Our Cars: Hyundai i10 Blue

10 June 2011: Meet the rivals

The Details

Mileage 4500
Average economy 50mpg

Small cars like the i10 occupy a busy market, with seemingly every carmaker building something little, frugal and cheap. That means there’re plenty of options and lots of competition. So if you’re interested in the i10, here’s how it stacks up against models from rival makers.

First, the Fiat Panda. Priced from £8155, the Panda is almost the same price as the i10, which starts at £8195. However unlike the i10, the basic Panda doesn’t come with air conditioning or iPod connectivity as standard. There’s also no sub-99g/km choice for London drivers.

The i10 has a five-year warranty, compared to the Panda’s three year package. If you really, really want a diesel though, the Panda is available with a 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine but there are no diesel-engined i10s.

Fiat also make the 500, a three-door car that lacks the practicality of the i10 and costs more – the most basic model starts at £9665. While on paper the i10 is better, to many buyers there is no substitute for flair and the 500 has it in spades. The Twin-Air model is congestion charge exempt but it costs £10,895, almost £1000 more than the i10 Blue.

Based on the same platform as the 500 is the Ford Ka. It’s certainly pretty, with styling similar to that of the bigger Fiesta but, again, as seems to be the emerging pattern, it’s more expensive than the i10. The basic 1.2-litre Style model costs £8545 and it doesn’t even have electric windows. To get them you need to get the Edge trim level which is £9545. On top of that, MP3 connectivity is a £250 option on all trim levels.

On paper, the basic 1.0-litre Chevrolet Spark looks compelling, with a very low starting price of £7215. But that doesn’t even get you a CD-player... I’m not joking! For such luxuries as electric windows, air conditioning and a CD-player you need a ‘+’ spec model, which is priced fairly close to the i10 and Panda, at £8695. The LS spec is reasonable value, but the Active trim i10 offers more standard equipment, including alloy wheels and electric mirrors.

Spark

It seems the i10 offers the best small car package around, particularly in 1.2-litre Active trim, which is priced £8,795 and offers electric front and rear windows, air conditioning, and electric mirrors as standard.

However, there are a few thorns in the i10’s side, and they come in the form of the new Kia Picanto and the Suzuki Alto. The 1.0-litre Picanto in ‘1’ trim is just £7995 and it’s fitted with the same congestion charge exempt engine as the i10 Blue as well as a reasonable standard spec. However it doesn’t have air-conditioning unless you select the ‘1 Air’ spec, which costs £8595.

The Picanto also has a better warranty package of seven years, compared to the i10’s five. But even so the i10 offers a value-for-money package, particularly in 1.2-litre Active specification which gives good fuel economy, performance and equipment levels for a reasonable price.

The Suzuki Alto is a well styled, cute little car that's certainly more aesthetically attractive than the i10 and it's about the same price too, starting at £7820. For that you get electric windows, but no air-con. The interior is cute, but the quality isn't quite up to that of the i10. Even so, it's easy to make a case for it based on the looks, low purchase price and low running costs. 

We think the i10 is one of the best small cars around – and despite stiff competition in the form of the new Kia Picanto and Suzuki Alto, it’s probably safe to say that it still is...

« Earlier: The award winning i10 Blue     Later: It's the little things »

Updates
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.
10 June 2011: Meet the rivals
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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