Review: Hyundai i10

A whole lot of car for not much cash

06 Jan 16 Tim Barnes-Clay

Pros

  • Cheap to buy and run

  • Quirky styling

  • Economical

Cons

  • Steering can be vague

  • Limited engine range

  • Not much badge appeal

Our expert rating

The Hyundai i10 is a sprightly city car manufactured since 2007. It started off as a cheap and cheerful small car. Today, the i10’s latest generation remains a cheap-to-run stylish motor.

Performance

The Hyundai i10 is at its best in the city, where its tiny body and nimble engines make it perfect for darting around.

However, the i10 doesn’t offer much in the way of speed away from town environments, and drops behind its challengers when it comes to commuting prowess.

Whichever model you choose, the i10 has awesome fuel economy, low road tax and tiny running costs. Average economy is 56.5mpg in early 1.1 models and rockets to 67.3mpg for the 2011 Blue model.

CO2 is unfailingly low, so road tax never gets pricey, either. New Hyundais get a five-year warranty as standard, and many used models still fall under this.

Hyundai i10 engine

Ride and handling

It’s easy to get comfortable at the wheel of the i10, and the simple dashboard design makes finding all the switchgear a doddle. Indeed, every button is marked. Visibility is good too, and the ride quality is civilised for such a small car.

The Hyundai i10 also handles reasonably well. In town it feels simple and light to manoeuvre, coping well with even the patchiest of road surfaces, and the manual gear lever has a hospitable, easy action to it.

All i10s in the range come with anti-lock brakes and, if you do find yourself heading into an unavoidable impact, twin front and side airbags are there to shield you.

The i10 has a four out of five star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests along with a virtuous four stars for child protection.

Hyundai i10 - interior

Interior space

Standing taller than its equals, the Hyundai i10 is big and wide for a city car, and that reflects well in the cabin. There is good interior room for five and comfort levels are high, although three children on booster seats, rather than three adults in the rear will be more relaxing for all.

Room at the front is excellent, with oodles of headroom for even the tallest of passengers. Legroom in the rear is great for kids and acceptable for adults over shorter trips. The boot is average, and the rear seats split and fold, making a useful extension to the load area.

This is a bargain-basement car, so don’t expect too much in the way of kit. That said, you do get basic modern day auto luxuries such as air conditioning, electric windows, central locking and MP3 compatibility as standard on the entry level Classic model.

In fact, this is the best version to go for because Hyundai dealers are often willing to negotiate on this basic trim level - and you might get a few extras thrown in anyway.

The earlier mentioned Blue version will be the variant to hunt down if you want to keep your running costs to a bare minimum, but you’ll pay more than you would for the Classic.

Hyundai i10 boot space

What to know before you buy

The i10 is a reliable car, but there are a few glitches on older models from 2008-2013. The seatbelt mounts can become creaky as they age and first gear can get uncharacteristically stiff.

The fuel gauge has also been known to stick, and the dashboard switchgear, particularly the foglight switches, can break away. Even better levels of build quality and a stronger body shell from 2014 should help keep trim noises and squeaks to a minimum.

As with other Hyundai models, the i10 is covered by a five-year warranty that is not subject to mileage restrictions, and that in itself is impressive.

Side view of Hyundai i10

Alternative cars

The Volkswagen Up! is a major competitor, due to its ingenious packaging. Basically, the VW is little on the outside and pretty large on the inside. The Hyundai i10’s width will give your rear seat passengers more space than the Up, but VW quality is, generally, better. However, the car is pricier to buy.

The Skoda Citigo, which is pretty much a re-badged VW Up, is obviously another big opponent. This is practical and impressive to drive. Indeed, while it’s not quite as roomy as the Hyundai i10, and rear passengers only get two seatbelts in the back. Also, the Citigo’s boot is similarly sized with the seats up.

 

Hyundai i10 alternatives

What’s more, the Citigo is just as well kitted-out and is cheap to run. Generally, the dazzling driving experience gives the Skoda Citigo the edge over the i10. The Fiat Panda is also a worthy adversary because keeping from the Fiat’s cheeky character is difficult – and on its own the Panda impresses.

Not only does it look funky, it also has a comfortable ride and a stylish cabin. But it costs more to run than its rivals because its engines are off the mark in both performance and economy.

Overall verdict

The Hyundai i10 is a great little motor because you get a whole lot of car for not much cash. Indeed, it’s one of the best city cars on the market, and it’s also one of the most inexpensive on secondhand car forecourts to buy and run.

It doesn’t get much better if you are on a shoestring budget.

Expert review

Performance

Reliability

Space & comfort

Running costs

Value for money

Overall