It’s a new city car from Korea.
Day 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.
Day 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.