First Drive: 2014 Hyundai i10 – the city star – review image

Unveiled just two months ago at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, Hyundai is making waves with the new i10 A-segment city-car. It comes to replace the current 5-years old i10 model, but this time the difference between the old and new product is … “made in Europe” the automaker says.

i10 is fully designed in Germany at Rüsselsheimand and built at Hyundai’s Assan Otomotiv plant in İzmit, Turkey after the company invested more than $677 million; so yes this is the first A-Segment car from Hyundai that it’s made in Europe.

From the first minute when you get behind the steering wheel you realize the huge difference the automaker made in terms of built quality. It doesn’t feel cheap at all and offers a lot of features in a small package that many times will make you feel you’re driving a bigger car. Also compared to the old i10, the new model is 80mm longer (+3.1 in), 65mm wider (+2.6 in) and 50mm lower (+2.0 in); and considering that now rides on a completely new platform (shared with the latest Kia Picanto), Hyundai engineers decided to increase the wheelbase by 5mm and relocate the rear dampers to deliver more precise wheel control. The new dimensions result in a trunk space increase by 10%, totaling to 252 liters – more than a VW Up!. And by the way the i10 is the widest car in its class.

Standard features include six airbags with front curtain, ESP electronic stability program with ABS and VSM, tire pressure Monitoring system, central locking, USB connection, two 12-volt connectors and ISOFIX mountings for a child seat. Moreover, all i10s come with Hyundai’s five-year unlimited-mileage warranty, so you don’t have to worry about nothing for at least five years.

Engine, transmission
The new 2014 i10 is available in Europe with 2 engines – a 1-liter 3-cylinder 66hp petrol (48 kW and 94 Nm (69 lb-ft) of torque) and, for those who are considering that more power is needed, Hyundai offers the well-known 1.2-liter four-pot petrol with 87 HP (64 kW) and 120 Nm (88 lb-ft) of torque. Nop, there are no diesels…

Our test car was equipped with the newest entry-level 1.0-liter three-cylinder petrol connected to a five-speed manual gearbox. The engine is capable enough to move the little car in the city without any problem, and the transmission is light and very easy to operate. Also the clutch is soft enough for ‘city-operations”.  Of course don’t expect to be fast, but it can cruise at speeds over 130 km/h without any problem (problem comes when you count the seconds to get there …).

What’s nice is that the engine settles into an uncannily smooth idle and there’s almost no noise in the cabin when you’re stopping at a red-light sign.

We’ve tested the car due to our trip from Milan to Cinque Terrere (a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera – a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and I can say the gear ratios seem well chosen considering that I’ve intensively used the gearbox because the road, from the moment you exit highway has a lot of curves and is extremely narrow; to be more explicit you have more than 80 km where you have to drive like this: brake, stop, first – second – stop again, first, stop / minute .. and so on .. you got the point.

Fuel Consumption
… is so – so. Our car was not equipped with any start-stop system. On the highway, with the AC off at about 90 km/h the car will eat 4.0 – 4.2 liters for every 100 km, with is in line with what Hyundai says (official figures: 4.0l/100km). However, during city operations we’ve recorded 7.2 – 7.8 liters /100km, with is about 25 – 30% more compared to the official figures of just 6.0 liters/100km.

Suspension, handling, breaking
Suspension is a little bit too rigid from my point of view … mostly for the back passengers, but of course for the driver these translates in greater wheel control and handling. Geometry changes to suspension components and steering arms, and the introduction of side loading springs, deliver improved feedback compared to the old i10.

Talking about handling, the little car behaves exemplary even when fully loaded with five people inside. However if you push the gas too much it will eventually oversteer hard, but it’s unlikely you’d reach that point. My point is that I enjoyed driving the new i10 even a little bit sportier, but then again the i10 is a city car. The steering is extremely light at low speeds.

As standard, the i10’s braking system features 241 (1,0 models) or 252 mm (1,25 models) diameter ventilated discs at the front and 234 mm diameter solid discs at the rear. Again the little city car behaves very well, much better than the outgoing model –and you have to keep in mind that ventilated discs for both rear and front axels are something pretty rare for a car this size.

The entire environment is much better built and most of the plastics don’t look cheap as I expected at the beginning, bringing the urban cruiser much closer to the Vw Up!.

The two-tone cabin gives a lot of “light” inside and doesn’t make you feel you’re driving a 3.6-meter car.

Talking about interior space, Hyundai says the new i10 has 1968 mm of headroom and beats the competition with best-in-class trunk capacity: 252 liters with back seats in position (+ 27 liters compared to the old i10) and 1046 with the back seats folded down. Legroom is also sufficient even for large people like me (I have 1.85m) . On the back there’s space for three people.

You have a lot of pockets to put your cell phone or your big glass of water, and in terms of ergonomics all the commands are well market and easy to operate. However there’s no navigation. Hyundai considers that many customers will user their smartphones to navigate from A to B.

Seats are great for short distances.

Vw Up!, Skoda Citigo (tested here), Seat Mii, Fiat Panda , Toyota Aygo (tested here), Mitsubishi Space Star (tested here)

Pros & Cons
Clearly the new i10 is a much better car compared to the old i10. In fact is one of the best Hyundai’s ever made, and many times is better than the VW Up!, with is considered n.1 in this segment. Fuel consumption is so-so but if you don’t push hard the gas pedal, eventually the little engine will not rob you pockets. Too bad that Hyundai doesn’t offer any type of navi.

Plus for: build quality, steering and breaks, interior space, boot space.

Minus for: central console – there’s no navi, not even as an optional.

Tested vehicle
2014 Hyundai i10 Style
Price: from €9.850 | our car: €12.850
Power: 48,6 kw (66 hp)  @ 3.500 rpm
Engine: 1.0 MPI (998 cmc) three-cylinder 108 CO2 g/km
Dimensions: length: 3.665; width: 1.660; height: 1.500mm
Weight: 933kg
0-100: 14,9 seconds
Max speed: 155km/h
Fuel consumption: Urban: 6.0l/100km; Extra-Urban: 4.0l/100km; Combined: 4.7l/100km
Fuel tank: 40l