Hyundai i10, motoring review: Why do these cars keep getting bigger and bigger?
Price: from £8,345-£10,495
Engine: (1.0) 998cc, three cylinders, 12 valves
Transmission: five-speed gearbox (four-speed auto optional), front-wheel drive
Performance: 96mph, 0-60 in 14.9sec
When is a supermini not a supermini? A quick answer could be "When it's a Renault Clio". The current version of Renault's staple supermini is enormous; it's long, wide, and it looks as bulky as a Golf, say.
This upward size-creep in cars has been going on for a while, causing a new layer of compact cars to sneak in beneath the superminis. They – Fiat 500, Volkswagen Up, Citroën C1 and the like – are still bigger than an original Mini was, and are the true superminis. But now the size-creep has hit here, too.
Take the new Hyundai i10. The previous one, built in India and launched in 2008, was an unexpected success. It was a keen, happy, friendly car to drive, it exuded frills-free honesty and it was brilliant value.
It was also a properly compact four-seater hatchback, a sub-supermini. Now there's a new one, built in Turkey and designed (in Germany, mainly) in response to what Hyundai perceives as buyers' desires. It's bigger, has more gadgetry, is more expensive (but still good value) and overall seems more grown-up. Which is fine, but if you wanted a compact Hyundai hatchback bigger than an i10 you would hitherto have simply considered the excellent Hyundai i20. But now that, too, is to be replaced, and will again be a bit bigger. Why? As carmakers become cleverer, shouldn't their cars take up less road space, not more?
Hyundai talks of the i10's quality, sophistication and "premium feel", but this seems to miss the point of what a sub-supermini should be. The interior still consists mainly of un-premium hard plastics apart from the seats, but the shapes are quite imaginative in their curves and, as in a Fiat 500, the dashboard colour can complement that of the exterior paintwork. The expected USB audio connectivity is standard; Bluetooth, however, is standard only on higher-specification versions.
It looks neat and nippy from the outside, with the snub nose and high headlights typical of a modern small car and an alert, tail-up profile. In place of the old model's 1.1-litre, 66bhp engine is a choice of two new units, a 1.2-litre with a racy 87bhp or a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder unit with that same 66bhp but reduced CO2 emissions (108g/km, or 98 in the Blue Drive version, compared with the previous 119). You sit in the same sort of upright, in-control driving position as in the old i10, but you're aware of more car around you. Rear passengers have more space, too, but this is still a usefully small car.
The little engine makes an appealingly musical three-cylinder thrum, but some of the old i10's eagerness has been squashed here despite slightly better outright acceleration. You can blame the longer-legged gearing for some of this, which improves the economy if you drive gently as well as contributing to the i10's impressive quietness, but if you're to overtake anything or tackle an uphill motorway you have to change down a gear and rev the engine hard.
Nor does the new i10 feel as agile as the old one, although it steers precisely enough, strings bends together with fluidity and soaks up bumps well. The whole car feels calmer and more passive; it does what you want it to do without encouraging any exuberance.
Life & Style blogs
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Fifty years of David Bowie's hairstyles in one animated gif
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
British Breakfast Awards 2015: London restaurant wins prize for inventive take on the Full English
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
- 2 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...