It doesn’t happen very often, but enough to make you wary.
Many years ago I was testing an early version of the hugely successful Hyundai Coupe, a car which put the company on many people’s
automotive map and which proved to be so popular with female drivers.
In the case of the car I was testing, whoever had been in it previously had very obviously dunted it off a kerb leaving the steering very well askew.
Safe in the knowledge that the cars were not manufactured with such a fault in them, I gave Hyundai the benefit of the doubt in my review and complimented what should have been a very decent handling car.
After the review appeared it came to my attention that sales staff at one particular dealer (no longer in business) were slagging me me as the car I’d driven was so obviously crocked. So there I was, having foolishly thought I was doing the company a favour, only for its
representatives to brand me an idiot.
History aside, I am pretty certain there will be no such nonsense attached to this week’s tester, the excellent i10 supermini from Hyundai, which had not been dunted off a kerb or any such solid object, as far as I was able to ascertain.
I really liked this little car, and while it may not quite match similar machines from some of its European and Japanese rivals, the diminutive South Korean contender will still have a broad appeal on the back of its very competitive price, its excellent one litre petrol engine and a level of sophistication which Hyundai is not exactly noted for at this end of the market.
Contrary to what many people might think, we here at Examiner Motoring really do like small city cars and — as regular readers will know — we have been espousing the merits of one litre three cylinder engines recently, particularly the brilliant Ecoboost unit from Ford. You have similar contenders from the VW Group (VW Up!, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo), Fiat (500 and Panda), while Toyota Citroen and Peugeot produce a trio — all made in the same factory — the Aygo, the C1 and the 107, all of which will be replaced this summer. Of course there is also the Hyundai’s sister car, the Kia Picanto.
So, it is not exactly a segment Hyundai have all to themselves, but where the company scores is that it has not put a premium price on its engine and it has given its car a head-to-toe upgrade in terms of its overall quality and endowed it with the sort of stylishness and
visual appeal that its target audience so demands.
It is no surprise that Hyundai wants to double the market share of the i10 here in Ireland and, having witnessed the many qualities of this car I have no doubt they will achieve their sales aim of 500 units here this year and the top slot in the A segment by year’s end.
Now the old i10 was not a bad little car, but this new one has certainly raised the bar to unexpectedly lofty heights. It is bigger and better in almost every regard.
Although lower than its predecessor, it is also considerably longer and just a bit wider, and these revised dimensions have had a particularly positive effect as far as passengers are concerned. Hyundai now claim the car to be a genuine five-seater, and while that might just be pushing it a
little, certainly for the family user, it will fit two adults and three kids with little difficulty. Five adults might just be pushing it a tad.
And the decor has moved upmarket too, with a two tone interior colour scheme which I found easy on the eye, as well as providing a relaxed ambience. Trouble is that you’ll have to select the ‘Deluxe’ specification level if you want this, as well as the Bluetooth and USB options that should, I feel, be standard in every car these days. And that will set you back some 1,500, even if you also get air con., LED running lights, cornering lights, front fogs, electric front and rear windows and alloys.
On the road, this is an excellent little car and while the standard MacPherson front and torsion beam rear suspensions are not
exactly top shelf tech, they do the job admirably and make this a very engaging machine to get around in.
It is a city car, of course, and most of its working life will be spent in the urban milieu. That’s not to say that it should only be driven in town, as it is quite a sharp handler and eminently happy either highway cruising or tackling B-roads.
The engine was one of the main joys for me. Although only capable of the 0-100 dash in a fraction under 15 seconds and endowed with a top speed of a little less than 160 kph, it is still a thing of joy. With its characteristic thrummy three cylinder engine sound, it matters little that there’s only 49 kW (65 bhp) on tap as the willingness of the unit is endless.
What will certainly appeal to people is the 108 g/km emission level, putting it in Tax Band A3 (190 tax annually) and its 4.5 l/100 km (60.1 mpg) consumption level, all of which underlines the car’s economic prowess, although the 2.2 Mazda3 reviewed elsewhere in these pages does make you wonder why this, smaller, engine isn’t a better saviour of the planet.
It is a good car and I really liked it, oozing as it is with character and appeal and boasting a fantastic little engine to boot — even if Al Gore might not be so impressed.
It is a very important car for Hyundai, but I have every confidence it will more than repay the company’s investment in it.
from €11,995 — €13,495 as tested.
another real gem of a small petrol engine on the market — a thrummy three cylinder which is full of vim and vigour and with decent economy and emission
levels as well.
the base model is pretty shy on any creature comforts and another 1,500 will have to be handed over for all the stuff most people want these days.
a little cracker from Hyundai which will find many a happy home in this country.