HYUNDAI might have one of the broadest new car model ranges in the world, but its new “Play” trim level leaves little doubt that it still knows what its core customers want from their cars.
A recent excursion in an i20 rally car for Chase magazine, closely followed by drives in the new Kona EV crossover and futuristic NEXO hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, showed us all we need to know about the Korean brand’s ambition to cater for every possible automotive eventuality.
With its new range of “N” branded car catering for petrol heads and a variety of electric and hybrid models keeping those more concerned with keeping their carbon footprint in check, Hyundai’s range now spans a broader range of product than most.
But in the humble i10 hatchback tested here it attempts to prove that it can still deliver for those first-time drivers and those who acknowledge the need for nothing more than modest mobility for their hard-earned money.
That is selling the i10 a little short, particularly in the aforementioned “Play” trim, as tested here.
At £11,195 it does not represent the cheapest way to travel, but it looks to straddle the space between the likes of the Volkswagen Up! and cars like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo which now command prices at least £2,000 more in basic trim.
At the same price as the rather functional i10 SE, Play trim introduces choice options such as 15-inch alloys, rear privacy glass and black gloss door mirror covers to help spice up the exterior styling.
Inside, there’s a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satnav, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.
There’s little doubt about the i10’s budget roots from the driver’s seat.
Much of the plastic on display is dark, hard and shiny in its appearance but the multi-function steering wheel and tactile controls which can be found further up the Hyundai and Kia ranges function in pleasingly reliable and straightforward fashion.
The same can certainly be said of the engine fitted to this car, the entry level of three options, the 67PS, three-cylinder petrol option delivers 55.4mpg claimed fuel economy and 117g/km of CO2.
Without the turbocharger found in so many petrol engines of this capacity nowadays — admittedly not at this price — the i10 lacks pace, though.
Hyundai claims a tardy 14.7-second pull towards 62mph and a top speed of 97mph.
Thanks to the Play’s standard fit cruise control the effects of the dearth of power could be mitigated on longer motorway runs, removing the need to constantly monitor any loss of momentum on inclines.
With reasonable rear seat space and a comfortable driving position the i10 really isn’t an unpleasant place to spend long journeys and it feels truly at home in an urban environment.
Like any car in this class, its 272- litre boot would be stretched in use as a general family car, but it’s a worthy and well-equipped set of wheels for the money.
Factor-in Hyundai’s five-year, unlimited mileage manufacturer warranty and what you have is a truly uncomplicated new car…one that steers clear of all the alternative fuel technology and SUV trends to do the job of getting from A to B with just a simple taste of style and technology.