Hyundai i10 1.2 2008 Road Test

Sat, 25 Oct 2008

I really liked the original Hyundai i10 1.1 when I tested it back in March. And so, it seems, did everyone else. Demand exceeded supply by more than 50% and, after expecting to sell 7,000 in its first year, by October 2008 Hyundai had already sold 11,000.

The main problem was supply of the 1.1 engines. Happily now solved by the advent of the all-new alloy block, chain-cam 1.2 Kappa engine.

This eager little engine delivers more power and torque and more performance, yet emits slightly less CO2. Enough less to put the all singing, all dancing Style model with alloys, aircon, all-electric windows and electric sunroof into the £35/£30 tax bracket.

Astonishingly, this tiny car is actually a full-five seater, with five proper lap/diagonal seatbelts. There’s plenty of headroom in the back. And the rear cushions fold forward so the 60/40 seatbacks can be folded to leave a flat luggage deck.

Underneath the rearmost section there’s a 6” deep modular tray. And under that, a space-saver spare wheel.

It somehow conspires to out-Panda a Panda, offering quite strong acceleration at low speeds and astonishing handling for something so small and tall. It gets a bit flat on the motorway, but the reason for that is its sensibly long gearing in 5th of around 23mph per 1,000rpm, which means it’s no buzzbox, only pulling around 3,000rpm at 70.

The benefits don’t end there. Everything seems to have been thought of including a passenger airbag keyswitch, ISOFIX childseat tethers for the outer rears. Even the rear windows wind right down into the doors. And how many cars this size and price come with an electric sliding sunroof?

On my second day in it I found myself romping along with a grin from ear to ear. And, of course, at Group 2 insurance and £35/£30 tax as well as an unlimited mileage, manufacturer-backed warranty, anyone who buys one is laughing all the way to the bank.

That said, it won’t have escaped your attention that the price has gone up a fair bit since the March launch. The 1.2 Style and Comfort are actually £650 more than the original 1.1s. But the state the Pound is in you can hardly blame Hyundai for that.

I reckon it’s the best big-little car you can buy.

For prices, specifications, engines, transmissions, dimensions and performance figures please click the tabs.

March 2008 test of i10 1.1 at

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