The new Hyundai i10 1.0 Blue can manage 67.3 mpg along with just 99 g/km CO2, it costs only £9,195, and it offers a much better driving experience than you might expect. Here is our review following its GCG road test.
Model/Engine size: 1.0 Blue
Fuel economy combined: 67.3 mpg
Green Car Guide rating: 8/10
The Hyundai i10 1.0 Blue was a real winner from the now-expired government scrappage scheme, where people scrapped their old cars and used the money towards a new car – in fact Hyundai benefitted from the scheme more than any other manufacturer. But if you’re buying an i10 with all of your own money, is it still a good choice?
The i10 is a city car with a one-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine. This suggests that the car should be confined to city limits, but our test proved otherwise.
Part of our time with the car involved a drive from Cheshire to London and back, which you would imagine would be a difficult challenge for a car that is likely to spend most of its time doing relatively low mileages in built-up areas. But the i10 coped with such long distances extremely well, adding a useful extra capability to its city car attributes, and so helping to set itself aside from rivals.
The i10 is quiet, smooth and refined for a city car, and it can cruise easily at motorway speeds. It’s obviously not primarily designed to be used as a long distance cruiser, and acceleration uphill at motorway speeds isn’t great. However if you’re looking for a low-cost city car that is also capable outside of city limits, then the i10 has a real advantage.
The i10’s ride quality is good under normal conditions, however it can be jiggly on some poor road surfaces. Although it’s not designed to have the most grippy handling, this is another area where owners are likely to be pleasantly surprised compared to their expectations, as again, it’s more capable than you might imagine. Its low kerb weight helps with its agility, and its decent steering feel is another factor in the impressive overall driving experience.
The i10’s brakes mostly performed well, although on a couple of occasions under hard braking they felt a little uncomposed, and the i10 is one of the few cars not to have Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) as standard.
Externally, the new i10 looks better than its predecessor, but visually the overriding impression is of a car with very small wheels, which may not be to everyone’s tastes. The car still works perfectly well with these 13-inch wheels and low rolling resistance tyres, and although these help with economy, most car buyers today are used to seeing new cars with ever-bigger wheels and tyres. The rest of the car certainly doesn’t have the cool design style of cars such as the Fiat 500 or even the smart fortwo.
It looks like a real effort has been made to ensure the interior is as visually appealing as possible; although there are some cheap-looking plastics, build quality is good. There are no luxury gadgets such as stereo controls on the steering wheel, and in fact the steering wheel itself is one of the least impressive parts of the interior, having a cheap-feeling, uncomfortable plastic rim. There’s also no fuel economy read-out, something that we believe should be on every car. However the i10 does have two of the most essential components for modern driving, air conditioning and iPod connections.
The i10 also has a stop/start system, which Hyundai calls ‘intelligent stop and go technology’, or ISG, which results in a measurable improvement in the area of emissions and fuel economy, and which is a feature that makes real sense, as there is no point in having the engine running when at a stop in urban traffic.
In addition to the one-litre, three-cylinder unit in this model, the i10 is also available with a four-cylinder 1.25-litre petrol engine which develops 85 bhp, returns 61.4 mpg, and emits 108 g/km CO2.
All Hyundais come with a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty, and a ten-year anti-perforation warranty.
Hyundais have been seen as cheap cars in the past; the brand is now improving its image in the area of perception and quality, and the i10 is a great example of this progress in action.
There is also the Kia Picanto, which is essentially the same car as the i10, but with a different badge. Hyundai and Kia are both part of the family-owned Hyundai organisation in South Korea. They share factories and engineering knowledge, but they are separate brands, and each has their own product design and marketing. Since the launch of the new i10, Kia has also launched a new Picanto, which is slightly more adventurous in terms of its styling.
Overall the i10 does everything that you want it to, and it does it in a much better way than you might imagine. If you are concerned about style in the city then this car may not be the one for you. However there are likely to be many motorists who want a low-cost, economical, cheap-to-run car, and the i10 is one of the best solutions to this brief. Whereas a smart fortwo represents style over substance, the i10 is more about substance over style.
The i10 therefore gets a Green Car Guide rating of 8 out of 10 – and the fact that it exceeds expectations in such an impressive way is a key reason why it scores so highly. The i10 really does feel like a big car in terms of driving dynamics, yet it definitely has small car costs.
The i10 is not a hybrid and it doesn’t have gadgets such as CVT transmission – it is essentially a conventional small car, with five doors and five seats, but one that has been done very well – at just £9195, and with exemption from VED and the London congestion charge, it deserves serious attention for anyone looking to save money on buying and running a car.
Fuel economy extra urban: 74.3 mpg
Fuel economy urban: 56.5 mpg
CO2 emissions: 99 g/km
Green rating: VED band A – first year £0
Weight: 948 Kg
Company car tax liability (2011/12): 10%
Price: £9,195 (From £8,195 to £9,595)
Insurance group: 9
Power: 68 bhp
Max speed: 93 mph
0-62mph: 14.8 seconds