The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The i10 is an excellent little car that maximises its compact dimensions and offers a reasonably-priced alternative to the competition. It’s immensely practical and drives well, too. What’s not to like?
Reasons to buy:
- Good reliability record
- Fun to drive
How good does it look?
The i10 is one of the more conservatively styled hatchbacks of its size, when compared with more radical offerings of the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo. It’s available in five versions, starting with the S, which comes with 14-inch steel wheels and a rear spoiler. SE adds a few colour-coded bits of bodywork for a smarter look, while SE Blue cars have smaller 13-inch steel wheels for better fuel efficiency. Opt for the Premium model and you’ll get smarter, 14-inch alloy wheels and extra indicators in the wing mirrors as well as LED daytime running lights, some extra styling in the form of side body mouldings, and front fog lights. Premium SE models upgrade the alloy wheels to 15-inch versions and a sunroof. All models include solid paint, but metallic hues are extra.
What's the interior like?
The i10’s cabin has an impressively solid and hard-wearing feel, yet it delivers a decent amount of flair, too. Most of the plastics are nicely textured as well as being sturdy, and there’s a two-tone dashboard available (depending on which trim level and paint colour you pick) that lends a dash of colour. It can’t match a VW Up for outright classiness, but the cabin has charm nonetheless. One thing it does have over the Up, though, is that’s it’s available with a fully integrated touch-screen infotainment system with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s not the most intuitive system of its type, and it’s only available on the very top-end Premium SE trim, but it’s better than the smartphone cradle you get on the range-topping Up (you get one of these on the Premium grade i10, too). The rest of the dashboard controls are pretty logically laid out and easy to use, while all-round visibility is clear. However, the steering wheel only has tilt adjustment rather than full rake-and-reach movement, and you have to upgrade to second-rung trim for the height-adjustable driver’s seat that gives you more control over your driving position.
How practical is it?
The i10 is slightly bigger than most of its city car rivals, and as a result, it’s a good bit roomier than most inside. There’s sufficient head- and legroom in the back of the i10 to comfortably accommodate a brace of tall adults, and the seats are supportive and comfortable. What’s more, the wide middle seat and flat floor mean that the i10 is better than most city cars at carrying three across the rear bench, although very limited shoulder room means those folk won’t want to squeeze themselves in for long periods. The boot is also a good size for the class, and split-folding rear seats that allow you to boost your cargo-carrying capacity. However, they don’t lay flat when you fold them down, and there’s a huge lip that you have to lift items over, although those are criticisms you could also level at pretty much any one of the i10’s rivals.
What's it like to drive?
The i10 is a very enjoyable little car to drive. The ride is impressively smooth and cosseting for a city car, yet the suspension controls body movements well enough to give the i10 a nimble feel when it’s asked to change direction. The steering is rather remote and a little bit slow, but it’s nicely weighted, being light enough to allow you to whirl the wheel around quickly and easily. The gearshift also has a pleasantly smooth feel, and it’s these attributes that make the i10 a very easy little car to drive. And, with a city runabout like this, that’s the most important thing.
How powerful is it?
The base-level engine is a 65bhp 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine, and while it might sound a bit weedy, it’s more than up to the job of hauling the i10 around town. It’ll even cope with the odd spell on the motorway, but more surprisingly, it’s the sweeter and smoother of the two engines available in the i10. The larger 86bhp four-cylinder 1.2 isn’t as perky as it might be because the power delivery is rather flat at the bottom of the rev range. That means you’ll find yourself either revving it to its limits to maintain decent progress, or doing a fair amount of stirring on the five-speed manual gearbox. A four-speed automatic gearbox is also available, but we haven’t tried this yet. Refinement is generally very impressive. The engine stays smooth most of the time, while road and wind noise are effectively suppressed.
How much will it cost me?
“Running costs for the i10 range are broadly in line with the competition”
The i10 sits pretty squarely in the middle of the segment when it comes to price, and benefits from good residual values for when you come to sell it. Servicing costs should be very reasonable as well. However, some rivals have more efficient engines that mean you’ll emit more CO2 and pay a bit more for fuel. Overall, running costs for the i10 range are broadly in line with the competition from the likes of the VW Up, Skoda Citigo and Toyota Aygo.
How reliable is it?
The previous version of i10 had an excellent rating in Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, sitting comfortably inside the top 10 of all cars on sale. That bodes very well for this version, although Hyundai as an overall brand fares slightly less impressively when it comes to reputation, sitting mid-table in the overall manufacturer rankings. For extra peace of mind, Hyundai offers an impressive five-year, unlimited mileage warranty on its new cars.
How safe is it?
“All models get six airbags as standard and two Isofix child seat fixing points in the back”
The i10 was crash tested by safety organisation Euro NCAP in 2014, and scored a reasonable four out of five stars. All models get six airbags as standard and two Isofix child seat fixing points in the back, while Premium models get an Emergency Stop Signal system, which activates the hazard lights if you have to slam on the brakes.
How much equipment do I get?
Entry-level S models are relatively bare-bones by today’s standards when it comes to kit, but upgrade to the SE and you’ll get almost everything you need, including DAB radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity and cruise control, with a speed limiter, steering wheel controls and air-conditioning also thrown in. Premium models upgrade the air-con to a more sophisticated climate control version, and also includes privacy glass, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a smartphone docking station. The Premium SE model adds a 7.0-inch touch-screen navigation system, as well as Apple Car Play and Android Auto for smartphone integration, as well as heated front seats and rear parking sensors.
If you want as much practicality as a city car can offer, the i10 makes a very good case for itself. It also has enough style and class to cut it against its best city car rivals, and it’s seriously good to drive. Avoid the entry-level trim, and the i10 also provides all the equipment you’ll really need. Highly recommended.