Even smaller than it sounds
I had an amazing vacation to Iceland and this was our rental for the week. Thankfully there was only 3 of us because the car was stuffed to the gills with 3 suitcases and 3 passengers. I know all the pictures look like they were taken at sunrise or sunset, but this time of year, Iceland only gets a little over 4 hours of sun per day and we saw direct sun very little all week. Add a mix of clouds and precipitation, and it looks like either early evening or 2am all the time.
It’s tiny in every regard except the front legroom, but that’s only if the seats are all the way back leaving only several inches of legroom for the [hopefully] petite passengers in the backseat.
I don’t think a car like this would fly at all in the US as the only attraction would be the price. Size wise, the smart car is the only thing comparable, but it’s a 2-seater. The prices of these start at 2.190.000 Icelandic Krona . . . translating to about US$18,000. I talked with a local briefly about cars and he said that all autos are roughly double the price from the US. That makes sense since this is one class smaller than the domestic Accent. If you want a fairly common Hyundai SUV found here in the states, the base price of a Hyundai Santa Fe is $64,700 in Iceland. Needless to say, every large vehicle on the road looked out of place!
I don’t think it’s a horrible looking vehicle, but it definitely wouldn’t be on my short list to purchase either.
Primarily the reason not to purchase is pictured here. Powering the i10 is a 3-cylinder 66hp engine with a 4-speed transmission. Luckily, it weighs just shy of 2100 lbs. Hyundai’s primary focus was obviously the low-as-possible MSRP. The jaunt from 0-60 can be an intimidating process if you are trying to merge into one of the many round-a-bouts in Iceland, but thankfully most of the other cars on the road are also tiny and slow. I found a range of 0-60 times anywhere from 12.6 to 16.0 seconds, but I’d estimate the 0-60 was in the 14 second range as I can’t find an accurate count anywhere on the web in English at least. It became clear at our first gas station fill up why smaller is definitely better since the only gasoline choice is 95-octane (!) and it’s about $6.70 per gallon. The commonplace state-side Ford F-series trucks, Escalades, and V8 powered sports cars that we’re accustomed to are very rare.
At about 55mph, the tiny 1.0liter is pumping out 3000 rpm, which translated to an abysmal 33.3mpg overall for our week with the A10. The mileage was so low that I questioned if the tank was full when we got it, but the gas gauge looked identical at pick-up time and drop off. Most of the mileage was from highway driving to the touristy stuff, so getting to 40mpg would seem to be a challenge.
The ride wasn’t as bad as expected even with the loud studded snow tires. I’m sure it’s a requirement of some type either mandated by the government or rental car agency that certain months of the year all cars need to have these installed. My state of Kentucky allows unrestricted use of these road damaging tires, but 10 states don’t allow them at all and the rest have seasonal restrictions. Luckily, the roads in Iceland were very smooth and well maintained.
The dash was very well laid out and crystal clear, but it’s very generic. A dearly departed friend from high school had an early 90’s Geo Metro for several years and similarities between the two were borderline comical. It’d be very easy to complain about everything the Hyundai was lacking, but simplicity is probably best when driving in a foreign country.
In a normal array of buttons and tech found in between the 2 front seats, all the i10 has is an extra power outlet.
The stereo was bare bones and no CD player or satellite radio either, but there was an unusual number of radio stations and 103.9 FM was an especially good one. They played music on there that I hadn’t heard in years and missed hearing. A very pleasant surprise was the heated front seats. A huge disappointment was the lack of A/C. There’s probably only a handful of days where cooling the inside of a car is necessary, but on more than one occasion we needed it to defog the windows. The windows eventually cleared every time, but we were baking in the cabin until the inner glass was warm enough not to have inside condensation. Use of an a/c compressor would have removed the moisture without baking the passengers. We only saw snow 1 day and it was in the mid-30’s to high-40’s the rest of the time we were there. Aside from the day of bone chilling 50mph winds(!) it wasn’t the stereotypical trip to the far north Atlantic. Besides the auto transmission, I’d confidently say that heated seats were the only option on this car.
The driver’s seat was only tolerable for short trips. There was zero lumbar support and the only useful adjustment was the recline, which would intrude noticeably to anyone in the back seat if the driver was over 6 feet tall. The steering wheel mute button for the stereo was useful and unusual in the other rental cars of this size I’ve seen.
When we picked up the car, the data sheet said room for 4 adults and 1 suitcase. I thought it was a joke, but we instantly learned that it was indeed a single suitcase trunk. After adding a small backpack to the right, the trunk was as full as possible. This car would have been impossible with 4 adults + luggage.
This rental car and trip in general was proof positive that Americans are definitely obsessed with bigger vehicles than necessary.
Things of note:
Huge difference in performance with extra passengers and luggage
66hp for a 4-wheeled passenger car would NEVER be ok stateside
It’s lacking a lot, but you get what you pay for.
Buy it? Rent it? Avoid it?
If I ever had the need to move overseas, the i10 would be near the bottom of my shopping list. It’s borderline acceptable if you never plan to have passengers or the slightest inkling of cargo, but how can any car buyer guarantee that? I’d be curious to see what the gas mileage would be on a 5-speed manual. Even if money is tight, I’d opt for a larger rental or a used car purchase that has a little more oomph.
Hyundai if you’re listening . . .
The company must be doing something right because the i10, i20, and i30’s were all over Reykjavik, but a 6-speed manual or automatic would do wonders for fuel economy and performance.
On a scale from 1-100: (1- nay / 100- yay)
Buy it now – 10
Buy it later at half the current price – 20
F.E.D. (Fun, Efficiency & Desirability) – 15
Oooh and ahhh factor – 40 (due to it’s perplexing small size to this foreigner)
Recommended to rent – 30