Hyundai set the pattern for compact cars with its Excel in the 1990s, including its landmark $13,990 driveaway deals, and has a new European baby with the potential to repeat that program for as little as $12,000.
The difference is that the all-new i10, just like the i30 which recently hit Australia, is a car designed and developed for Europe.
That means it will look better than a conventional Korean car, and promises to drive with a sportier feel despite a baby 1.1-litre engine.
The new i10 would slide into the Hyundai range below the Getz, on both size and price, even though it has a five-seater cabin inside its five-door hatchback body.
Product planners at Hyundai Motor Company Australia are assessing the potential for the i10 and, despite a lukewarm response from company headquarters in Sydney, it is likely to hit the road here sometime in 2008.
“We need to see if it will be suitable for the unique Australian road conditions and consumer,” says Hyundai spokeswoman Tiffany Junee. “We are still looking into the various specifications (but) it does compete in the light segment and we do have to have a look at it.”
It could be tough to find a price and size slot for the i10 as Hyundai is already loaded in the sub-$20,000 class.
“We have the Getz and the i30 so we're looking to see if it would be suitable,” Junee says, admitting it has one significant advantage; it's a smaller car than the Getz.
The i10 is only 3565mm in length, which puts it into the same range as the Smart ForTwo, but Hyundai claims a bigger-car feel thanks to a long wheelbase and wide track.
There is still no confirmation of price, models or the on-sale date.
But it has four front and side airbags, rolls on 14-inch wheels; and even the base car has tinted windows and a six-speaker CD sound system.
The only engine is a 1.1-litre petrol four, producing 50kW and economy in the 5.0-litres-per-100km range, with manual and automatic gearboxes complete with a shift lever high on the centre console like a Honda Civic.
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