The smallest Hyundai returns with new looks and tech, same old engines

The 2020 Hyundai i10 is the third-generation version of the subcompact hatchback. A success story for Hyundai in Europe, the i10 is now bolder on the outside and smarter on the inside. Under the hood, the 2020 i10 is pretty much similar to its predecessor as it features the same engines, but it has a new automated manual transmission. Hyundai also added extra safety features, turning the 2020 i10 is one of the most advanced vehicles in its niche.

The 2020 i10 arrives to compete with its Kia-badged sibling, the Picanto, and the popular Toyota Aygo in a really crowded subcompact segment. How does it compare to its predecessor and rivals? Let’s find out in the review below.

Exterior

  • Revised exterior
  • Borrows from bigger Hyundais
  • New headlamps
  • Sporty front bumper
  • Clean profile
  • Revised taillights
  • Diffuser-like element
  • Two-tone color options
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The subcompact still features swept-back headlamps, but their design is a bit different

Redesigned from a clean sheet, the third-generation i10 remains familiar design-wise. The subcompact still features swept-back headlamps, but their design is a bit different, with sharper edges toward the nose. As a big change compared to the outgoing model, the i10 no longer has a thin grille between the front lights. The main grille remains somewhat similar to the old model. It’s still wider at the top, where it also includes LED daytime running lights, but now it’s also wider at the bottom. Instead of black trim, the two grille components are separated by a body-colored section. All told, it looks as if the i10 now features two trapezoidal grilles with their wider sides toward the hood and apron, respectively.

The fake side vents that include small fog lamps are notably smaller than before, but that’s because the lower grille is much wider now. The old, featureless engine hood was replaced by a new cover that includes character lines that run alongside the headlamps and from the windshield to the nose. These cues alone give the front end a more muscular look.

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The quarter window now incorporates a triangular piece of black trim with "i10" lettering

The new i10’s profile isn’t all that different from the old hatchback, but look close enough and notable differences start to surface. For starters, the way the hood is cut toward the windshield shows a bit more attention to detail. The same goes for the front doors, which now fully incorporate the area that supports the side mirrors. The lower black trim seen on the old i10 is gone, but shape of the lower doors is pretty much similar.

Another important change is visible in the quarter window, which now incorporates a triangular piece of black trim with the "i10" lettering. Because this element almost runs into the tailgate, it gives the third-gen i10 a floating roof effect, especially if you opt for a black roof.

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The tailgate is virtually identical to the old model save for the bigger handle and the revised taillights

The rear of the new i10 is as dull as they get, especially since it doesn’t sport major changes. The tailgate is virtually identical to the old model save for the bigger handle and the revised taillights, which are now more angular and feature a revised pattern with the turn signals in the upper section. The rear bumper is now simpler than before. The trapezoidal license plate recess has grown bigger, but Hyundai ditched the black insert. However, the diffuser-like element at the bottom looks a tad sportier.

The third-generation i10 is available in 10 exterior colors, including three brand-new hues. You can now pick from Dragon Red, Brass, and Aqua Turquoise. Other options include Phantom Black, Polar White, Star Dust, Sleek Silver, Champion Blue, Tomato Red, and Slate Blue. You can also spec your i10 in a two-tone finish thanks to a new option that allows you to have the roof painted in black or red. Overall, you now have 22 exterior color combinations to choose from.

Interior

  • Clean, modern look
  • Eight-inch infotainment system
  • Extra storage room above the glovebox
  • Plasticky look overall
  • Small display in the instrument cluster
  • Two-tone finish
  • Revised seats
  • New steering wheel
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The ugly upper center stack with the rectangular screen flanked by round A/C vents is gone

Hyundai describes the interior of the new i10 as "youthful," and based on what we’re seeing, we have to agree. The Korean brand ditched the cluttered design of the center stack, much like it did in its larger models in recent years. The ugly upper center stack with the rectangular screen flanked by round A/C vents is also gone, now replaced by a "free standing" display with rectangular vents below. The control panel for the air conditioning system was placed just below the vents for added convenience. Below that there are two USB ports and a small storage compartment.

The way the infotainment display is integrated with the hood of the instrument cluster is rather intriguing. It seems as if Hyundai tried to copy the premium automakers, which now integrate the infotainment and instrument cluster displays into a single unit, but the design isn’t as cool in the i10. The eight-inch infotainment screen is basically surrounded by a trim extension of the instrument cluster that doesn’t look out of place, but it’s not seamless either. Still, it’s not a bad design for a vehicle this small.

