Driven #4: Hyundai i10 Blue

When the i10 made its global debut in 2007, it quickly managed to establish Hyundai as a mainstream competitor in the mini-car segment, becoming one of Hyundai’s largest selling models in India, Europe and elsewhere. After 3 years and approximately more than 750000 cars on road, Hyundai decided it’s time to give the i10 a mid-cycle face-lift, with few minor tweaks to its powertrain as well. Recently, I got to drive the i10 Blue, which went on sale recently in UK and select European markets. If you don’t know already, ‘Blue Drive’ denotes the greener variants of all Hyundai models. Though it’s made in Chennai, this particular variant of i10 is not destined for India anytime soon.

Internationally, Hyundai has successfully launched its latest design language, tastefully named ‘Fluidic Sculpture’. As part of it, the i10 now comes with an all-new front end, with the hexagonal corporate grille lending a touch of aggression to the car. There are minimal changes to the profile with body colored rub-strips and mirrors with integrated indicators being the only changes. The rear gets a revised bumper with built-in reflectors and new lenses for the taillights. Overall, Hyundai has managed to make the i10 look a bit more upmarket by incorporating its ‘family’ look. If you liked the cute and rounded looks of the previous i10, you will be disappointed with this redesign though.

One of the i10’s major selling points, be it in Europe or in India, was the quality of its interiors and the long list of standard features. Gladly, those virtues still remain, with the overall quality, fit and finish and features on offer absolutely unmatchable for the price you pay. Unlike in India, the i10 is very competitively priced in Europe as Hyundai still doesn’t have the brand image of a Ford, Volkswagen or Fiat there.

While the i10 simply crushes the competition in India equipped with features not available on cars a segment or two higher, the case in Europe is not hugely dissimilar. Depending on the market and variant, the i10 comes with features like ABS, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), dual air bags, Bluetooth connectivity, gearshift indicator, steering mounted audio controls, USB/Aux input, heated front seats and mirrors, height and tilt adjustable steering, sunroof, parking sensors, etc. many of which are payable extras in other models. Also, unlike India, where the car comes with dark grey and beige interiors, the European models get an all-black treatment with an alloy silver finish in the center console.

The biggest change in the new i10 is actually under the hood. In India, the face-lifted i10 comes with upgraded 1.1L and 1.2L engines, with the latter even coming with a segment-first Variable Timing Valve Train (VTVT) technology. In Europe though, depending on the market, this new 1.0L 3 cylinder engine either replaces the 1.1L or is offered as a third engine option. Developed as part of the ‘Blue Drive’ family, this engine, apart from getting the stop-start system (Intelligent Stop & Go in Hyundai’s terms), has a host of other features like an Alternator Management System, low rolling resistance tires and a gearshift indicator, all aimed at improving the fuel efficiency and reducing the emissions.

Though the car is quite peppy and responsive inside city, when compared to the 4 cylinder 1.2L engine variant, the i10 Blue is less powerful, a little less refined, emits less harmful gases and consumes less fuel. In fact, with CO2 emissions of just 99 g/km, the i10 is now the cheapest 5 seater on sale in UK to be exempted from paying the London Congestion Charges. Add to it the good mileage figures and the i10 Blue makes excellent sense as a city car.

As it has always been, the i10 is extremely good to drive in traffic, the nimble handling, the nicely spaced gear ratios and small dimensions helping it to easily navigate the city landscape. Also aiding this is the stop-start system which worked seamlessly and turned the engine off when you come to a stop and engage neutral. A green light glows in the instrument cluster denoting this. Press the clutch and the engine rumbles back to life again.

Once we get used to this stop-start system, I swear that most of us just can’t stop thinking about its huge potential and benefits in India, the crowded and polluted cities perfectly suited for this technology. And, before you start cursing Hyundai for not introducing this in India, just look at its prices. Despite being less powerful, the i10 Blue is now costlier than the 1.2L version with similar features. Frankly, very few people in a cost-conscious market like ours would pay more and get less, even if that means making our planet earth a little cleaner.

* Engine Type: SOHC 12 Valve
* No of Cylinders: 3
* Displacement: 998 cc
* Max Power: 68 BHP @ 6200 rpm
* Max Torque: 95 Nm @ 3500 rpm
* Transmission Type: 5 Speed MT
* Tyres: 155/70 R13
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front) / Drum (Rear)

There is no denying the fact that the i10 Blue would be an excellent addition to an already exhaustive line-up that straddles two segments with prices ranging from 3.75 Lacs to well over 6 Lacs. But at its current retail prices, the car would venture dangerously deep into the mid-size sedan segment in India. The i10 Blue would thus end up as a hugely practical car at a slightly impractical price.


  1. In UK the blue is costlier than the 1.2l i10, so those interested will surely go for the 1.2l version only

  2. @ above - Thanks for your comment. Yes, surely at these prices, people will go for the 1.2l version, but the Blue variant is more fuel efficient and less polluting.