Well, I must confess that when told that we would be driving up to Palermo to test drive the latest Hyundai i10, I wasn’t exactly over the moon. For starters, I have heard stories of getting stuck on the catamaran for hours on high seas and everyone around you being sick. Moreover, the infamous driving habits of the Sicilians was another source of concern.
Well at least we were driving up in a Hyundai Tucson, a spacious and comfortable ride, I must say. The crossing was in fact quick and within an hour and a half we disembarked in Sicily. The SUV was driven off the catamaran and we started the journey. We did get lost on the Sicilian side roads but once we got a grip of the route, we were well on the way.
The 2-litre diesel powering the vehicle provided decent acceleration for an enjoyable experience with 82.5kw at 4,000rpm and 245Nm of torque available between 1,800 to 2,500 rpm. The engine is relatively quiet and its flexible nature provided the driver with all the power required. During the 700km round journey, at times we were cruising at speeds of 170km an hour despite a full load of passengers and luggage. Being an SUV, the Tucson also manoeuvred pretty well around the busy roads of Palermo.
The interior is quite spacious and five adults can travel with relative comfort for quite a distance. The dashboard is well within the drivers’ view without having to distract his or her attention from the road for the essential information. The luggage space available is capable of accommodating the equipment necessary for a television filming crew together and personal luggage.
An ideal vehicle for a family and very versatile, were my final thoughts following the trip, but anyway it was the i10’s turn now.
Hyundai chose the picturesque seaside town of Palermo for the international launch of the i10 and to be perfectly honest, I never had imagined that Sicily was so beautiful. My perception of Palermo was that of crime and disorder, but at most it can be described as chaotic, especially in the centre. Once out in the countryside, it improved considerably, apart from the food!
Even though the i10 forms part of the mini-segment, it provides a decent drive with a smooth and silent ride. In terms of performance, the i10 is powered by a 1.0-litre engine which covers 0 to 60 miles an hour in 15.2 seconds. Once up to speed, it moves on at a decent pace despite a low gearing of 20mph per 1,000rpm in fifth gear. The steering provides decent feedback and body roll is quite contained in the fast bends, despite the tallish build of the car.
The interior is accessed by the wide opening doors and inside passengers
have plenty of headroom and legroom especially in the back. It is decently trimmed with no bare metal or unsightly screwheads and equipment levels are on the generous side. Luggage capacity is a sensible 258 litres. The clincher, of course, is that, unlike all its competitors, the i10 comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty. And since this is backed by what is now the fifth biggest carmaker in the world, it’s a proper guarantee, not just a piece of paper.
There is no doubt that this useful little car is where a lot of buyers are going to have to put their money in years to come.