.
We’d recommend upgrading to mid-spec Premium, though, because it adds some extra niceties, including 16in alloy wheels, heated seats and a heated steering wheel, but doesn’t add much to the price tag.
N-Line is the most expensive of the lot, with your money mainly going towards the sportier styling, inside and out, and the 1.0T engine. We’re not sure it’s worth the premium that you’ll pay over, well, Premium.
Hyundai as a brand ranked an impressive seventh out of 32 car makers in our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey. Some of its key rivals did even better, with Toyota claiming second place and Suzuki coming fourth.
That’s not to undermine Hyundai’s result, though, because Kia, Dacia, Citroën and Peugeot all sit further down the leaderboard.
The i10 comes with a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty plus 12 months' roadside assistance. Kia trumps that with its seven-year, 100,000-mile cover, while Toyota will cover up to 10 years and 100,000 miles provided you have your car serviced each year through a dealer.
Safety and security
The i10 has a three-star Euro NCAP safety rating while the Picanto (with a safety pack fitted) gets four stars. The Ignis has the maximum five stars. The i10 was tested in 2020 under stricter rules than the Picanto faced when it was tested in 2017, which is why the result for the i10 looks worse.
As standard, the i10 has city emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection and a forward collision warning at higher speeds. You also get lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assistance, a driver attention alert system, automatic main-beam headlight control and an e-call system that contacts the emergency services automatically in the event of a crash.
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Strengths Hyundai’s reliability record; lots of kit; slow depreciation
Weaknesses Three-star safety rating; rivals are more efficient
In short, yes. It delivers a very rounded package, proving practical, good to drive and affordable.
Our chosen configuration is the mid-spec Premium trim with the mid-spec 1.2 MPI petrol engine. That combination gives you an efficient but reasonably powerful engine and plenty of standard equipment, without pushing up the price too much.
Yes, regardless of which trim you go for, the i10 comes with rear parking sensors. It also gets a rear-view camera as standard, making parking easy.
|RRP price range||£15,420 - £18,970|
|Number of trims (see all)||3|
|Number of engines (see all)||3|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||petrol|
|MPG range across all versions||49.6 - 55.4|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||5 years / No mileage cap|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£818 / £1,122|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£1,637 / £2,245|