Review: Hyundai i10 (2020)

Rating:

Excellent 1.0 MPi petrol engine. Low running costs. Comfortable at motorway speeds. Will easily carry four adults. Lots of active safety kit fitted as standard.

A new mid-spec model will exceed £14,000. Not as good to drive as the Volkswagen Up. Crude automated manual transmission.

Hyundai i10 (2020): At A Glance

It is not the small car bargain it once was, but the Hyundai i10 retains its good old fashioned mix of value and comfort. All versions are easy to use, cheap to run and backed by a comprehensive five year unlimited mileage warranty. It might not be as much fun to drive as key rivals, but the i10 makes a compelling case for the petrol-powered city car.  

The Hyundai i10 rivals small cars like the Volkswagen UpToyota Aygo and Peugeot 108. At face value, the i10 sits at the higher end of the segment price bracket, with a mid-spec model and a couple of optional extras easily exceeding £14,000. However, all versions are well-equipped and crammed with lots of active safety tech as standard.

As with previous generations of the i10, the Hyundai is petrol-only. From launch, buyers get the choice of two engines: a 1.0-litre MPi three-cylinder with 66PS and 96Nm torque, as well as a 1.2-litre MPi four-cylinder with 84PS and 118Nm torque. The best, by far, is the 1.0 MPi: it has lots of low-gear acceleration and is surprisingly hushed on the motorway. Advertised fuel economy is a pleasing 58.8mpg. 

Hyundai is open about the fact that the i10's market is predominately made up of the over 40s; this means its set-up is very much geared for comfort. The ride quality is smooth, the steering is light and all of the controls are easy to find and use. 

The handling is not as rewarding as the Volkswagen Up, but it's a big improvement on previous generations of the i10. The motor driven steering system is light at low-speeds, but firms up once you hit 50mph so you get a good feel for grip and road conditions. The only blot on the i10's report card is the crude and clunky five-gear automated manual transmission - a replacement for the traditional auto gearbox used in the old model.

Standard equipment is generally high, with entry-level SE models getting a leather trimmed steering wheel, DAB audio, air conditioning and a height adjustable driver's seat. The i10 also gets a comprehensive array of safety tech as standard, which includes high beam assist, cruise control, lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking, speed limit warning and a system that will tell the driver to pull over and take a break if it detects tiredness.  

The third-generation i10 is easily Hyundai's best small car to date, even if it doesn’t quite do enough to top the city car segment. Drivers who want an injection of fun will be better suited with the rewarding Volkswagen Up, while those wanting a cheaper alternative will look no further than the Kia Picanto and its seven-year-warranty. However, for those in need of a refined and affordable small car, the latest Hyundai i10 will not disappoint.

What does a Hyundai i10 (2020) cost?

List Price from £10,025
Buy new from £8,971
Contract hire from £130.16 per month

Hyundai i10 (2020): What's It Like Inside?

The interior of the i10 is surprisingly spacious and practical. Much of this is down to the fact the third-generation i10 uses a wheelbase that's 40mm longer than the old version, while the body has been widened by 20mm. 

In-keeping with its value-focus, the i10 is only offered with cloth seats. However, while the dull coloured fabrics might not look particularly impressive to the eye, the seats are extremely comfortable with firm padding and a wide base that supports the lower back and upper leg muscles. 

Like its small car rivals, the cabin of the i10 is covered in hard plastics. These are hardwearing and easy to clean, but not particularly pleasant to the touch. That said there are some nice touches; SE Connect versions, for example, get touchscreen infotainment, rear view camera and leather trimmed steering wheel. Premium trim adds heated seats and a stylish honeycomb 3D pattern to the door inserts and dashboard facia, which nullifies some of the scratchy nature of the plastic trim. 

The 8-inch touchscreen system is easy to use and has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which makes it easy to pair a smartphone for music, maps and navigation. A factory-fit navigation system and a wireless charging pad can be added as an optional extra. 

