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Little i10 sparks huge change

2011-05-18 09:36

JUST A LITTLE BIT: The changes to Hyundai's little i10 are largely cosmetic although the 1.2 packs a more powerful punch, too.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Hyundai
Model I10
Engine 4-cylinder 1.1- and 1.2-litre petrol
Power 50kW @ 5500rpm; 64kW @ 6000rpm
Torque 99Nm @ 4500rpm; 119Nm @ 4000rpm
Transmission 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic
Zero To Hundred 153kph; 169kph (160kph)
Fuel Consumption 4.8; 4.7 (5.5)
Boot Size 225 litres to 910 litres with rear seatbacks folded down
Steering rack and pinion
ABS with EBD on 1.2 GLS models
Airbags driver only on 1.1 GLS, front and driver on 1.2 GLS
Front Suspension McPherson type strut
Rear Suspension Torsion beam
Service Intervals 15 000
Warranty 5 year or 150 000 km (+ roadside assistance)


The facelifted i10 hatchback's look gets a massive update while its headlining engine gets a potent revision. It’s just arrived in South Africa, and we drive it.

The popular i10 (apparently, that is, since Hyundai doesn’t report its sales figures) has been checked in for a little mid-life refresh and the changes are astonishing.

While the i10 as we know it was always going to be cute enough for the first timer, but substantial enough for older buyers to appreciate its merits, the facelift represents a big step up in the style stakes.

Physically, the i10 gets new squared-off headlamps with coordinating front fogs, a new grille showing off the manufacturer’s new face, indicators integrated into the wing mirrors and a new colour-coded bumper.


Inside the cabin, a darker, more child (or messy adult) friendly upholstery is evident, while an in-dash audio unit with standard USB and auxiliary ports are standard.

Mechanically, not much has changed although – crucially – the 1.2 is renamed as a 1.25-litre engine. It’s been tweaked to produce a very useful 64kW and 119Nm of torque (up from 55kW and 116Nm). It probably won’t chow your entire monthly petrol allowance either, as Hyundai SA quotes fuel consumption on the combined cycle of 4.7 litres per 100 km.

However, these changes translate to a car that is very drivable, even at altitude as our launch route took us from Johannesburg’s northern suburbs and round to the Magaliesberg and Cradle of Humankind region, and back again. The engine was perky and keen to stretch its legs where the road and terrain allowed. Sure, it needs a rev to get going, but is happy to cruise along, once up to speed. Top speed on the model driven is quoted as 169km/h, which means travelling at the legal limit should do fine.

PERT BEHIND: The i10's makeover includes a revised rear end with new light clusters, a new colour-coded bumper and a different boot latch.

The small and compact body shape, which hasn’t changed, also means the i10 is as nimble and as fun-loving as the earlier version. Also, you get the distinct feeling that this car is definitely more at home on city or suburban streets than it would be carting you across far-flung sections of South Africa. The impression we got from the relatively short drive, though, was that this probably won’t prevent the i10 from happily taking you there and back, if it was required.

You may be a little stuck for space on your longer trip, since the i10’s boot is only good for about 125 litres, but the seats do fold flat and it should be able to swallow the finds from your usual shopping trips to the local mall.


Steering feedback from the standard power-assisted system was reassuringly firm. The column is adjustable for height, too.

The new car is safer with a driver airbag now standard across the range. A height-adjustable driver’s seat, power windows all round and audio controls on the steering wheel are also common from the 1.1-litre model to the 1.25-litre derivatives. The 1.2 GLS derivatives add a front passenger airbag plus ABS and EBD.

DRAWCARD: The younger set love their music, Hyundai SA reckons, and, as such, deserve a decent audio system. The upgraded system has USB and auxiliary ports.

The 1.1-litre is unchanged and, as before, produces 50kW and 99Nm of torque. It is only available with a five-speed manual transmission.

Hyundai’s first local launch for the year is a precursor to bigger things expected later in 2011. The all-new Elanta arrives shortly, while the funky Veloster will make its debut at the Johannesburg Motor Show in October and go on sale here shortly thereafter.

Operations manager Albrecht Grundel announced Hyundai Automotive SA would be investing R50 million in upgrading its facilities. The importer hopes to claim 15% of the total market share by 2015.

1.1 GLS (manual)        R99 900
1.2 GLS (manual)        R109 900
1.2 GLS (auto)            R119 900

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