We spend a week with Hyundai’s latest version of its i10 city car, with Premium SE trim and the 1.2 petrol engine. Is the i10 still a great little city car?
But the market the i10 hunts in is becoming increasingly competitive, so Hyundai has given the i10 a makeover for 2017 to keep it appealing, and keep it selling.
That’s seen stuff like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto arriving with the new 7″ touchscreen infotainment – which on this Premium SE also includes Sat Nav – and titivations to the i10’s cosmetics including the usual updated bumpers, lights and grille.
But can a City Car that’s now some four year old still match what newer offerings bring to the table?
Hyundai i10 Premium SE Inside and Out
The Hyundai i10 has never quite fallen in to the ‘funky and fun’ category of city cars, and Hyundai hasn’t really done anything to change that with the 2017 model.
But what the i10 is, even more than before, is a properly grown-up little car, a car that gives you what you’d expect from a bigger car, but does it very cleverly in a smaller package which offers what bigger cars offer, including a surprising amount of space.
The new titivations do make the i10 look more appealing than before, but it’s still a car whose appeal is more to the head, with its huge practicality and a well thought out design which belies its slightly tall and narrow stance.
Inside is also improved, with the new integrated infotainment (oh, so much better than plonked atop the dash) giving the same grown-up, big car feel as the exterior.
And the impression the i10 is bigger than it is isn’t just an illusion either, with ample room for driver and front seat passenger, and you can even put proper size people in the back and let them keep their legs attached – even with real grown ups in the front. Impressive. The boot’s a good size too.
In terms of big car goodies, this Premium SE trim i10 also ticks all the boxes with stuff like the aforementioned Sat Nav and connectivity plus heated seats, Climate, Cruise, electric windows, heated steering wheel, parking sensors (rear), DAB, decent sound an much more.
For a £12,800 city car that’s a lot of spec.
Hyundai i10 Premium SE Performance on the Road
Hyundai know their market, and the target demographic isn’t looking for cutting edge dynamics and lots of firepower. But despite a relatively modest 1.2 litre (actually, its 1248cc) naturally aspirated engine with just 86bhp, it’s more than competent.
You’d expect the i10 to excel around town, and it really does. Despite a ride which feels quite firm, that doesn’t translate in to crashes and bangs over every urban ridge, in fact quite the opposite – the i10 handles lousy urban roads with alacrity.
It may just have been us, but it took us a few miles to get the clutch and throttle balance right, with the throttle seeming a bit sensitive and the clutch a bit too sharp. But that could have been the size 11s in walking boots to blame, and it passed.
Surprisingly, the i10 isn’t a bad little B-road player either, and although you’re never likely to be breaking speed limits with your 86 horses on back roads, the i10’s really rather good body control means you can carry more speed through bends than you’d expect, without upsetting the apple cart (or passengers).
Even motorway cruising is far from unpleasant, with the i10 perfectly happy all day long at 85mph, the car feeling reassuring and planted despite its size, and wind, tyre and engine noise impressively isolated.
In fact the i10 is impressive wherever you choose to drive, although we would like to have a bit more power. It doesn’t need to be a lot, but we’d love to see Hyundai’s impressive little 120PS 3-pot under the bonnet.
Hyundai i10 Premium SE Premium SE Verdict
City cars tend to come in two flavours – downsized big cars and funky little statements. The Hyundai i10 falls firmly in to the first. But that’s not a bad thing.
It’s not a bad thing because that’s what most buyers want, and Hyundai knows that. And the i10 is arguably the best ‘Big’ little car you can buy.
It looks properly grown up, comes with plenty of grown up toys (especially in this Premium SE), offers more space than you have any right to expect in such a compact car, has good residuals and a five year warranty.
It’s also nice to drive (unless you have size 11 feet with walking boots on), laps up back roads as well as urban roads (and motorways too), does getting on for 50mpg in the real world and isn’t a diesel.
Perhaps it would be nice if Hyundai offered more personalisation options to appeal to a younger market, and it would also be nice if there was something a bit more powerful on offer.
But none of that detracts from the fact that the i10 Premium SE is a properly good little car which offers exactly what so many look for in an urban runaround.
In the ‘Downsized Big Car’ list of City Cars, the Hyundai i10 is as good as it gets, especially in range-topping Premium SE trim.
Hyundai i10 Premium SE Photos
Hyundai i10 Premium SE Tech Specs
- Engine: 1248cc, 86bhp
- Performance: 0-62mph 12.1 seconds / Top Speed 109mph
- Economy: 57.6mpg – Official / 46.1mpg – Test
- Emissions: 114g/km
- Price: £12,800
- Test car supplied by Hyundai UK