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Used test: Hyundai i10 vs Kia Picanto: interiors
Buy either of these two top-notch city cars at just a year old and you could bag yourself a bargain, but which one makes more sense?...
Behind the wheel
Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality
Both cars are similar under their skins so it comes as no surprise that they offer similar seating positions. Neither has a reach-adjustable steering wheel, though, but you can move the wheel and driver’s seat up and down in both, and by enough to allow most to get comfortable.
The main difference is in their seats’ design. The i10’s is softer, with a steeper-angled squab that gives better thigh support on longer trips. The Picanto’s is firmer, with better shoulder support, and is superior at keeping you in place around corners. Which is better is a matter of personal preference.
The similarities extend to front visibility, which is top drawer in both, but the i10’s more aggressively swept-up rear window line provides a little more cause for concentration when reversing into parking spaces. Thankfully, each car has a reversing camera, although the Picanto adds rear parking sensors for some audible assistance as well.
The cars also come with daytime running lights (LED on the i10) and front foglights, but by today’s standards, their halogen headlights are a little dim on dark and drizzly nights.
Where our contenders differ most inside is on quality, yet even here, the gap isn’t vast. Both feel well screwed together but, as so often at this end of the market, all the plastics are hard and unforgiving and it’s Hyundai that has made more effort to break up the bleakness. This top-spec Premium i10’s gloss black surfaces, contrasting colours and other details, such as the greater tactility of its leather-clad steering wheel, add a smidge more panache.
As far as the infotainment systems go, the i10 has a bigger, 8.0in screen, but it actually runs similar software to the Picanto’s. It’s easy to understand and pretty responsive, and having physical buttons for volume and switching menus is helpful for operating while driving, too. You get smartphone mirroring, a DAB radio and Bluetooth. The stereo has only four speakers but still sounds decent.
The Picanto actually has one of the best infotainment systems in this class, even though it has a smaller (7.0in) touchscreen than the i10’s. You still get physical shortcut buttons, the menus are structured logically and it’s responsive to commands. It’s well equipped, too, coming with smartphone mirroring, a DAB radio and Bluetooth. It also beats the i10 by having an in-built sat-nav and the stereo has six speakers.
Both cars are roomy enough for six-footers. Taller people will have no issues with front leg or head room, although the Picanto has a fraction more of the latter. The i10’s wider interior gives those with a more prosperous frame greater room to breathe, though.
The i10 is the clear choice if you’re travelling in the back. For a start, it’s easier to get in and out through its bigger rear door apertures. And once inside, a six-footer could fit behind a driver of identical height. Now, there wouldn’t be much leg or head room going spare in that scenario, but the i10 is still impressive for the class.
Not that the Picanto is particularly pokey in the rear. Its head room is similar to the i10’s, but if you’re on the tall side, your knees will be clamped firmly in place by the seat in front. When it comes to seating three side by side, neither car is great for adults.
They each provide a multitude of cavities and crevices for your accoutrements, though. Take their front door bins, which will hold a 500ml bottle, or the generous-sized gloveboxes as proof. There are also a couple of cupholders in each, and trays of various sizes. However, the i10 just gets the nod, because although the Picanto has a map pocket on the back of its front passenger seat, the i10 has small rear door bins (which are absent in the Picanto) and a long tray above its glovebox – an ideal place for a fold-up umbrella.
It’s nip and tuck again for luggage space. The Picanto’s boot is a centimetre or two deeper, whereas the i10’s is longer, and both will swallow something up to a metre in width. Consequently, they can hold the same number of carry-on suitcases: three, with some room to spare.
Both cars also come with 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, and if you drop these to fit something bulky inside they lie usefully flat.