Operating the heating and air conditioning controls is easy with Hyundai retaining the traditional buttons and dials, located under the touchscreen. An additional row of buttons next to the gear stick operate the heated steering wheel and seats, while all versions get Hyundai's e-call as standard, which automatically calls the emergency services if you're in an accident and the airbags have been deployed. 

With a boot volume of 252 litres, the i10 has enough space to carry two large suitcases or the weekly shop. The rear seats also have a 60/40 split and can easily be lowered, but do not fold completely flat.

The high boot lip and narrow opening also makes it a little awkward to make the most of the i10's bootspace, but its 252 litres is roughly the same as the class leaders and the boot floor can be adjusted to make it easier to get heavy items in and out. 

Specification (January 2020):

SE models get 14-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, body coloured bumpers and door mirrors, rear spoiler with integrated brake light, driver's seat height adjustment, 60/40 split folding rear seats, air conditioning, automatic headlights, high beam assist, cruise control, electric and heated door mirrors, height adjustable steering column, DAB audio, Driver Attention Alert, eCall, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and ISOFIX compatible rear seats.

SE Connect adds 15-inch alloy wheels, rear view camera, Bluetooth with voice recognition, 8-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and two additional audio speakers in the rear.

Premium includes 16-inch alloy wheels, honeycomb design detail on the dashboard and doors, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights and privacy glass for the rear windows.

Child seats that fit a Hyundai i10 (2020)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

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What's the Hyundai i10 (2020) like to drive?

The i10 is not the sharpest or the most rewarding small car to drive, but it is comfortable, well-equipped and really easy to use. 

All versions of the i10 get automatic (halogen) headlights and high beam assist that dips the beam when oncoming vehicles are detected. Cruise control is also fitted as standard, along with a comprehensive package of safety tech that prevents the i10 from straying out of its motorway lane. It will also automatically apply the brakes, if the system thinks an impact is imminent, or urge the driver to take a break if it detects poor driving caused by fatigue. 

There are only two engines to choose from, both petrols, with the star performer being the excellent turbocharged 1.0 MPi. The three-cylinder unit might not sound all that capable on paper, with 67PS and 0-62mph taking almost 15 seconds, but on the road it is actually very good, with low levels of noise and lots of low-gear pull. Unusally for a small engine, it is apt for pulling the i10 along in a high gear at low revs. 

The 1.2 MPi petrol misses out on turbocharging, but gets an extra cylinder to develop 84PS and 118Nm of torque. However, despite its power boost, the 1.2 MPi struggles with hills and overtaking. 

Regardless of which engine you choose, the i10 is comfortable to drive and refined. The supple suspension does a good job of controlling body travel when cornering, and most lumps and bumps are absorbed with ease on 14 and 15-inch wheels. Admittedly, things get a little more bumpy on 16-inch wheels, but the i10 remains in the on the firm side of comfortable on all but the roughest of roads. 

Motorway travel is an area where the i10 has improved greatly, with wind noise and vibration kept to a minimum. The steering is light and lacking in feel below 50mph, but it develops a lot of feedback at motorway speeds and this makes it easy to build confidence with the i10.

Like its rivals, the i10 gets a five-speed gearbox as standard, which works extremely well with the 1.0 MPi petrol, with smooth changes and a long fifth gear that keeps the revs low and engine noise hushed at 70mph.

A five-speed automated manual is the only automatic option, but we wouldn't recommend it unless you really hate changing gears. Indeed, the automated manual is extremely crude with poor anticipation that produces lots of unnecessary gear changes and lots of body vibration.

What have we been asked about the Hyundai i10 (2020)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Why does nobody build small cars with torque converter automatic gearboxes?

The Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto both come with automated manual transmissions. Why do they not get torque converter gearboxes?
Automated manual transmissions are cheaper to produce and generally more efficient than torque-converter gearboxes - both important factors in affordable city cars.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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