Hyundai i10 SE

DRIVING a Hyundai i10 in the outside lane of the M62 in torrential rain remains one of my most vivid memories as a motoring journalist.

Hyundai i10 SE

Engine: 998cc, three-cylinder

Power: 65bhp and 70lb.ft. of torque

Performance: 0-62mph in 14.9 seconds and 96mph

Economy: 60.1 mpg (combined)

CO2 emissions: 108g/km

Price: £9,925 (as tested)

It was with this in mind that I wholeheartedly welcomed the ten-fold improvement in refinement and stability that has been ushered in with the latest generation of the small Korean hatchback.

A thorough redesign sees the five-door i10 adopt a more stylish shape that is longer, wider but significantly lower.

LED daytime running lights and 14 inch alloys added a further dose of style to my mid-range 1.0-litre, i10 SE test car (£9,295).

Improvements in the quality and refinement of the cabin are most striking, however.

A world away from the buffeting I received on that run to Liverpool, the new car offers decent refinement and electronic stability control and six airbags as standard, ensuring that it feels a dose more safe and secure.

The front seats are now both comfortable and supportive, with an attractive touch of colour on the dash.

A multi-function steering wheel giving access to my test car’s optional (£175) Bluetooth hands-free kit and voice recognition stereo system also looked the part.

Rear leg and headroom is impressive, meanwhile, despite the lower roofline, plus there is a useful 252-litre boot.

Hyundai claims sedate 14.9 second acceleration to 62mph and a 96mph top speed from its 998cc, three-cylinder motor, along with 60mpg and 108g/km CO2 emissions.

In terms of quality and usability the new i10 marks a huge step forward for Hyundai and ahead of the arrival of the Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1 triumvirate this summer, it sits at the top of its class.