A week with a Hyundai i10

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It’s a new city car from Korea.

Hyundaii10_1Day one: The Hyundai arrives and is almost immediately stolen by my Top Gear colleague Jeremy Clarkson who is claiming that he needs a car ‘urgently’.

Day two: The i10 is back. The interior smells faintly of fags and Red Bull. That aside, it feels like a decent little car. The ride is alright, the three cylinder engine is quite keen, it has some of that zip all small cars should have which makes you want to zoom about the place in a hyperactive way.

Day three: A while ago I was offered an old shape i10 for much cheapness and almost bought it for my wife. She wasn’t keen. In fact, I think she said it looked ‘special’ and didn’t mean this as a compliment. She had a point. It was a nice enough to drive but it looked too tall and too narrow. The new one does not. It’s not exactly a head turner but it’s pleasant enough and, unlike the old one, it doesn’t look like you could push it over with a stick.

Day four: They announced this i10 at the Frankfurt motor show last year. I remember poking around it and being amazed at the quality of the interior. Then I was approached by a man from the Royal College of Art who said he recognised me from a picture in evo magazine. But he called me by my dad’s name. I look a bit like my dad, except I’m not in my 70s and I’m not bald. So really I look like my dad in the early 1960s, before he became a slaphead. This is a bit odd, I thought. The chap seemed very nice but I was worried that he thought I was my dad circa 1962 in which case he must have travelled through time. More than that, he must have assumed my dad had also travelled through time and also ended up at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show. But if that was the case, why weren’t both of us more fascinated by what, to our eyes, were the insanely futuristic cars on display? Well, I know why I wasn’t. I wasn’t because I’m not my dad from 49 years ago but this man, he should have been baffled by what he saw. If I was surrounded by madly unfamiliar technology, I’d be distracted by that rather than idly wandering up to say hello to the hirsute ’60s version of my dad who wasn’t my dad because he was actually me. Alternatively, perhaps this man just got my name wrong. We will never know.

Hyundaii10_2Day five: Sorry, got a bit sidetracked yesterday. I was going to say that when I poked around an i10 at a motor show the dash seemed of remarkable quality for a small car. This production car is slightly less impressive but it still feels well made. Korean car makers have this weird tendency to make minor buttons inexplicably massive, a proud tradition this car continues with the controls to the right of the wheel. It’s not actually made in Korea though. The factory is in Turkey. True fact.

Day six: Erm… so… no, sorry, I can’t think of anything else to say. It’s not a bad car, this. But I think if I was buying something of this size I’d have a Fiat Panda. Or a VW Up.

Goodbye:  Developing a car is, I imagine, quite fiddly. And doing a small car is especially tricky. It costs the same as developing a big car, buyers want it to be as refined and as well-equipped as a big car, but you’ve got to make sure it can be sold for a lot less than you can charge for a big car. The i10 range starts at £8495, for example. And you go to all this trouble and take all this time and put in all this effort and then some tit on a website says they’d probably buy something else. But there you go. They tried. And this is almost certainly the third best little car you can buy.


  1. 4 star Euro NCAP rating, poor show for this Korean dogs dinner. Skoda Citigo still the way to go, up! too goppy looking, SEAT Mii just there to make up the numbers.

  2. It looks like a tremendous place to be if your aunt were to suffer a tragic blackcurrant stain on her trouser suit.

  3. You buy.
    You happy.
    Velly, velly happy.

  4. Wrong. The best small car is not a Fiat,VW or a Hyundai. Everyone knows the best small car is the Honda Civic Type-S the dash is much better.

  5. Missa Kim Jong-un – wrong country but hey, nice racism.

  6. I look forward to seeing it, minus wheeltrims, as a bodyshop courtesy car very soon.

  7. “A week with a Hyundai i10″….

    … abbreviate that to “purgatory”.

  8. i10 – an alternative to walking or public transport if it were given to you. At £8495 why not buy a proper car or Ka or 500 or Up!

  9. £8495 would get you a lot of high-quality walking shoes.

    Or several season tickets for public transport.

    Dignity also remains intact.

  10. Triumph Acclaim’s psychic ability is surely worthy of triumphant acclaim because yes, the Hyundai 110 is indeed the courtesy car of choice for all Hyundai service departments and bodyshops everywhere. Sadly, the car itself tends not to last very long due to manufacturer amnesia resulting in a failure to install a detente between the 5th gear and Reverse. I gave my courtesy 110 a quick dab of oppo and raced through what I forgot was *not* a 6-speed box and lo and behold, went into reverse at 35mph with a loud crashing, banging and shedding of various metal bits. The car provider was not very pleased but I pointed out that the wrecked turd came with a 5 year warranty and that Hyundai should easily be able to claim from Hyundai. As to actually paying £8,495 for this dismal crap, I’d rather walk.

  11. You all forgot to mentioned one other contender, the MG3. I have had mine since October 2013 and along with many other owners love the car. Yes it is made in China, what isn’t these days, but it is assembled at the home of BL/Rover/MG before its demise, Longbridge. Also designed and tweeked for us Brits by British Engineers. Go have a test drive at one of the 50 odd dealers out there who are offering tests drives, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Oh and SNIFF get MG to lend you one and do a review I would love to see you thoughts on here.

  12. Ignore last sentence of my previous blog, I have just found the MG3 review and very fair one it was too, made a lovely change from the other moto journo’s who appear to be paid to say bad things about MG by other manufacturers

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  14. Nothing but good memories of the Hyundaï I drove way back.

  15. What a load of bull. The i10 is a GREAT little car and is the best in its class, period

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