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Hyundai i10

Date: 24 March 2020   |   Author: Simon Harris

As many manufacturers withdraw from the city car sector, Hyundai's latest offering shows the brand has no intention of giving up.
Standard equipment:
Autonomous emergency braking with alert, automatic headlights with auto-dipping high beam, lane-keeping assistance, driver attention warning, LED daytime running lights, Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity,
8in colour touchscreen, air conditioning, electric windows
Petrol: 67hp 1.0, 84hp 1.2, 100hp 1.0 (summer 2020)
Equipment grades:
SE, SE Connect, Premium, N Line (summer 2020)
Five-speed manual, five-speed auto

It is tough for car manufacturers to profit from small cars. Margins are small, both for manufacturers and the dealers that supply them to customers.

The A-sector - often known as city cars - has seen many manufacturers pull out recently. Ford no longer sells the Ka+ in Europe, after just three years on sale.

The Vauxhall Viva and Adam are no longer on sale, and neither is the Renault Twingo. There is no Suzuki Celerio, although the cuter Ignis remains.

The big success story of this sector, the Fiat 500, remains after 13 years in production and limited changes, as well as the Panda, with which it shares a platform. However, Fiat has already suggested future replacements could increase in size.

Volkswagen Group's trio of contenders, the Seat Mii, Skoda Citigo and Volkswagen Up, have undergone changes, with only the latter available with a choice of petrol or electric version, and the first two becoming zero-emission models.

Another trio of cars wearing different skins, the Peugeot 108, Citroën C1 and Toyota Aygo, illustrate the benefits of pooling resources to maximise the returns. 

Hyundai's i10 has shared the same platform as the Kia Picanto, and previously the duo tended to appeal to slightly different customers in need of a small car. The Picanto, with a more conventional hatchback shape and cuter styling, was more in the mould of the Fiat 500, even though the first Picanto arrived three years before the Fiat.

The i10 targeted the people choosing the Fiat Panda - with more upright dimensions and height to offer a roomier interior. The latest i10, which has just gone on sale, is no longer the tall shopping trolley it used to be.

Lower and wider than before, the i10 has been transformed into a dynamic-looking city car, without perhaps the elegance of the Peugeot 108 or the attitude of the latest Picanto.

More than 10 years ago, the i10 was the cheapest car on sale in the UK that had air conditioning fitted as standard. Back then, when the government's scrappage scheme was in full swing, the on-the-road price was around £7,000.

The range now starts at almost double that, but, even adjusting for price inflation, it isn't that steep when you consider all the things available as standard.

The UK range starts with the SE, which, perhaps unusually for a small car, comes with a vast range of safety equipment. Autonomous emergency braking and
lane-keeping assistance are fitted to Hyundai's larger cars, and the new i10 is no exception.

Customers currently have a choice of a 67hp, three-cylinder, 1.0-litre engine or an 84hp, four-cylinder, 1.2-litre. Both come with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, or an optional five-speed automatic.

We tried the automatic in the 1.2-litre version, and like many other small cars a conventional torque converter transmission would be expensive and thirsty. Hyundai has opted for a robotised manual transmission, which, while cheaper and theoretically no thirstier than the standard gearbox, feels hesitant on upshifts, giving the impression that you are losing momentum.

It is the type of gearbox that Smart did away with for the last incarnations of its petrol and diesel models, switching to a dual-clutch transmission (DCT). Hyundai has a DCT in some of its larger models, which has smoother shifts and is more engaging, but the price premium over manual is typically around £1,000. In the i10, you pay £500 more for automatic transmission, and get the same CO2 emissions as the manual.

It is likely that the automatic transmission is necessary to attract Motability business, but unless you really can't drive without it, we wouldn't recommend it. For someone who hasn't driven an automatic car before, it would be enough to put them off.

We spent most of our time in the 1.0-litre manual, which was adequate for most situations, but not ideal for motorway work, losing speed easily on long drags uphill. Although the three-cylinder engine sometimes needs working hard, the noise is never too intrusive.

The 1.2-litre is happier in every situation, while the forthcoming Sporty N-Line variants will come exclusively with a turbocharged version of the 1.0-litre, producing 100hp, which will, no doubt, appeal more to drivers with a degree of choice.

As a package, the i10 offers most of what fleets needing a small car require - five-door practicality, great safety equipment, attractive styling and good comfort. Although drivers would be unlikely to cover vast business mileage in the i10, the five years/unlimited mileage warranty is also reassuring.

Hyundai i10 1.0 SE Connect 

P11D £13,290

On sale Now

Residual value 34.4%

Depreciation £8,175

Fuel £6,030

Service, maintenance and repair £1,626

Cost per mile 27.3p

Fuel consumption 50.4mpg

CO2 (BIK band) 101g/km (24%) 

BIK 20/40% a month £53/£106

Boot space 252 litres

Engine size/power 998cc/67hp


  • Attractive styling
  • Relatively spacious
  • Well-equipped
  • Auto gearbox shift feel
  • Not exactly cheap