December 06, 2013

DRIVEN: Hyundai i10 1.25 Kappa !

Did you know that the Hyundai i10 Colourz comes in seven different exciting colours? Lavender Pink (yes, a striking PINK!), Tangy Orange, Carbon Grey, Aquamarine Blue, Passion Purple, Ice Silver and Peach White. For the girls (or might favour some boys too), a pink i10 will certainly grab the spotlight on the road and turn heads! The i10 comes with two engine choices - 1.1 litre Epsilon engine and 1.25 litre Kappa Dual CVVT engine, both mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. The differences between the two are standard two-tone leather seats and fog lamps for the 1.25 litre i10.

Being a UK spec car, the i10 Colourz comes with rear fog lamps, left signal stalk, a rear 3-point center seatbelt and a reinforced body structure. Hyundai's built quality has come a long way since the 90's where people are speculative about Korean cars. The i10 is sturdily built, the cabin feels solid for a car of its class and the plastic used doesn't look and feel cheap.

Cabin space is at a premium. 4 adults will have adequate cabin space, 5 in a squeeze. Thankfully the tall-ish body creates an airy cabin with ample headroom for the occupants. The boot is just large enough for few small bags or simple groceries trip.

The 1.25 litre Kappa Dual CVVT engine with 87PS and 120Nm of torque provides a zippy experience in the city and adequate power on the highway with 3 adults on board, just adequate. Imagine the 1.1 litre Epsilon engine with lesser horsepower (69PS) and torque (99Nm), should be slightly sluggish. The 4-speed automatic gearbox was smooth changing too.

When it comes to refinement, the i10 passed with flying colours. Engine noise, road noise and wind noise were not intrusive while on the go. The firm suspension setting enables good high speed stability and corners to be tackled with confidence but without creating a jarring ride. The i10 doesn't roll much in corners despite the tall body, kudos. The electric power steering, or Motor Driven Power Steering (MDPS) in Hyundai's term, felt well weighted too. No wonder the i10 is an acclaimed product by numerous automotive journalists worldwide. 

Safety wise, both 1.1 litre and 1.25 litre i10 have the same level of safety equipment. Dual SRS airbags, ABS, EBD, ISOFIX anchors, front passenger airbag can be deactivated, manual headlamps beam adjuster and an upgraded 8-inch rear drum brakes from 7-inch. The i10 nabbed 4-star in EuroNCAP crash test, although it is done with an i10 equipped with more airbags. 

Price of the i10 is a drawback. The 1.1 litre i10 costs RM51,388 while 1.25 litre i10 carries a RM56,988, both on-the-road with insurance. The aging i10 is neither greatly better equipped nor more spacious than our very own Perodua Myvi but is priced about RM10k dearer than the latter. Thus, its closer (and newer) competitors are the fuel efficient Mitsubishi Mirage and the equipment-packed Kia Picanto. If you can wait, the replacement of i10 will be reaching our shore soon, probably in year 2014.

+ Handling, refinement, cheeky styling.
- Price, cabin space, short equipment list.

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