Hyundai has only ever made one class-leading car as far as this magazine is concerned. It was a cheap, averagely inviting looking city car that ruled its own particular roost, before that roost got colonised by the same players that keep this Korean brand from the lead of every other class we can think of.
It was zesty, pacey, plain but priced to impress. It was the Hyundai i10. May it rest in peace. The new i10 is a different kettle of fish. Smarter looking, richer to the touch, roomier, well equipped and more mature to drive, it’s evidently serious about success in the European A-segment.
But it exists in a space where being outwardly serious about anything is a serious faux pas.
Refined and well mannered but largely charmless with it – and suddenly bereft of the urge and verve that marked out its forebear – the i10 melts away into the middle of a class full of similar offerings.
Unfortunately, for the Hyundai, Volkswagen's Up corners the grown-up and well equipped sector of the market and offers a much better package, overall.
The Hyundai is, in part, a victim of shifting sands in the car market – but also of a telling lack of character and imagination.