On the Road: The new Hyundai i10
On the Road: The new Hyundai i10

Ian Lamming finds his youth in the new Hyundai i10

IT’S HARD to believe but the boy is coming of age.

No he’s not 18, it’s just that he is becoming interested in cars because next year he will be starting to learn to drive. Seems like two minutes since he was sitting in the back in his car seat gurgling, though doubt when he goes on the ale in a few years he’ll be doing that again.

Anyway, as he is in exams year it’s a useful exercise to compare and contrast the various merits of a car that might actually be on his shopping list, the Hyundai i10 N Line, as long as he can afford the insurance.

So, what does he think of the overall size and look? Like me, he loves it because it is compact, well-proportioned and looks nice and sporty. The cool daytime running lights really catch your eye and the lines are smooth and sensual, which he hopes might attract some attention.

It may be small and extremely easy to park, which he’ll need when he gets to sixth form and has to find a space, but parked next to a Mini it can hold its own in terms of girth. Neither does it feel too cramped inside and the boot swallows his kit bag and files, which is another plus. If he wants to take friends they won’t be too squished in the front passenger seat or the rear.

Because it looks smart he should also have pride in his motor and not run it through a drystone wall. Bit of luck he’ll keep it clean too because the mechanicals are guaranteed for five years and it will take him that long to pay it off. That said the i10 is great value at just £17,000.

He’s young, he’s tech mad and the i10 has plenty to oblige. There’s no satnav but thatdoesn’t matter as it has Apple Car Play so you can display your phone, including Google maps, on the touch screen. That even impresses me. What you do when you haven’t got 4G remains a mystery particularly as we regularly go through regions that are more akin to Jurassic Park than modern living. I’m sure I spotted a velociraptor one day in an area that didn’t even pick up FM radio. It has DAB too but I’m sure round here that stands for doesn’t actually broadcast.

Bluetooth is a given so he’s delighted to plumb in his Spotify. Why does his music contain so many swearwords – mother would turn in her grave – while mine tends to be about fluffy kittens.

Other delights include heated front seats and the piece de resistance a heated steering wheel – simply every car should have one. Add in climate control, cruise, all the techno-safety gubbins that keeps you on the road and 50+ miles per gallon and it’s pretty much the perfect car. In fact it has me wondering why I spend at least twice as much on my SUV.

But here’s the rub, for him rather than me. The peach of a 1.0 three cylinder motor turns out a healthy 100PS, that’s the same set up of the much bigger i20. Stick that pleasantly throaty (it has twin tailpipes) engine in a light body and you have surprising performance which is brill for dad but not for the actuaries who assess risk and set the insurance premiums. In their eyes a 17-year-old boy should only be able to drive a car capable of little more than pulling the skin off a rice pudding. I must go and Compare the Meerkat.

It would be a shame because it’s a cracking car for father and son. The ride is amazing. Normally mini motors have little suspension stacks with short travel so they tend to bounce you over the bumps rather than absorb them. But driving down a roadclose to home which is renowned for its ploughed field properties it smooths what is left of the asphalt to a spleen protecting level.

This same suspension has also been tuned for brilliant handling with little roll through the bends and go-kart sharp steering. Grip is fabulous from the Hankook tyres and the overall experience is fun but safe. The five speed gearbox is slick and the clutch feather light.

A bit like his ageing years, it’s hard to believe that a car this price is so very accomplished. He definitely needs to check the insurance and start saving but in the meantime I’m happy to drive him everywhere in it.

Fact File

Hyundai i10 N Line

Engine: 1.0 turbo petrol

Power: 100PS

0-62mph: 10.5 secs

Top speed: 115mph

Combined MPG: 45+

Transmission: five speed manual

CO2 g/km: 123

Price: From £18,020.00