2020 Hyundai i10 Interior
- image 858975
The dashboard is available with a two-tone finish that combines black with light grey surfaced on the center and the glovebox

The instrument cluster continues to feature analog dials, but there’s a small display between them for vital information, including range and driver aid functions. The steering wheel was redesigned and now looks way cooler and features more ergonomic controls. Higher trims come with a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The dashboard is available with a two-tone finish that combines black with light grey surfaced on the center and the glovebox. The upper section features a honeycomb pattern that looks nice, but the entire unit still looks plasticky. This isn’t an issue given the segment and the price, but it doesn’t feel as premium as Hyundai wants us to believe. As an interesting feature, Hyundai added an extra open storage compartment just above the glovebox. The grey areas trickle into the door panels, where they surround the opening handle and the lower pocket. The latter also features the honeycomb pattern, but again, the entire element looks like solid plastic.

The seats look a lot like those from the outgoing model. Sure, Hyundai probably made some comfort updates here and there, but didn’t change much in terms of design. The seats are wrapped in cloth, but feature an interesting pattern on the seating surfaces, as well as optional white stripes on the backrest. In the rear, the i10 can be ordered with either the classic bench for three people or a pair of more comfortable seats for two passengers.

2020 Hyundai i10 Interior
- image 858947
When it comes to trunk space, the new i10 remains similar to its predecessor and offers 252 liters with the rear seats in place

As far as tech goes, the eight-inch infotainment system, which is the largest in this segment, includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The i10 can be equipped with many cool features available in larger Hyundais, but they’re optional. Highlights include a rear-view camera, wireless charging, and the Connected Car platform. The latter includes Bluelink telematics, a feature that searches points of interest, and Find My Car, which enables you to locate your i10 in a parking lot or unfamiliar areas.

When it comes to trunk space, the new i10 remains similar to its predecessor and offers 252 liters (8.9 cubic feet) with the rear seats in place. Although it’s not a segment-leading figure, it’s very close to the Kia Picanto, rated at 255 liters (nine cubic feet). The i10’s trunk is also quite large compared to that of the Toyota Aygo, rated at only 168 liters (5.9 cubic feet).

Hyundai has yet to release trunk capacity with the rear seats folded, but it’s safe to assume that it remains similar to the old car. The outgoing i10 can swallow up to 1,046 liters (36.9 cubic feet) of luggage, a figure that probably didn’t change much for the new generation. This is a bit more than the Kia Picanto, rated at 1,010 liters (35.6 cubic feet).

Drivetrain

  • The same engines
  • 1.0-liter three-cylinder
  • 1.2-liter four-cylinder
  • New automated manual transmission
  • Up to 83 horsepower
  • Up to 118 Nm of torque
  • No turbo engine yet
  • Efficient engines overall
2020 Hyundai i10 Exterior
- image 858970
The base mill is a 1.0-liter three-cylinder that cranks out 66 horsepower

The third-generation i10 was launched with two engines, both based on units offered with the outgoing hatchback. The base mill is a 1.0-liter three-cylinder that cranks out 66 horsepower and 96 Nm (71 pound-feet) of torque. That’s just one horsepower and two Nm (two pound-feet) of torque more than the outgoing version of this engine.

The other option is a 1.2-liter four-cylinder that’s also just a mild improvement over the old design. This unit cranks out 83 horsepower and 118 Nm (87 pound-feet) of twist and it’s actually a bit less powerful than the outgoing mill. Specifically, the outgoing i10 with this engine came with an extra three horsepower and an additional two Nm (two pound-feet) of torque.

2020 Hyundai i10 Exterior
- image 858965

You should know that these engines are shared with the Kia Picanto, which benefits from the same output ratings with one minor exception. In the Picanto, the 1.2-liter engine cranks out 122 Nm (90 pound-feet) of twist, four Nm (three pound-feet) more than the i10.

Based on this, it’s safe to assume that Hyundai will add the turbocharged 1.0-liter three-pot that Kia offers in the Picanto as well. This engine will become the range-topping choice with an output of around 99 horsepower and 172 Nm (127 pound-feet) of torque.

2020 Hyundai i10 Exterior
- image 858972

The Toyota Aygo is along the same lines as far as performance goes. The Japanese firm offers a 1.0-liter three-cylinder rated at 71 horsepower and 94 Nm (69 pound-feet) of torque, five horsepower more than the i10, but two Nm (two pound-feet) below.

Both the 1.0- and 1.2-liter engines are available with either a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automated manual gearbox. The latter provides increased efficiency thanks to its lighter weight and improved friction. Both units feature Idle Stop and Go as standard. This technology reduces fuel consumption and lower C02 emissions, especially in urban areas. The optional ECO Pack helps reduce consumption even more through optimized gear ratio and 14-inch wheels.

