Our cars: Hyundai i10, Kia Carens, Nissan Qashqai and Mazda 3

Lights are shining brightly in the Hyundai i10's cabin, and unhelpfully. The Kia Carens' cabin is nice and cool, and the Mazda 3's economy proves a welcome surprise...

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Tom Webster
18 June 2014

Each day we see how a selection of our long-term test cars are faring, and today we are looking at the Hyundai i10, the Kia Carens, the Mazda 3 and the Nissan Qashqai.

Hyundai has managed to make the i10 as user-friendly as possible. The switchgear is a particular strong point. Everything is well laid out and clearly labelled, making the little Hyundai a pleasure to use.

When driving at night, it's easy to reduce the glare coming from the dials and the dashboard buttons. On the radio, there's a button marked with a crescent moon that turns off the display completely, while on the right-hand side of the steering wheel there's a button to change the brightness of the dials and other switchgear.

So far so good. Unfortunately neither of these buttons affects the USB and aux socket in the cubby in front of the gearlever. The socket is well located for charging devices but does glow brightly when the headlights are on which can be distracting. Premium-trim cars get a cover to this cubby hole but those with an SE trim car have to come up with another solution. I've found keeping something plugged into the USB port keeps the glare down and the distraction to a minimum.

By Matthew Burrow

Elsewhere in the car park

The Mazda 3's economy has made up for other flaws on a long trip

We consider whether the Nissan Qashqai lives up to its advert's claims

Things are feeling cool in the Kia Carens