Cheeky blend of fun: the Hyundai i10


PRICE from £8,345
ENGINE CAPACITY 1.0l 3-cyl petrol
POWER OUTPUT (BHP @ RPM) 65 @ 5,500
TOP SPEED (mph) 96
FUEL ECONOMY (mpg) 60.1
CO2 EMISSIONS (g/km) 108

Earlier this , I drove close to 1,000 miles back and forth across Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire and Worcestershire. I was covering the floods, so drove tortuous routes around flooded valleys, hundreds of miles along wind-battered motorways and down dozens of rain-lashed country lanes, but I'm not complaining.

You might assume I'd have wanted a Land Rover for the job with four-wheel-drive to battle the elements, a luxurious interior for me and a powerful engine to dispatch long motorway runs with ease. In fact, I did it all in a tiny Hyundai i10, which unlike a Range Rover won't cost you £70k and doesn't come with 200-plus horsepower. It didn't have satnav either, so I had to pack a map, remember them?

Again though, I'm not complaining. That's because the i10 did the job with aplomb. Don't get me wrong; it isn't fast, luxurious or even particularly innovative, but it works, works well and has a sense of joy. That's right, it might only pack 65 horsepower but it has a cheeky blend of fun and rugged practicality. Without getting lost in the details, the engine makes it go forward, the brakes make it stop and the steering wheel allows you to change direction. It's just that is does all this with a sense of pluck, as if saying: "You didn't expect me to be able to overtake that lorry in a winter storm with the rain lashing in and a gale blowing did you?"

And throughout my West Country odyssey, the ride was smooth and compliant, the engine refined at normal speeds and economical throughout. Even in dreadful conditions and with my heavy foot dashing across country, I returned above 40mpg, which is fairly respectable, but given some attention 50mpg should easily be achievable.

It does have its downsides, specifically that it doesn't come with a DAB radio or Bluetooth. In my mind, these should come as standard, not be optional extras. Also the rear seats are cramped, but this is a city car, not a saloon, and you get what you pay for.

My brother has run the last generation of i10 with two boys and their kit for some time, without complaints over space, performance, equipment or price. I may be the car expert in the family, but when it comes to buying my next car, I'll be taking his advice.

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