HYUNDAI 10 (2012-2016)

By Jonathan Crouch


5dr citycar (1.0 66bhp petrol / 1.2 87bhp petrol)


There are occasions when building a class-leading car involves pioneering new technologies, catching the eye with bold styling and combining ideas in a way never seen before. Hyundai's second generation i10 citycar plotted a slightly different path when we first saw it in 2012. It’s certainly up to date, smartly shaped and cleverly practical, but its main draw is probably the way you’ll find it just does the basic things really, really well. If you’re looking for a used citycar from the 2012 to 2016 era, there may be more exciting urban runabouts than this on your radar, but there aren’t many better ones.

The History

Hyundai’s i10 has always been one of this country’s very best selling citycars. With the original MK1 version, that was mainly down to affordable pricing. With this MK2 design though, this Korean contender aimed to claim its place in the nation’s affections on merit.

Sure enough, at launch in 2012, it was recognised not only as being very good value, but also as being spacious and versatile, these being the three priorities that buyers always prioritise in the market’s smallest segment, one of the very few in which you can expect the sales leader to also be the best car. Buyers in search of an urban runabout, you see, can’t be bothered with the snobby image issues that restrict Hyundai sales in larger market categories.

The Korean brand has always had a real opportunity for sales growth when it comes to vehicles like this – one that the company has grabbed with both hands over the last couple of decades. True, its early citycar efforts - the curiously quirky Atoz of 1998 and the Postman Pat-like Amica that almost immediately replaced it – were better suited to Far Eastern tastes than European ones. But by 2008, Hyundai was getting the hang of what Western families were looking for, bringing us an i10 model that offered supermini style in a smaller, cheaper, more agile and more versatile package than anything we’d seen before. Sales took off, boosted in the UK by the government Scrappage scheme, and across Europe, nearly half a million i10s found happy homes.

Fast forward to 2013 though and Hyundai’s headaches were increasing. Despite a 2011 facelift, the original version of this car was struggling as mainstream brands piled into the citycar segment led by the design we know either as a Volkswagen up, a Skoda CitiGo or a SEAT Mii. With Fiat also revitalising its offerings and Citroen, Peugeot and Toyota about to do so too, a second generation i10 model was needed that could take a big step forward. In many respects, this MK2 model managed to do just that. It sold until late 2016 when it was heavily facelifted.

What To Look For

We came across plenty of very satisfied i10 customers in our ownership survey, but inevitably, there were a few issues reported. A recognised fault relates to crunching gearchanges and a general difficulty in selecting reverse; look for that on your test drive. One owner we found had had clutch-related issues. Another had had to deal with creaking noises coming from the suspension. One found that his car’s stop/go engine system ceased working. And there were several reports of handbrakes that wouldn’t properly hold the car on steep slopes. In one case, the electric window switch console failed. And one owner found the brake discs rusting up on a regular basis.

On The Road

There are a few things you want to tick off as soon as you get yourself seated behind the wheel of a good citycar. The first is visibility. If you're going to be jinking from lane to lane, you need to great all-round sightlines. This i10 scores well in that regard, with good mirrors, windscreen pillars that aren't too obtrusive and a fairly high seat height. Point two – steering. If there's one thing that instantly takes the shine off a citycar, it's a heavy, unresponsive feel at the helm. The i10's rack is quick, accurate and very light. And the third thing you need to look for is a small turning circle. And this i10 certainly answers that call. The 9.56m turning circle requires fewer than three turns of the wheel, lock-to-lock, so if you spot a parking space on the other side of the road and check it's all clear, you’ll find that this i10 can dive in quickly.

The big draw for some (possibly older) buyers is the fact that the 1.2-litre variant can be had with four-speed automatic transmission. Choose the auto for effortless city driving by all means, but bear in mind that it does make the car slower and thirstier than the 1.2-litre manual and hikes the carbon dioxide rating up quite significantly.


Citycars have evolved. These used to be models people went for because they had to. Now, so often, they’re little runabouts customers own out of choice. For all the industry plaudits the first generation i10 received, it wasn’t a car you’d ever feel especially joyful about owning. But specified correctly, this second generation version might be.

Here, we’ve an A-segment contender that’s everything it needs to be – and pretty much everything a model of this kind can be: as cheap, frugal, clean and practical as it was in first generation form, but in MK2 model guise featuring greater quality and character thrown in alongside a more precise, European feel. Other direct citycar competitors from the 2012 to 2016 era can offer this too, but do your sums on the spec and you’ll find that nearly all of them are more expensive.

Which wouldn’t be an issue if they were delivering lower running costs, stronger build quality or more interior space than this i10 can offer. But they’re not. This Hyundai can either match or beat its rivals in all of these areas. Which means that if you’re shopping in this segment, you have to consider it.