2019 Hyundai i10 specifications
G1.0 engine G1.2 engine
Architecture 3-cylinder MPi 4-cylinder MPi
Power (HP) 66 83
Torque (lb-ft) 71 87
Transmission 5MT / 5AMT 5MT / 5AMT
CO2 target NEDC 2.0 (g/km) 103 (98 w/ ECO Pack) / 103 107 / 107
CO2 target WLTP (g/km) 116 (112 w/ ECO Pack) / 121 121 / 126

Safety Features

2020 Hyundai i10 Exterior
- image 858976

The i10 may be petite and all, but it comes with a comprehensive safety package. Hyundai brags that it’s above the competition, but it’s a speech we’ve heard from Kia and Toyota as well. Anyway, the i10 features Hyundai’s latest SmartSense suite of active safety features, which includes tech like Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist and High Beam Assist. The former can detect cars and pedestrians in front of the vehicle thanks to a multi-function camera. High Beam Assist, on the other hand, switches between high and low beams to provide optimal illumination of the road ahead without blinding oncoming drivers. You can also add optional safety features like Lane Keep Assist System, Driver Attention Warning, and the Intelligent Speed Limited Warning.

Pricing

2020 Hyundai i10 Exterior
- image 858949

Pricing information for the new i10 is not yet available, but it shouldn’t be notably more expensive than the outgoing model. The old hatchback retails from £9,325, so the third-gen i10 shouldn’t fetch more than £10,000 before options. The range-topping model, currently called the Premium SE, will probably start from around £14,500. The Hyundai i10 won’t be sold in the United States.

Competition

Kia Picanto

2017 Kia Picanto High Resolution Exterior
- image 706144

Redesigned in 2017, the current Kia Picanto shares most underpinnings and engines with the Hyundai i10. But it looks notably different on the outside and the redesign brought interesting features to the table. While not overly sporty, it shares some design cues with the bigger Kia model and still looks fresh after two years on the market. The Picanto’s interior looks decent enough and in some areas, like the design of the seats and the A/C vents, it actually looks a bit better than the i10. It’s pretty solid in the tech department as well and includes everything you get in the i10, but the infotainment display is slightly smaller at seven inches.

Under the hood, the Picanto is virtually identical to the i10. It comes with the same 1.0-liter three-cylinder rated at 66 horsepower and 96 Nm (71 pound-feet) of torque and the 1.2-liter four-cylinder that cranks out 83 horsepower and 118 Nm (87 pound-feet) of twist. Unlike the i10, the Picanto is also available with a beefed-up, turbocharged 1.0-liter three-pot that delivers a solid 99 horses and 172 Nm (127 pound-feet) of torque. The Picanto also features a similar five-speed manual, but it’s not available with the i10’s new five-speed automated manual. Instead it can be equipped with a four-speed automatic. Pricing for the Kia Picanto starts from £10,045. The most expensive trim comes in at £15,215 before options.

Read our full review of the 2019 Kia Picanto.

Toyota Aygo

New Toyota Aygo Can Overtake the VW Up! and Hyundai i10 in Europe but Has Little Chance Against Fiat Exterior
- image 772689

Yet another popular choice in the city car segment, the Aygo is already in its second generation. Redesigned in 2014, the Aygo is much older than its competitors, but the facelift Toyota operated in 2018 brought some important changes. The hatchback has a more aggressive front end, more angular features, and redesigned taillights. The cabin is a bit more cluttered than the competition, but the body-colored trim, the available premium upholstery, and the new instrument cluster graphics turn it into an appealing option. Power comes with a 1.0-liter three-cylinder rated at 71 horsepower and 94 Nm (69 pound-feet) of torque. Pricing for the Aygo starts from £9,495 for the three-door version, but the four-door variant comes in at £10,125. The range-topping Aygo comes in at £14,025 before options.

Read our full story on the 2019 Toyota Aygo

Final Thoughts

2020 Hyundai i10 Exterior
- image 858951

The new i10 is a big improvement over the old model. And not just because it looks better on the outside. It also features a more modern and ergonomic interior and technology that places it at the top of its segment. Things are a bit disappointing in the drivetrain department in the absence of new engines, but there’s a new transmission to make up for that. Fortunately, the i10 will also feature a turbocharged three-cylinder engine with almost 100 horsepower at some point. The new i10 is definitely a solid option in this segment, especially if the base model won’t cost more than £10,000.

  • Leave it
    • Needs a more powerful engine
    • Its competitive segment has better alternatives

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2017 Hyundai i10

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