Test drive: Hyundai i10 Blue
Sector: City car Price: £9,195 Fuel: 67.3mg CO2: 99g/km
Has the move amongst drivers to downsize their car choice purely been led by increased motoring costs or is it also down to the fact that so many of today’s small cars are damn good at what they do?
It’s something that I pondered over long and hard while driving Hyundai’s latest i10.
Revised earlier this year, this model bears the distinction of being the cheapest five-seat car on the market to achieve sub-100g/km CO2 – at 99g/km there are many savings in running costs to be had for fleet and private drivers.
The 68bhp three-cylinder 1.0-litre unit that achieves these lowly emissions is also seen in the Kia Picanto and is joined by just one other engine in the line-up – an 85bhp 1.25-litre four-cylinder unit – which I drove recently in the Kia model.
While the 1.25-litre puts out a gutsy performance, I have to say that it’s the three-cylinder unit that impresses the most – definitive proof that downsizing costs needn’t mean downsizing fun. It feels lively and raucous and has a distinctive noise to it that helps encourage the driver to rev it hard – which is when it feels at its best – aided by the smooth five-speed gearbox. Although the larger engine is still probably the best one for long-distance drivers, this one is the more entertaining. Ride is also surprisingly comfortable – standard 13-inch wheels on the Blue Drive help here – and is certainly better than that of the Kia Picanto.
As well as the engine, Hyundai has made a few other additions that give the Blue Drive model its low-emission status. These include an Eco Drive indicator showing when to change gear, the ISG stop-start system and low rolling resistance tyres – none of which intrude on the driving experience.
Despite its modest dimensions the i10 is still well sized, thanks to clever packaging, and trumps the Picanto for boot dimensions (225-910 litres) and rear space. Fitting three in the back would be a squeeze but two tall passengers can be accommodated without issue.
In fact the only thing I was left a bit confused about was the somewhat schizophrenic spec list – on the one hand this provides a good array of kit such as air con, iPod connection and CD player with MP3 compatibility but is missing less high-tech but more essential items such as a plipper and electronic adjustment for the wing mirrors. The inclusion for the first time of Hyundai’s Five Year Triple Care warranty package.
Sub-100g/km emissions with a sub-£10,000 price tag combine with high spec and the Five Year Triple Care warranty package to make this a smart choice for drivers – in three-pot guise it’s surprisingly fun too.