EVERY car manufacturer wants the public to love its products.
For Ford it seems almost to be no contest, with the Fiesta showing feisty spirit and dominating the sales charts for years. It shows no sign of weakening its grip, especially among private buyers who have their choices influenced as much by the appeal of the car’s features as they do by the bean counter mentality that drives many business purchasers.
Hyundai can also be pleased with itself where its little i10 starter model is concerned.
In the recent spate of awards ceremonies that every motoring magazine loves to run, the i10 was judged best city car at the 2017 Top Gear awards (never judged by the revered Jeremy but by more realistic individuals).
Better still, the talent at Fleet World magazine said the i10 was the car that every other maker had to beat as far as fleet operators are concerned.
Hyundai is a Korean manufacturer but the i10, introduced in 2008, has always been made in Europe. The current second generation cars have been around since late 2013 but just in time for the Spring 2017 market the chrysalis split to reveal a revived version that turned out to be more than just a pretty face.
True its exterior had been altered in true chrysalis style but there were also changes under the skin to improve the ride, always a tough nut to crack for city cars in particular.
The combination of short wheelbase and light weight never has been much good at supressing bumps. There’s just insufficient physical presence to iron out the road imperfections that are more prevalent than since the days of the horse and cart, when MacAdam had yet to think of combining asphalt and stone chippings to create something more durable than mud.
What helps on the better models is the adoption of 14 inch wheels, stylish alloys in the case of the Premium SE test car.
Hyundai would also like you to get emotionally involved with the i10, warm feelings they hope will be triggered when you notice the new cascading grille design at the front.
Techy types will be more likely to fall in love with the higher levels of connectivity, particularly as it will allow them to rip their phones from their fingers but still stay in touch while avoiding the £200 fines and six licence points that could be meted out by that rare apparition, a traffic cop.
It’s always good fun having a poke about when new cars arrive on the drive but one of the most amazing features of the i10 was its high-speed glovebox. It drops like a stone, mainly because it contains several kilos of paper that make up a multi lingual, two volume explanation of the car.
It used to be that only super-size cars like Mercedes S Class has such voluminous tomes but Hyundai obviously thought it had saved enough weight with the spacesaver spare to allow some spare capacity for heavy books.
Mind you, this is a small car that can tolerate the weight. Hyundai offers a choice of 1.0 or 1.2-litre petrol engines, the latter fitted to the test car.
While the roar of three-cylinder petrol engines has become the norm, it has to be said that the quiet relaxation of a four cylinder unit with a decent power output has its merits on a fraught journey when you don’t want the traffic announcements drowned out by mechanical clatter.
By its very nature, the i10 is a narrow car although back in the day when we fitted the buyer profile (for both size and age) the Hyundai’s dimensions would have been regarded as quite generous. We’re always amazed how Annette’s aunt and uncle shoehorned four very ample sons into an Austin 7 Ruby and then persuaded it to move! The Ruby makes the i10 seem a diamond of a family car.
Of course, a good power to weight ratio is also relaxing at the fuel pumps, too, as an engine that is not overworked tends to be economical on fuel. Renault followed the big engine/small car format for years and the results were palpable.
These days, engineering allows smaller capacity motors and the Hyundai did well with its 45mpg fuel figure which never seemed to waver no matter how hard it was driven.
It’s a car for four rather than five and you wouldn’t want to be an adult, or even the size of what passes for a teenager these days, and go too far in the back. But families with smaller children will find this an acceptable chariot with a decent sized boot that makes it acceptable as a main car rather than a second string runabout. If you need something bigger now and again, hire it!
Maurice and Annette Hardy
Car: Hyundai i10 1.2 Premium SE
Does it fit your ego…
0-62 mph: 12.1 secs
Top speed: 109 mph
Bhp: 87 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 88.5 lb ft @ 4,000 rpm
…and your wallet…
Combined: 57.6 mpg
CO2 emissions: 114 g/km
Best bits: easy to love.