Hyundai i10 Road Test
In the land of small cars, Hyundai can claim to have consistently had a hold in this market place for a number of years now. Since the Atos of 1997, the South Korean manufacturer has been consistent in it’s approach of making tall, thin city cars with small capacity petrol engines which major in substance over style. And the newest i10 certainly looks to be carrying on this mantle.
From the outside, all the old design cues are there. The i10 has a trademark tall stance balance on small diameter wheels and a bold badge on the back denotes this as a 1.2 petrol engined model. But the similarities with the old model and any previous small Hyundai are destroyed when you begin to look closely at the details. The exterior styling has the Hyundai family grille on the front but the lines and shapes in the overall design of the car are a radical departure from the previous i10. Inside, the designers have concentrated on giving the new i10 a more European look with textured and brightly coloured plastics in evidence throughout the cabin.
Once the driver’s door is closed, the car becomes incredibly snug. The pay off for such a small car is that internal space is compromised. If you’re over six foot or are equipped with a larger than average frame, getting comfortable for anything longer than a jaunt to the shops will be a struggle in the i10 and you become increasingly aware as to how close your knees are to the dash and your side is to the door armrest. Having said that, it is quite a fun little car for running around in with the colourful interior which never stops being attractive and the 1.2l engine sings when provoked meaning that darting around town is a doddle. On a run, however, the little Hyundai runs into some difficulty. The noise from the engine is well controlled but the noise through the wheels at speeds over 30mph is particularly intrusive regardless of how smooth the road surface was.
As a town based runabout, the i10 is fantastic and will put a smile on your face every time you sit in the driving seat. However, limitations on the road and in the cockpit will mean that this won’t be a car for everyone. And it’s a similar story for the fleet buyer. You really have to NEED a car of this type to consider the i10 and even then you’d be foolish to overlook Fiat’s widely acclaimed Panda. But if a competent city car with a good reputation for reliability is top of your wish list, be sure to give the i10 a close look.