The i10 offers a slightly confusing engine range, where the smallest engine isn’t actually the cheapest. So there’s the 68bhp 1.0-litre Blue model, which sits above the 84bhp 1.2-litre engine in two of its three combined trim options on the basis that the three-cylinder Blue model throws in a load of fuel-saving technologies to boot.
If you’re in the majority of i10 buyers who’ll go for the 1.2 engine, you can expect peppy performance around town. For the most part the i10 delivers with that particular engine, serving up more power and flexibility than many rivals. The three-cylinder 1.0-litre car, by contrast, seems a little strained and compromised in its quest for low emissions.
Accelerating up to the 30-40mph maximum speeds of town and city driving, the i10 1.2 feels immediately lively and agile. This is partly thanks to a pleasantly light and smooth clutch action, and to well spaced gear ratios. Mainly, however, the i10’s feeling of urban agility comes from the action of the gearshift itself. The five-speed ’box’s throws are nicely judged and the lever moves with a satisfying, well oiled ease.
The true benefit of picking the 1.2-litre i10 is not its performance figures, rather its dramatically improved refinement. At idle you can barely hear the engine, and although it starts rasping under full throttle, it’s always a civilised performer.
Venture onto the motorway and the benefits of the bigger engine are apparent in terms of both reduced engine noise when cruising, but also a welcome boost in performance. It’s still far from being rapid - something true of any city car - and overtaking requires anticipation and plenty of gear changes.
Stopping isn’t a problem. Being one of the only cars in the class with disc brakes all round and with less than one tonne to haul to a stop, the i10’s braking is more than up to the job, with good feel, strong retardation and a commendable resistance to fade.