Driven: Jiggling with the i10

Published on September 2nd, 2010

We were invited by the good people in Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors to test drive the Hyundai i10 1.25liter the other day. They bought us lunch, and paid for our toll and petrol. We wanted to give them a kiss to show our appreciation, but we were afraid they might slap us. So we’re writing this article instead, and we hope that they like it.

We went there with almost no expectation in our heads. The Hyundai i10 is classed as an entry-level car, which means that the car will not be made available with any of the fancy-schmancy stuff you get by buying higher-end cars. Entry-level means just that, it is a car and that’s that.

But a daily driven car needs to be able to meet some demands, and we believe that the i10 have that capability.

The drive took us to Thistle in Port Dickson and back. We had some highway cruising session and some swearing-filled mini-touge session with the i10, of which my friend, Dinesh Appavu from Zerotohundred.com, almost made me pee in my pants.

Let’s get the technical parts out of the way first shall we?

The i10 is running on Kappa engine with a displacement of 1,248cc, hence the 1.25liter. Max torque is rated at 118.6Nm, with 77 horses pulling power at 6,000rpm.

There are a few features of the engine that is worth noting about. One of them is the Roller Swing Arm and Hydraulic lash adjusters. Another feature that made it into the engine is the silent type steel timing chain. Now, we know that steel chain is available if you want to exchange it with your usual timing belt, but the noise it makes is simply unbearable. I was a little sceptical when they said it’s really quiet, and had to hear it for myself.

You can’t eliminate the sound altogether, but it’s surprisingly quiet in the car. Outside, with the hood up, the noise is quite normal. And let’s not forget that the timing chain is almost indestructible with no requirement for maintenance check. Almost.

So we close the hood, get into the driver’s seat, and come face to face with the normal looking steering. Everything is laid out in a way that screams simplicity and balance. Of course, you cannot expect mahogany wood decorating the interior and a harpist accompanying you while you drive, but at the very least the whole car doesn’t ‘feel’ too cheap. Sure, some decorations and a little more functioning stuff is really appreciated, but for an entry-level car, we think this is already good enough.

The radio comes with a standard CD/MP3 player and auxiliary support. Sound system is good enough for normal usage.

In terms of space, the Myvi won hands down. The i10 does feel a little cramped inside, and may be a little claustrophobic for people with an excess baggage issue. The car is somewhat perfect for students and small (both in size and quantity) families.

Comfort-wise, well, the drive was like driving on clouds. Very smooth suspension setup, very comfortable, and somewhere up there in the expensive suspension category. Bumps and humps were felt as light pressure on our cheeky asses. The power that be knows exactly what kind of torment our asses have to go through each and every day with that nightmarish vibrating suspension setup, and to sit in the i10 with so much comfort caressing our asses was very welcomed indeed.

The driving experience was somewhat to be expected, being a 1,248cc car. Overtaking proven to be quite challenging because the acceleration power is a little shy. On the highway, we managed to get the meter to go just above 160km/h. We think we may be able to get the needle to drop just a little bit more if we are not, err, physically challenging.

What surprised us was how stable the i10 was when we took it on a high speed cruising. The car doesn’t roll too much to make it uncomfortable, and the noise was well within tolerable limit. Of course, the car is not meant for that kind of torment for an extended amount of time, but we cruised at high speed for quite a while before missing an  exit and had to make a U-Turn near Saujana.

Usually, drivers will sweat if not much a little if they have to make a U-Turn or a Three-Point turn in small cc cars, but the i10 comes with electronic assist steering, meaning you don’t have that thing called ‘paut steering’ with the car and won’t have to get your armpits wet trying to turn the car.

And after all that torments we put the car through, when we parked the car at the Hyundai showroom in Glenmarie, there wasn’t a single rattling sound coming from the car. We switched the engine off, opened the door, and went out of the Hyundai i10.

If you don’t want to take our words for it, test drive it yourself at the nearest Hyundai showroom, or head over to Hyundai-Sime Darby website for more info. Before going there, you might want to know that the Hyundai i10 1.25liter is being sold at RM49,688.00 with insurance for the standard spec and RM52,688.00 for the high spec. Both are sold only in automatic transmission.

For the 1.1liter manual transmission i10, the car is sold at RM44,488.00, 1.1liter auto for RM46,988.00, and the high spec 1.1liter is sold at RM49,688.00, all with insurance. The 1.1liter high spec’s price is the same with standard spec 1.25liter i10.

words & pix: Al-mu Syahrisyawal Ahmad

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