Hyundai’s i10 plan for ditching the porky waistlines
Hyundai’s i10 may be small, but it’s refined, comfortable and far from expensive. The only downsides are its steering and fuel consumption
Date Reviewed: February 10, 2014
We could all do with a little downsizing. I know: it’s February, and the gyms, cycle paths and aqua-fit classes are still full of people all thinking the same thing, but it’s true. Cut back on the bulk and you’ll feel better.
I can, however, offer you a way of reducing your bulk that comes with virtually no penalty and a significant cost saving. Best of all, you don’t even have to put down the Ben & Jerry’s. Yes, call my freephone number now for more details and my no-obligation series of pamphlets. By which I mean go out and buy a Hyundai i10.
Many of you will be thinking that it’s not a proper car, that it’s too small, that it’ll be noisy and tinny and slow. You’ll stick with your Fiesta, Golf or Corolla, thanks all the same.
But you’re being too quick to judge, for the secret of my bulk-shedding plan is that no compromise is needed.
Yes, the new i10 is small, at just 3.6 metres long, with a similarly small engine: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit that comes with just 66bhp, 95Nm of torque and, you may be surprised to learn, a licence for pulling the skin off a rice pudding.
It also costs a mere €11,995 in basic Classic trim or, as test here, a slightly stiffer €13,496 in the ritzy Deluxe trim (Bluetooth, iPod connection, air con, alloys etc). See, already those unsightly pounds (well, euro) are starting to roll away.
The first hurdle we must jump together is one of refinement and comfort. In the past small cars have generally been at the noisy end of the scale, and venturing on to a motorway in one was usually the first step on the long march to tinnitus.
Not so here. In fact the most remarkable aspect of the new i10 is its comfort. You don’t sit up high, perched as if on an uncomfortable bar stool. Instead you can get low and lazy and lean back in comfy repose.
Even with me doing that – I’m six feet tall and built like Homer Simpson – there was enough space in the back for medium-sized children to stretch out.
It also feels big. That’s something of a cliche when it comes to describing an ever-improving pool of small cars, but it’s true: it’s quiet and refined inside even on the motorway, and the i10 rides over obstacles with the aplomb of a much larger car. I’m sure I would have been more comfortable in the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but I’m not certain I would have been €100,000 more comfortable.
You can also avoid strenuous upper-body workouts in the i10, as the steering is light. A little too light, actually. It feels quite disconnected from what’s happening below, which is a shame given the aplomb with which the chassis generally responds. At lower speeds the steering feels jerky and heavy; at higher speeds it feels a little too light.
Hyundai has mastered so many other areas of this supermini that it’s odd the company has dropped the ball so badly in this regard.
If it’s a workout you fancy, then you can get pumped up about the engine. The little three-cylinder unit is no firebrand, but it pushes the i10 along just fine, and revs around to its 6,000rpm limit with enthusiasm and a happy-sounding three-pot warble.
The fuel consumption is a touch disappointing: 6.0 litres per 100km, compared with Hyundai’s 4.7l/100km claim. (That can, though, be partially put down to spending a lot of time on motorway and to the fact that our test car had had only a 500km jog around the block before we got in it.)
In every other respect the tiny i10 is hugely impressive. It has decent space – only the small boot imposes a compromise for downsizers – and is so comfortable that you’d happily drive it from here to the factory in the Czech Republic where it is built. And back.
So throw off the shackles of needless bulk, ditch the porky waistlines of larger cars and downsize yourself into a slim-hipped Korean.
Hyundai i10 1.0-litre Deluxe: The lowdown
1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol; 66hp @ 5,500rpm, 95Nm @ 3,500rpm.
0-100km/h in 15.0 seconds.
Claimed 4.7l/100km (60mpg).
108g/km (motor tax € 190).
€ 13,495 as tested; range starts at € 11,995 .
Our verdict :
Small in stature, large in talent. Best advert yet for downsizing.