Korean firm's new Indian-built baby is good enough to build on the i30's growing reputation

What is it?

It's a new-generation city car from Hyundai, and will replace the Atoz. An all-new car, the i10 is built in India, where it’s a hot-seller.

On the outside, the i10 remains identical in length and wheelbase to the Atoz, but is a crucial 70mm wider. Hyundai has consciously stayed away from the Atoz's ‘tall-boy’ looks, so the i10 is 40mm shorter and looks all the better for it.

The car's 1.1-litre ‘Epsilon’ single-cam, four-pot motor is a carry-over from the Atoz, but changes to the management system and intake manifold have resulted in a marginal increase in power to 62bhp and 72lb ft of torque.

It uses a pretty conventional MacPherson strut setup up front and a torsion beam axle at the rear, but the new chassis is substantially stiffer than that of the Atoz.

What's it like?

For such a small, affordable car, the i10's interior feels really good. The lighter tones are a refreshing change from the dark interiors that are almost de-riguer in cars of this class.

The i10’s cabin is a big step forward in design and quality over its predecessor. The front seats are supportive, but the rear bench is a touch cramped for those with long legs. UK cars will be well equipped, with air conditioning, four airbags and a six-speaker integrated stereo being standard.

Drive it around town and you'll like the peppy throttle responses; this car feels quicker than its 15.5sec 0-62mph time suggests. Thanks to a fairly strong mid-range, you won't need to row the stubby gear lever much, which sprouts out from the centre console.

Performance does tail-off once you get past 62mph, so you will need some degree of patience for motorway driving - especially as the motor doesn’t like being revved hard and labours at the top of its range.

On B-roads, you can actually derive some fun out of this car. Body control is good and though the electric power steering does feel vague around the straight ahead, it weights up nicely once you pile on lock. As a result you can attack corners with a good degree of confidence. However, the car's suspension is a bit stiff, so on less than perfect surfaces the ride gets choppy.

Should I buy one?

If you want a city car that feels upmarket both inside and out, drives well and comes at a price that significantly undercuts many of its rivals, the i10 demands some attention.

We'll wait to pit it against a Fiat Panda and Citroen C1 - the class of the current city car class - before pronouncing it a world-beater. For the time being though, it's fair to conclude that this new baby Hyundai is there or thereabouts.

Ouseph Chacko

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