What is it?
The new Hyundai i10 shouldn’t exist. The petrol-engined city car has been declared dead, you see, sparking an ongoing ‘whodunnit’ to determine whether it was low profit margins, prohibitive emissions legislation or changing consumer tastes that delivered the final, fatal blow.
And yet, in an improbable plot twist, here we have an all-new i10, looking fresh, relevant and, indeed, very much alive and well. Who saw that coming?
This third-generation i10 isn’t just a minor update, either. Hyundai has re-engineered it from scratch, evidenced by a fresh new design. The styling is familiar, but the adoption of the firm’s latest design language means a bolder grille, giving the i10 a more dramatic feel that further distances it from the dull but practical feel of early versions.
It’s all a bit more mature, but the i10 hasn’t actually grown that much: at 3670mm in overall length, the new model is only 5mm longer than the previous version, although the wheelbase has been stretched by 40mm and the body widened by 20mm, both to increase interior space and add a bit of extra dynamic poise.
There remains a choice of two petrol engines, both carried over from the old car: a 66bhp three-cylinder 1.0 and an 83bhp four-cylinder 1.2. A sportier, turbocharged 1.0-litre N-Line version will follow but, unlike the rival Volkswagen Up/Seat Mii/ Skoda Citigo triumvirate, Hyundai says there are no plans for a fully electric version.
Both engines are offered with the choice of either five-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. The suspension retains MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear, while wheels range from 14in on entry-level SE models to new 16in options on top-spec Premium specification examples.
The i10 has also taken a step forward on the inside. The cabin is well laid out, with comfortable seats and decent space: rear passengers will find decent leg room, although squeezing three adults in the back compromises each passenger’s personal space. Still, as with the 252-litre boot, it’s reasonably roomy for a car in this class.