Hyundai i10


Debut: 2013
Maker: Hyundai
Predecessor: i10 (2008)


 Published on 31 Oct 2013
All rights reserved. 


As suggested by its name, i10 is the entry-level model offered by Hyundai in the European market. The outgoing, first generation i10 was neither outstanding nor eye-catching, but it was versatile enough to satisfy most buyers who sought a decent city car at a reasonable price. European motoring journalists generally liked its well sorted chassis, nice engines and spacious cabin, not to mention the generous equipment and 5-year warranty. No wonder it sold well in Europe. However, more demanding buyers might dislike its dull look, basic interior and excessive noise, which fell short of the standards set by Volkswagen Up and new Fiat Panda. The new i10 is an answer to these criticisms.

Designed by Hyundai's European HQ in Rüsselsheim, Germany and assembled in Turkey this time around, the new i10 is set to please European taste. It looks really stylish – far sportier and more expensive-feeling than the old car. There is some Renault Clio in its body-side black plastic decors, but the nose is unmistakably Hyundai. Although VW Up and Fiat Panda have stronger character in their designs, you can't deny that the Hyundai is attractive in its own right.



The car shares platform with Kia Picanto again. Its 2385 mm wheelbase is just 5 mm longer than the outgoing generation, but more important is 65 mm added to its width and 80 mm added to the overall length, guaranteeing generous shoulder room and luggage space. Height is cut by 50 mm, but it still stands tall at 1500 mm, so headroom is never an issue. This is one of the few A-segment city cars that can take four six-footers for a reasonably long trip.

The new monocoque chassis gains 27 percent in torsional rigidity, thanks to the fact that the usage of high-strength steel is increased from 9 to 29 percent. To reduce NVH, it introduces a lot of counter measures, such as a larger hydraulic engine mount, a triple-layer bulkhead with sound-deadening panel and dual-door seals. Meanwhile, wind noise is cut by carefully shaping the door mirrors and relocating the antenna towards the rear. The sleeker body shape, with Cd lowered to 0.31, also helps cutting wind noise.



The cabin is a vast improvement from the old car. Although soft-touch materials are absent (few in this class could afford), the dashboard is nicely grained and it is shaped and colored to look interesting. The two-tone color scheme lifts the ambience a lot from the usual black environment you would find on cheap cars, though not as funky as Panda or as tasteful as Up. The air vents and switches don't look cheap. The center console is sited high and at an angle convenient for use. The only complaint is the lack of sat-nav/infotainment system option, which could be a missed opportunity. Apart from class-leading interior space, the boot is also the biggest in class at 252 liters – beating Volkswagen by 1 liter.

Both "Kappa" petrol engines are carried over from the old car as they were just added in 2011. No matter the 1.0-liter three-pot or the 1.25-liter four-cylinder, they employ aluminum block and dual-continuous variable valve timing – this makes Fiat's 8-valve 1.2-liter look ancient. That said, their 66 hp and 87 hp output are nothing special. Ditto the performance they offer. On the plus side, the 3-cylinder is surprisingly smooth and its characterful noise is well isolated from the cabin. The 4-cylinder has a more linear power delivery and offers more punch for overtaking, but its advantage over the smaller engine is not obvious in city driving. Both engines hook up to a decent 5-speed manual gearbox.



On the run, you will find its engine noise, wind noise and road noise are all markedly reduced so that it is now among the most refined cars in the class. Meanwhile, the ride and handling continues to shine. It hits the right balance between body control and ride comfort. The ride is supple on all but the poorest roads. There is a bit body roll but by no means excessive for a city car. The all-disc brakes are strong. Keen drivers may prefer Volkswagen Up for its more direct steering feel, but the Hyundai's electrical helm is still decent, offering light and linear weighting.

Such an all-round package should bring greater sales success than the old car and present serious threat to Volkswagen and Fiat. However, what the i10 still lacks is a distinctive character. It neither looks special nor it innovates in any area. Perhaps I might be asking too much for an A-segment small car, but I always believe a class leader should be more than just an all-rounder.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
i10 1.0
2013
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3665 / 1660 / 1500 mm
2385 mm
Inline-3
998 cc
DOHC 12 valves, DVVT
-
-
66 hp
69 lbft
5-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
175/65R14
858 kg
96 mph (c)
14 (est)
-
i10 1.25
2013
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3665 / 1660 / 1500 mm
2385 mm
Inline-4
1248 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
-
-
87 hp
88 lbft
5-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
175/65R14
866 kg
106 mph (c)
11.6 (est)
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