This is a launch report. In other words, it's simply a new model announcement. The driving experience was limited to a short drive over a prepared course chosen to make the product look good. We can therefore not tell you what it will be like to live with over an extended period, how economical it is, or how reliable it will be. A very brief first impression is all we can give you until such time as we get an actual test unit for trial. Thank you for your patience.
Published in The Witness Motoring on Wednesday June 15, 2011
"You will note," quipped Stanley Anderson, Hyundai Automotive SA's marketing director, "that we aren't scared to launch this car at altitude." He was taking a wry swipe at the occasional practice of manufacturers to launch new, naturally aspirated, small-engined cars in KwaZulu-Natal or the southern Cape, where high altitude power loss is not a factor.
He had already mentioned that 77,8 percent of buyers list price and cost of ownership as prime factors in the small car buying decision process with style, size, performance and drivability following. While pricing of the new i10 is undoubtedly important with the entry level 1.1 litre version pitched just short of the psychological R100 000 mark, the remaining four factors were prioritised as well.
It's certainly stylish, reflecting Hyundai's attractive new ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language in the colour-matched front bumper, dynamic trapezoid radiator grille with bold Hyundai logo, restyled head lamps and new outside rearview mirror housings with integrated indicator lights. A colour-coded rear bumper and big, bold light cluster finish off the attractive rear end.
The ergonomically designed interior offers comfort and space for five people with many standard features including air conditioning, electric front and rear windows and a driver’s airbag on both models plus one for the front passenger on the 1.2 GLS that also has ABS and EBD. Add central locking, stereo RDS radio/CD player with MP3 compatibility and USB/Aux connections, audio controls on the steering wheel, height adjustable steering column and driver's seat and a storage tray under the passenger seat. Fourteen-inch steel wheels, body coloured side mouldings and rear window wiper and demister feature on the outside.
There are three derivatives. The 1.1 litre GLS with five-speed manual gearbox continues basically unchanged with its SOHC, 8-valve 50-kW/99 Nm motor. Refreshed 1.2 litre models with a choice of five-speed transmissions, manual or automatic, use a remapped version of the familiar Kappa DOHC, 16-valve CVVT unit. This 1248 cc, inline four now develops 64 kW at 6 000 rpm and 119 Nm of torque at 4 000 rpm. Combined cycle fuel consumption varies between 4,7 l/100 km on the 1.2 manual to 5,5 l/100 for the automatic. CO2 emissions range from 113- to 132 gm/km. Zero to 100 km/h times, with maximum speeds in brackets, are given as: 1.1 manual - 15,2 s (153 km/h), 1.2 manual - 12,3 s (169 km/h) and 1.2 automatic - 13,8 s (160 km/h).
The 225-litre luggage area looks big enough for a carefully packed trolley-full of groceries or a couple of decent weekend bags, while the rear seat backrests fold down to increase capacity to 910 litres. The full-size spare wheel is located in the cargo floor. Rear accommodation passed the 'six-footer seated behind himself' test easily with sufficient knee room and plenty of headspace. There are two head restraints and three seatbelts back there - a pair of three-pointers and a lap belt.
A brief familiarisation drive in city traffic and on country roads, with a short spell on a freeway, showed the i10 to be solid, well built and nimble. Handling was crisp and confident and the suspension seemed firm but compliant. Top gear is weighted toward low-rev cruising in the interest of fuel economy, with the tachometer reading just over 3 200 rpm at 120 km/h.
With all boxes; price, style, size, performance and drivability firmly checked, Hyundai's new i10 looks set to impress its primary target audiences of first-time buyers and empty-nesters even more than its predecessor did.
1.1 GLS manual - R99 900
1.2 GLS manual - R109 900
1.2 GLS automatic - R119 900
Engines and performance: See text
Warranty: 5 years/150 000 km with roadside assistance
Service intervals: 15 000 km
This is a one-man show, which means that road test cars entrusted to me are driven only by me. Some reviewers hand test cars over to their partners to use as day-to-day transport and barely experience them for themselves.
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