ANYONE who thinks city cars lack real character and are best suited for boring day-to-day driving chores need to check out Hyundai's latest i10 model in racy N Line trim.
That's because this new addition to the five-door line-up takes its inspiration fromHyundai's N performance division and features aggressive styling with performance to match.
Admittedly it's not quite hot hatch territory, but nor is the price-tag of Â£16,195. And for that outlay you get a stunningly designed, well equipped car that's great fun to drive but also offers the practicality of five seats - many city cars only accommodate four people.
Powering the N Line i10 is a new three-cylinder 1.0-litre T-GDi turbocharged petrol engine with 100ps and 172NM of torque mated to a manual five-speed gearbox.
It sprints to 62mph from a standing start in 10.5 seconds (it feels faster) and has a top speed of 115mph, while deliveringa combined 52.3mpg under WLTP testing with carbon emissions of 123g/km.
The vehicle looks dynamic from any approach with plenty of N Line-specific design cues.For example, there is abespoke N Line front grille with integrated LED daytime running lights, dual chrome exhaust tips, rear LED combination lamps and red stripe finishing to the front and rear bumpers.
There is N Line badging on the front wings, along with a black roof that contrasted really nicely with the bright red paintwork andN Line 16-inch alloy wheels complete the look.
Move inside and that sporty theme continueswith N Line cloth seats with red stitching, rear privacy glass, black roof liner, a branded steering wheel and gear stick and red air vent details.
The car is loaded with techno treats boastingan eight-inch colour touchscreen mounted high on the dashboard, full smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, Bluetooth with voice recognition, a DAB radio, air conditioning and lots more besides.
If you want sat nav, that can be added as part of an optional pack costing £1,000. But these days many people use the navigation system on their phones and that works well on this i10.
When it comes to performance, the i10 N Line is great fun to drive. In busy town centres it is agile and easy to handle thanks to fairly light steering and a turning circle of just4.86 metres and the good all-round visibility is a bonus when parking this compact vehicle.
It's a car that can cruise at motorway speeds, although the volume from the little three-pot engine does get quite loud under heavy throttle, and it also likes to show off on the open country lanes with good acceleration through the five gears and plenty of power on tap for overtaking slower vehicles.
The road holding is confident and although the N Line model has a different chassis and firmer suspension set-up to the rest of the line-up, most bumps and dips are smoothed out along the way.
My only slight gripe was the lack of a sixth gear at times and also a slight lag in power at about 50mph, but those minor gripes aside, the car was fun, fun, fun all the way.
Comfort levels within the i10 are high and there is ample space in the back for a couple of adults if the front seats are not pushed back too far. A trio of youngsters could sit comfortably on long journeys without too many complaints.
Storage options are good for the sector with a boot capacity that ranges from 252 to 1,050 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped down. And there are various cubby holes to tuck away bits and pieces throughout the cabin, including front and rear door pockets, a glovebox, cup holders and a handy tray.
The i10 was awarded four stars when tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and that is quite high for this type of vehicle. Safety kit, as standard, includes the likes oflane departure warning with lane keep assist, forward collision warning system with autonomous emergency braking, driver attention warning, high beam assist and eCall which can dial the emergency services should the car be involved in a serious collision.