Our Cars: Hyundai i10 Blue

4 November 2011: Farewell, i10!

The Details

Current mileage 10,143
Average economy 58.9mpg

Believe it or not, the Hyundai i10 has been with me for six months, and so it’s time to bid it farewell. The recorded mileage sits at just above 10,000, and over the past six months my average fuel economy has been an impressive 58.9mpg.

That means I’ve used 172 gallons of petrol, which has cost me about £1050.  Had I been driving an eco diesel I’d have expected about the same economy, but it would have cost £50 more in fuel, not to mention the extra initial cost of buying a diesel car in the first place.

The i10 is, of course, in its element in the city, but the biggest surprise of the past six months is how well it copes on motorways and dual carriageways. For the odd weekend away it’s ideal, coping very well over long distances. Larger cars are quieter and offer better overtaking performance than the i10, but it’s certainly as comfortable on a three or four hour drive as some big saloons.

It’s not all perfect, though. It’s tall sided and lightweight, so it catches the wind and feels a little precarious in bad weather. In rain the roof sounds curiously thin, and if you forget to lower the parcel shelf it obstructs the view out of the rear. Luckily the last problem can be overcome with a gentle shove of the throttle, which makes it thud back into place.

It’s all well and good me telling you what it’s like to drive the i10, but if you’ve got a family then there’s every chance you’ll have a passenger with you for a lot of your journeys. My other half has spent almost as much time as me in the i10, but, being unable to drive, she’s seen it from a different perspective.

She says “the interior is roomy and sturdy but isn’t made of the fanciest materials.” She’s happy enough to sit in the passenger seat on long trips, though, and she also appreciates the standard AUX-in connection, which allows her to listen to her iPod.

On the other hand she thinks it needs more power to make country drives more interesting and she absolutely hates the colour, which she rather aptly calls “blue rinse metallic.”

In the Blue trim level, which I’ve been running for the past six months, the i10 is congestion charge exempt, which made sense initially. But it didn’t take long to realise that those big red Cs painted on the road to indicate that you’re entering the London congestion zone should only be regarded as a good place to do a U-turn.

Driving in central London is best avoided, even in a congestion charge exempt car. Parking charges are eye-wateringly extortionate and most journeys take less time on foot than they do in a car, thanks to scores of traffic lights and frankly ridiculous numbers of traffic jams.

Which brings me neatly on to my conclusion - in the Blue trim level, the i10 comes with less kit than the 1.2-litre Classic model, which gets alloy wheels, electric windows and a more powerful engine. Despite that, the Blue - which doesn’t even have remote central locking - costs £400 more.

So in short, if you’re in the market for a small car, then you should definitely consider the i10 – but unless you absolutely must drive into the congestion zone on a regular basis, buy the 1.2 Active and leave the Blue alone. If you do that you’ll end up with what is probably the best value car in this price bracket.

What's good:

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Practicality of five doors and folding seats
  • Works well on the motorway
  • Makes an ideal city car

What's bad:

  • The 1.2-litre i10 is almost as efficient but costs less

The bubble chart below shows all the figures you'll need to know about the i10 from the last six months. 

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Updates
4 November 2011: Farewell, i10!
After six months, 10,000 miles, 172 gallons of petrol and numerous trips across the country, it's time to say goodbye to the Hyundai i10.
After a trip up the motorway the lightweight i10 shows a weak spot in some blustery weather.
When you've been driving a car for a few months you start to notice finer points, like the layout of the engine bay and the folding of the seats.
It's been warm, and standard air-con has been a boon - but it saps power and fuel economy, quite noticeably so.
I haven't driven the i10 far lately, but that's given me time to ponder the numerous accessories Hyundai offers for it.
Even when compared to used cars the i10 Blue makes financial sense for those who want congestion charge exemption
After a few months running the i10, some of the clever little details start to catch your attention a little more.
Small cars like the i10 occupy a busy marketplace, with seemingly every car maker building something little, frugal and cheap. So if you’re interested in the i10, here’s how it stacks up against models from rival makers.
It might come as no surprise that the i10 Blue won the title of ‘Most Genuinely Economical Petrol Engined Car Award’ at our inaugural Honest John Awards on May 19th. Here's why...
Before the i10 I had an old 'banger' and tried to keep costs to a minimum. But after comparing the running costs of the Hyundai i10 to my old Nissan I was astounded how much more the 10-year-old Primera was costing.
After its difficult first journey down the M1, the i10 is right at home in London town.
The Hyundai i10 is the newest and smallest addition to the HonestJohn.co.uk fleet. It should be right at home in central London, where it’ll be living for the next six months.
 

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