Our Cars: Hyundai i10 Blue

27 June 2011: It's the little things

I’ve spent three months with the i10 now so I’ve gotten used to the major aspects of it – the drive, the performance and the economy. Driving it now is second nature so the smaller details have started to come to my attention more and more.

The other day, for example, the washer fluid ran out. When I opened the bonnet I was immediately presented with the washer fluid filler, in the most sensible and obvious place it could be – right at the front of the engine bay, with no other fillers for things like brake fluid or oil anywhere nearby.

That means access is extremely easy: there’s no scrambling around grazing knuckles on sharp bits of the engine, and no leaning over at uncomfortable angles. It’s the same story with the dipstick, which is nice and easy to pull out and very easy to read.

Sensible design continues inside the cabin. The gear lever is mounted high up, just below the radio and air-conditioning controls, which makes life much easier when you’re in town and you need to change up and down regularly.

Mounting the gear lever where it is frees the space on the floor for some cup-holders, one slightly smaller than the other. That’s handy because one is more suited to bottles, the other to cans.

There’re plenty of small cubby holes in which to keep change, parking cards and, as is inevitable, empty wrappers.

The radio is very intuitive and easy to use. All of the buttons are labelled sensibly and because the unit is so big it’s not fiddly and irritating when you’re on the move. The screen is large and easy to read so you can see exactly what you’re listening to. It’s also well lit, excellent during the day.

But knowing that a bright blue light of that size would surely distract the driver at night it’s fitted with an easy to find and obvious day/night button. Pressing this turns the radio display off, and operating any other button turns it back on.

The audio quality from the four speakers is impressive for a car in this class. There’s decent bass, only minor distortion and a good degree of user control on levels of treble, bass and midtones. It’s hardly going to impress a car audio fanatic, but for every day use it’s very good, better than systems in some more expensive cars.

There’s also a dimmer for the whole dashboard. This isn’t particularly exceptional, but it proves useful on a long drive at night. I did observe, however, that when set to its dimmest the dashboard will occasionally flicker, which gets distracting. It could be a quirk with this particular car, and it’s hardly a catastrophic problem.

Something else that’s irritating on a long trip is the armrest on the door. The plastics used for the interior are sturdy and they feel solid, but using them on the armrest isn’t conducive to comfy elbows. Perhaps a little fabric would be advisable here, but it’s a minor criticism, particularly when the seats are so supportive and comfortable.

It’s all going well for the i10 at the moment. It’s at the stage where niggles and irritations will come to attention ever more often, and so far there are only very minor criticisms.

If you’re interested in asking a question about the i10, follow its Twitter feed @i10_Blue.

 

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Updates
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