Hyundai i10 (2020) Review

Hyundai i10 (2020) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
It is not the small car bargain it once was, but the Hyundai i10 retains its good old fashioned mix of value and comfort.

+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.

-Not as good to drive as the Volkswagen Up. Crude automated manual transmission.

All versions are easy to drive, cheap to run and backed by a comprehensive five year unlimited mileage warranty. It’s also bigger than the average city car, meaning more interior space and a bigger boot. But what makes it stand out is its blend of comfort and handling. True, it might not be quite as much fun to drive as the Volkswagen Up, but the i10 makes a compelling case for the best petrol-powered city car on the market. 

At face value, the Hyundai i10 sits at the higher end of city car prices, when compared models such as the Volkswagen Up, Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108. Mid-spec models with a couple of optional extras easily exceed £14,000.

But you do at least get a lot for your money, both in terms of space and equipment. In fact, it can easily be seen as a cheaper alternative to cars like the Ford Fiesta.

That’s because in terms of size, it sits between the traditional city car and the class above. And this means much better interior space than most city cars and a bigger boot too. In fact, the interior is a real highlight on the i10. Yes there are the usual hard plastics but it doesn’t feel cheap and the design is both attractive and simple to use. 

As with previous generations of the Hyundai i10, this 2020 version is petrol-only. From launch, buyers get the choice of two engines: a 1.0-litre MPi three-cylinder with 67PS 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 reasonably hushed on the motorway. Advertised fuel economy is 58.8mpg. We think this is the model to go for and it’s ideally suited to zipping around town thanks to the fact it’s a three-cylinder engine. 

Hyundai is open about the fact that the i10's market is predominately made up of the over 40s. Hence why 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 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 main 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. You’re better off sticking to the manual.

Standard equipment levels are very good and there are no basic models in the line-up. The entry-level SE model has a leather trimmed steering wheel, DAB audio, air conditioning and a height adjustable driver's seat. Although you do have to suffer steel wheels.

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. Drivers who want a bit more 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 if you want a refined, comfortable and affordable small car, the latest Hyundai i10 will not disappoint.

Ask Honest John

What's the best cheap car for my 23-year-old daughter?
"I want to buy my daughter a new car. Can you recommend something that's reliable and cheap? "
A Kia Picanto's a great little car for not a lot of money. A new one starts from £10,745 but you can save money by buying an as-new pre-registered model. Also look at the new Hyundai i10.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Are there any small cars with a decent automatic gearbox?
"Kia appear to have dropped your recommended Picanto automatic from their range. Hyundai's i10 has joined the dark side with a horrible automated manual. Is there a small car available now with a decent automatic gearbox?"
I'm not a fan of the latest Hyundai i10 auto, either. I'd probably go with the Honda Jazz with the CVT auto: Or buy a nearly new Kia Picanto auto:
Answered by Dan Powell
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

What does a Hyundai i10 (2020) cost?