"The Hyundai i10 ticks all the boxes, is cheap to run, fun to drive and very practical - there aren't many better city cars around."
The i10 was one of Hyundai's big success stories when it was first introduced back in 2008. It clocked up some very impressive sales thank to the innovative Government Scrappage Scheme. Building on that success, the current model offers a more powerful version of the existing 1.2-litre engine from the previous model. The exterior looks have also been tweaked, with the hexagonal grille from the Hyundai ix35 SUV added at the front and slightly different lights at the rear. The interior still feels a little bit cheap, however, but there is plenty of room for four adults and it's surprisingly good fun to drive – so much so that you actually look forward to a quick scoot down the shops. What's more, regardless of all the various improvements, the new i10 remains great value – even in the face of ultra-cheap budget rivals such as Dacia - and it still comes with the Hyundai's excellent unlimited-mileage/five-year ‘Triple Care’ warranty package. The Hyundai i10 comes in three main specifications – the entry-level Classic, mid-range Active and top-of-the-range Style.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
The current i10 is the cheapest to run yet, thanks to the latest 1.2-litre with the five-speed manual gearbox, which will return fuel economy of 51.4mpg and it costs only £20 per year to tax. Unfortunately, if you have your heart set on an automatic gearbox, you’ll have to reconcile yourself to much higher running costs as a result. All i10s come with Hyundai's excellent five-year Total Care package, which includes a comprehensive warranty, roadside assistance and annual vehicle health checks, so you should be able to keep long-term costs to a very manageable minimum.
Interior & comfort
The i10 has been tuned for comfort, so it manages to handle any bumps and potholes it encounters on rough roads very well when driven at lower speeds. Its dimensions are too slight to handle the same bumps at high speeds, but that is obvious when you’re inside it. The short wheelbase is surprisingly well cushioned and actually manages to rival many mid-sized SUVs for ride quality. The small engines are nicely quiet when driving around town, but they do get noisier when pushed up to motorway speeds due to the absence of a sixth gear. Space inside the car is surprisingly generous, too, partly thanks to some clever packaging, so even two full-sized adult passengers will be able to sit in relative comfort in the back. Plus, the i10's high roof means that there's lots of headroom in there, too.
Practicality & boot space
As city cars go, the i10 is in fact pretty practical for a car of such compact dimensions. It has a reasonable 225 litres of space in the boot, which is slightly more than the Kia Picanto and significantly bigger than the Toyota Aygo, Suzuki Alto, Chevrolet Spark and Nissan Pixo, too. It's actually a similar size to the much larger MINI Clubman. Only the Volkswagen up!, SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo (all based on the same VW Group underpinnings) offer more. The i10 only comes as a practical five-door body style, with the doors opening wide to make access to the rear seats very easy, while its tall, upright and boxy shape offers lots of space in the back, even for larger passengers. Comfort and Style models, meanwhile, get additional under-floor storage in the boot, giving owners somewhere safe to keep valuables out of sight.
Reliability & safety
For a while, Hyundai was one of the most improved car manufacturers in the market – and this was reflected by its performance in the Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. In 2012, Hyundai ranked seventh in the manufacturers list and looked like challenging for a podium spot, while the i10 itself also ranked seventh in the list of the top 100 cars. Then the 2013 poll results were published and not only did Hyundai drop seven places down to 14th, but the i10 plummeted down to 135th. That's a staggering loss of confidence by owners, and while there have been no major recalls or problems reported, it was let down by poor ride quality, performance and handling. While reliability wasn’t as good as in the past, it was still a strong point, luckily. Plus, Hyundai still has an excellent five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, which with the new Triple Care package includes free roadside assistance and annual vehicle health checks. So, even if you do have any problems, you should be able to get them quickly solved and fixed. Inside, the quality of the plastics isn’t particularly great, but as the i10 is cheaper than most of its main rivals, we’re inclined to forgive it for the bargain price. It also lags behind in the safety stakes – with most new cars now coming with a full five-star Euro NCAP crash safety test rating as par for the course, the i10's four-star rating is a major stumbling block. It means that it falls behind newer rivals like the VW up! and Skoda Citigo, and isn’t hitting the modern standard.
Engines, drive & performance
The i10 is a fun car to zip around town in, thanks to its light, accurate steering, soft suspension and strong engines, with it proving to be nicely comfortable and quiet at low speeds. There is only one engine - an 85bhp 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol. To be honest, it's not particularly quick, but it does prove nimble and agile when called upon to negotiate its way through the cut and thrust of busy urban driving. The i10 also feels quite solid on the motorway, but as there are only five gears, the engine does need to be worked pretty hard just to keep up with the faster flowing traffic. That said, the gearbox is easy to use, and, despite its tall shape and skinny tyres, the tiny Hyundai handles itself well.
Price, value for money & options
For a long time you’d have been hard-pressed to find a car that was cheaper than i10 – but Dacia is changing that, with other manufacturers now looking into similar budget arms of their business. That said, no one makes a cheaper city car as yet, and the i10's trump card remains its excellent value for money. Its low list price also includes a high level of standard equipment and accessories that puts most other cars to shame. Plus, the bargain price means depreciation is minimal so you can expect resale values on the used car market to be strong – especially as small, economical cars are in such strong favour at the moment. An i10 is an undeniably sound investment. Insurance premiums are also among the lowest of any new car on the market, and even entry-level cars come with air-conditioning, electric windows and a six-speaker stereo.