First Drive: Hyundai i10 Blue

25 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on First Drive: Hyundai i10 Blue
Hyundai i10

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First Drive | Berkshire, England | Hyundai i10 Blue |

Hyundai has taken its time getting a green sub-brand onto the market. Probably because it was thinking of a snappy name for it: Blue. Oh.

No matter, the new i10 Blue is the first Hyundai to scrape beneath the free-to-tax 100g/km mark. At the same time, the rest of the range has had a facelift.

In the Metal

The Hyundai i10 facelift is one of the more discreet you’ll see, with changes confined to the new grille, a mild reshaping of the lights and the addition of coloured rubbing strips for the side. The basic cabin architecture remains, but the trim levels have been realigned. They now read: Blue, Classic, Active and Style.

So it’s still a five-door car with a barely believable amount of cabin space (all six-foot-four of me can fit into the back no problem) and a stylishness that doesn’t rely on chintzy details.

What you get for your Money

Hyundai has tried to simplify the model range, it says, even though all it seems to have done is re-named Comfort to Active and added the Blue spec. All versions get a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty, air conditioning, mp3 player input (new with the facelift) and four airbags.

But the company has also followed car manufacturer pricing trends and added a Ј1,000 premium for the privilege of owning the green model. For Ј8,195 you can have a basic i10 Classic with a 1.2-litre engine, whereas the Classic-based Blue, with a 1.0-litre engine, costs Ј9,195. The running cost difference? One returns 67.3mpg and will cost Ј0 in VED over three years’ ownership, the other 61.4mpg and Ј40 over the same period. Worth Ј1,000?

You decide.

Driving it

Most of the time, driving the Hyundai i10 is a fairly nondescript experience, which is to say it gets the basics spot on. The wheel and seat of Blue models (and thus Classic) don’t adjust for height, but even if you’re a beanpole you’ll find it ok.

The setup is on the soft side, but that’s not to say it rolls about or lacks feedback. In fact, this car could teach some far more expensive cars a thing or two about cornering feel. Granted, that’s probably to do with how basic it is, but there’s a natural, neutral feel to the steering that some complex electric setups simply don’t have.

Hyundai i10

It can bounce a little too much on its springs at times, but it’s only really obvious at the sort of speeds most Hyundai i10 drivers will rarely reach. This is a car for the pottering sort of driver, and very comfortable it is while fulfilling that role. It’s decent on the motorway too, avoiding the city car trait of filling the cabin with deafening tyre and wind noise above 60mph.

Both the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine of the Blue model and the 1.2-litre of the other versions (68- and 85bhp) have very little to give below 3,000rpm, but are mercifully pleasant to rev to the limiter; the i10 positively encourages a ‘pedal to the firewall’ style of driving, and is all the more fun for it.

Worth Noting

Late to market it may be, but Hyundai is drawing up plans to quickly expand the Blue range, with the next model a 98g/km ix20 MPV. That gets a 1.4-litre diesel engine and comes to market in July. At about the same time there’ll be a Hyundai i30 with less than 100g/km, though the spec of that isn’t finalised yet.

Summary

It’s very easy to see what attracted all those people into Hyundai i10s at the height of the scrappage scheme, and here we have a mildly improved version. No issue there. What we do have issue with, however, is the Ј1,000 premium asked of the eco version – a green tax, if you will.

For that reason we’d suggest it’s probably best to make like a daytime TV game show host and avoid Blue.

Mark Nichol – 3 Feb 2011

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