- All-new model is lower, wider and more striking than before
- Upgraded equipment levels plus new safety kit
- Two engines at launch, manual or automatic gearboxes
Hyundai has unveiled the all-new i10 city car, ahead of its public debut at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show later in September. It’s easily distinguishable from its predecessor, with a seriously bold design that stands out from even its most striking competitors such as the Kia Picanto or Toyota Aygo.
However, with an increased focus on safety and economy, the i10 is likely to be one of the more mature options in this class. Small city cars are somewhat of a dying breed, with manufacturers increasingly struggling to make a profit as customers demand safety, refinement and comfort to match much larger vehicles. So what does the new i10 have in store for those buyers?
Eye-catching new exterior styling
The previous generation of i10 was a neat and inoffensively styled city car, but you’d hardly call it exciting or interesting despite some nice details such as the wraparound rear window and reversed C-pillar. However, for the new model, Hyundai’s taken styling cues from the old car and turned them up to 11, all the while incorporating details from the very latest models such as the i30 N. It’s also 20mm lower and 20mm wider than its predecessor, giving it a more purposeful stance.
To that end, the i10 has a broad front grille which incorporates hexagonal LED daytime running lights. The badge sits above on the leading edge of the bonnet, and there are sharp-edged headlights feeding into it. Triangular cut-outs hold the foglights – though presumably these will be fitted with blanking plates on lower-spec models.
The rear is more conventional, but now features a ‘floating’ roofline – accomplished by colouring the C-pillar black. It also now contains an ‘i10’ badge.
It’s worth noting that the model Hyundai’s shot for these preview images appears to be a high-spec trim. It looks to be fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome door handles, foglights and a two-tone paint scheme – all of which up the little car’s cool factor, but potentially also push the price up. We’d expect lower-end models to look a little plainer.
New and upgraded interior
The same is also true of the interior photos, which show an i10 fitted with a large amount of premium equipment. This is good news for those who will be purchasing a high-end i10, as they’ll enjoy big-car features such as keyless start, a wireless charging pad, heated seats and steering wheel, climate control and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen.
How much of this will be standard equipment is yet to be confirmed, but Hyundai typically doesn’t hide features like these in an options list – preferring instead to simply have well-equipped trim levels.
The new dash design will be common to all i10s, though. It’s lower than before, with a narrower centre console. The panel surrounding the deep-set instrument cluster flows across the dashboard, almost aping the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Easy-to-understand climate controls sit beneath, and the gearbox remains high-set, leaving the gear selector very accessible for snappy changes.
Customisation and personalisation is a big deal for the new car, with 10 exterior paint choices and four interior colours.
The i10 looks as though it will remain one of the most spacious options in its class. Its 252-litre boot is the biggest available on a city car, just pipping the 251-litres of a Volkswagen Up but dwarfing the 168 litres of a Toyota Aygo. A standard five-door bodyshell should make access to the rear seats easy, too.
Two engine choices at launch
While it’s all change on the exterior and interior of the Hyundai i10, the engine line-up looks to be much the same as it ever was. There’s a choice of two engines – an entry-level 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a more powerful 1.2-litre four-cylinder.
The former offers just 67hp, identical to the previous model, while the latter offers 84hp – a drop of 3hp. These are decent figures for a city car, though it’s a shame that the 99hp 1.0-litre turbocharged engine fitted in the i10’s sister car, the Kia Picanto, won’t be available from launch.
What has changed is the gearbox offering. A five-speed manual is still standard for both engines, but as optional equipment Hyundai will fit a five-speed automated manual transmission. We’ll be interested to see how this fares – these transmissions are cheap and lightweight but often ruin a car with jerky, slow changes.
It’s likely to be an especially irritating move to fans of the old i10 automatic, which featured an old-fashioned four-speed torque converter. While this was dated and inefficient, it was at least very smooth and easy to drive.
Fuel economy hasn’t been finalised yet, but Hyundai’s targeting CO2 emissions of 103g/km for the 1.0-litre engine and 107g/km for the 1.2 – both competitive figures. An optional Eco pack, with small, 14-inch wheels and altered gear ratios, will bring the 1.0-litre’s figure down to 98g/km.
Sporty i10 N Line available for the first time
Joining the i30 hatch and Fastback, as well as the Tucson, the i10 will be available with an N Line version, offering a sportier look and feel inside and out. The grille is more angular in its appearance at the front with LED running lights exclusive to this model, while red trim details, a two-tone paint job and larger alloy wheels complete the exterior differences to the regular model. Inside, sportier-looking dials, red trim on the airvents and steering wheel stitching, plus the gearknob from the i30 N give it a sportier vibe.
It'll be available with just the 1.0-litre T-GDI engine in summer 2020.
The 2019 Hyundai i10 makes its public debut at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show