We’ve praised the i10 quite highly over the years for going that little bit above and beyond the city car norm for driver appeal. Although it has never been an obvious choice for enthusiasts, the i10’s game engine has generally combined well with a chassis blessed with enough body control and handling precision that it takes surprisingly willingly to being hustled along. It has also come across as a car with a pretty simple character, quite plainly not intended to be perceived as anything other than small, light and fairly zippy.
You get the sense that the i10’s dynamic brief has now become a little more complicated. Having become lower and wider overall, and slightly quicker-geared through the steering, the car ought to perhaps feel more agile than it once did; but it has also had its wheelbase stretched. Net result? That handling mostly dodges any sense of precariousness related to the i10’s size and body profile, and it mixes agility with grip, body control and high-speed stability well enough to feel like a bigger supermini most – if not quite all – of the time.
Is it fun to drive? Perhaps not as much as previous i10s were; that’s the honest answer. Improved lateral body control and cornering stability certainly make it a shade more serious-feeling, as well as more stable, when driven quickly.
Vertical body control is less closely controlled than roll, and pitch control remains a persistent challenge for a car so short and high-stacked in its profile. Mostly, then, it’s heave and jounce that guard the edges of the car’s comfort zone during national speed-limit cross-country driving on testing surfaces.
Neither is ever likely to destabilise the car, though, thanks to electronic stability controls that work subtly at first but always effectively and good underlying handling stability at the limit of grip. The only caveat to that stability we observed at the track was under heavy braking from motorway speeds, when the i10 pitched sharply enough under full pedal pressure to wander a little before stabilising on its nose and needing steering correction on repeated runs.
Assisted driving notes
You don’t need to add very many active safety features to a city car to make it class leading. Still, if anything, Hyundai has probably gone overboard to deliver that key safety selling point. (The firm hasn’t yet had Euro NCAP crash test results through for the car but they should be coming.)