Hyundai’s little i10 city car makes a big impression in these cost-conscious motoring times, says Iain Dooley, PA senior motoring writer.

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Engines – A small car demands a small petrol engine, and Hyundai’s i10 was launched with a 1.1-litre unit that was later upgraded to a 1.2-litre. There’s not much between the two, but the latter is a little more refined. Both offer good fuel economy and a willingness to perform that surprised critics first time around.

Exterior – City cars tend to share many similar styling cues as it’s hard to reinvent the wheel when it comes to compact modes of transport. However, the i10’s rounded edges and friendly face help make the urban crawl and more pleasant one.

Interior – For such a small car the i10 is surprisingly accommodating. You might think that its five-door shape is an optimistic one when it comes to attracting occupants, but there’s more room than you think inside. Granted, the rear seats suit children better than adults for long trips.

Driving – Nippy and agile are just two of the many words you could use to describe the i10. It’s not the fastest car in the world but its petrol motors do a fine job around town and, so long as you’re realistic, there’s no reason why motorway journeys can’t be tackled either. The ‘thrummy’ sound from the engines adds to the car’s character and, predictably, its compact size makes city driving a breeze.

Ownership – Everything is small with the i10 and that includes the running costs. With the potential for exceptionally wallet-friendly savings in the fuel consumption and road tax departments, the i10 can easily be run on a shoestring budget. It’s also a simple car, which makes the ownership prospect an appealing one and one that needs little effort over and above regular servicing.

What to look for – Being a car that’s likely to have lived permanently in the city it’s important to check for evidence of the predictable parking dents and kerbed wheels. The latter could be hiding more serious steering damage, which makes the test drive all the more important. Also, for such a relatively new car make sure there’s a full service history as evidence of a pampered existence.

Model history – 2008, Hyundai launches its new city car, the i10. A five-door hatchback, the car is offered with a small capacity petrol engine – a 1.2 motor replacing the original 1.1 in 2009. Standard equipment levels above average for this class of car, with the likes of electric windows, air-conditioning and a quality audio unit available even on low-end variants.

Reasons to buy – Value for money, easy to drive, equipment levels, refinement.

Reasons to beware – Used-and-abused urban-only examples, neglected low-mileage cars, modest legroom in the back for adults.

Pick of the range – i10 1.2 Comfort.

What to pay – 2008 58 £4,900; 2009 09 £5,425; 2009 59 £5,725; 2010 10 £6,300; 2010 60 £6,575; 2011 11 £7,275; 2011 61 £7,600. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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