The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

First Drive 2014 Hyundai i10

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2014 Hyundai i10

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

AMSTERDAM, October 30, 2013. In Europe, the popular subcompact segment gets a new contender, the Hyundai i10. With its arrival, the South Korean manufacturer finally has a competitor for the second generation Picanto, the twin model from its Kia sibling that is on the market for over a year.

Hyundai, that has its European headquarters in the Frankfurt area, stresses the fact that the new generation i10 has been developed in Europe and for Europeans. The new car is even being built in Turkey, not yet in the EU, but much closer than India, where the outgoing i10 was produced.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The so-called A-segment, that covers some 23 per cent of the total market in the Old World, is the most important for Hyundai. The models are getting more luxury and many people consider the new models as an alternative for the larger segment. And even the standard safety features are matching those of the more expensive models. The i10 has six airbags, ESP, the VSM stability program plus a tire pressure monitor. While the standard equipment includes climate control, radio/cd/mp3 player and USB/AUX-connections. And this all at a price of just under 11,000 euro, right in the middle of the segment, where 60 percent of the cars sold are priced between 10 and 12 thousand euro.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The styling of the new generation is based on the Fluidic Sculpture design language. It was implemented in 2006 by Peter Schreyer after he joined the company as Kia’s design chief. In the meantime Schreyer has made it to the board of the Korean car manufacturer and oversees both Kia and Hyundai design. Exterior designer Thomas Burkle and his team gave the new model an attractive look. The new i10 is longer, lower and wider than the outgoing generation, which makes it more dynamic. But is it the interior, where the small Hyundai has some plusses over its competitors. First of all the luggage compartment, which offers a content of 8.9 cu-ft, the largest in its segment. It can be ‘stretched’ to 36.9 cu-ft when you fold the back rests of the rear seats. It is easy to load with a low sill (28.5 in.) and a large door opening of 36.2 inches.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Well, as usual it is all about a first impression. When you step inside a new car, what is it you see and feel? In the new i10, I was not disappointed. Not at all! The cockpit looks good. With an attractive and well executed two tone dashboard, the orange (or blue) color is also used for details such as the arm rests in the doors grips and for the center console around the shift handle. Your hands like the leather trim of the steering wheel and shift knob and the upper part of the dashboard feels soft. In short, the materials are better than expected in this class.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

When we start our first drive from the former Valkenburg airport, close to my home town The Hague, the weather is really nasty. For some days already, we have been warned that a huge storm would reach our coastal areas by mid morning, just when we are stepping into the i10. The roof of one of the hangars was blown of just half an hour ago. It had wrecked two of the 114 brand new Hyundai’s which were going to be taken home by as many dealers after the launch party that night.

We are fearless and drive off into that storm that reaches some 50 knots around noon. Our little car does not seem to notice and stays put on the road.

When we saw two pedestrians fighting the wind and getting totally wet, we offered them a ride to where they were going. The two full-size men made grateful use of the offer and were surprised of the leg space in the rear.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The small 1.0-liter three cylinder engine (See 2014 Ford Fiesta 3 is the new four) is combined with a five speed gearbox offers just enough power for the flat roads and it is nice and quiet inside. The 66 hp and 69 pound feet of torque is just o.k. enough for a car this size and a weight of just 2,000 pounds. But do not expect much of its acceleration. From zero to 30 mph takes 4.6 seconds and to reach 62 mph you will have to hang on for another ten seconds. From 50 to 75 mph, which we call the overtaking acceleration takes nearly 25 seconds, so you better refrain from doing that.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The 88 hp engine is economically speaking not interesting for the Dutch market, so it will not be available, but will be the choice of engine in other countries, no doubt. Also the automatic transmission is not going to be offered here for the same reasons. The steering gear is excellent, firm and with a lot of feed back, but a tad vague in the center. The suspension is set up for comfort, no wonder with such a short wheel base. But it is not to be compared with the outgoing model. The car feels not too soft, but stable and safe and speeding up coming out of corners is no problem.

When driving the new Hyundai, I was just thinking: if you would need a small car, and would be going with the flow of traffic, you may consider the i10. It looks nice, feels good, drives well and it is not too expensive! That is: in Dutch terms.

The Hyundai distributor in The Netherlands even has introduced a new financial plan, which is called All-in-1 subscription. It is a form of operational lease for private customers. They pay from 127 euro per month plus the gas they use. It is not much used in this country, up till now!

Technical details 2014 Hyundai i10

Engine: 	1.0-litre 3-cil
Power:		48.5 kW/66 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque:	69 lb-ft @3,500 rpm
Transmission: 2-speed manual
L/w/h		144.3/65.4/58.5 inches
Wheelbase	93.9 inches
0-62mph: 	15.1 seconds
Top speed: 	96 mph
Fuel economy:	54.7 mpg (Eu test cycle)
CO2: 		98 g/km
Price:		from € 9,995 (NL)