A small wonder

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The i10 has already ruthlessly edited and in some cases completely rewritten chapters of the small car design handbook and Hyundai’s baby is about to do some serious work on the chapter headed: Engines.

That’s because from the Johannesburg International Motor Show it will be available with a sophisticated new 1,2-litre powerplant, which turns it into a lightweight with the performance of a heavyweight.

Under the stubby bonnet of the latest addition to the i10 range is the brand new Kappa engine, which boasts the power output of many 1300 cc rivals and the torque of some 1400s. Even more importantly, when fitted with a manual gearbox it returns fuel consumption of just 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres in the European combined cycle and emits just 132 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

The newcomer expands the i10 range to a total of five models and looks set to follow on from the success of its 1,1-litre stablemate, which has been instrumental in helping Hyundai to buck the downward trend in the new car market. Like its smaller-engined sibling, it is imported from the Chennai plant of Hyundai Motor India, which came on stream in February this year and is equipped with the very latest production equipment, used in conjunction with the most modern and efficient labour practises.

“The i10 has become hugely successfully in a short space of time, both here and abroad,” says Hyundai’s Marketing Director, Stanley Anderson. “It is a car which is hard to beat when in comes to good, old-fashioned value for money – especially when our spectacular five year/150 000 kilometre warranty is taken into consideration.”

The three new derivatives comprise a 1,2 GLS with a manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic transmission, as well as a ‘High Spec’ version of the three-pedal model. The main visual differentiator between the standard and high specification model is alloy wheels.

On the safety front, the flagship model is also equipped with dual airbags and an all-disc braking system with anti-lock assistance and electronic brakeforce distribution. On the inside, all-round electric windows sets it apart, as all models feature luxuries such as power steering, central locking, tuner/CD/MP3 and air conditioning as standard.

Like other iSeries cars, the i10 is designed and built under the credo of ‘Innovation, Intelligence and Ingenuity.’ This means it combines great design, the latest technology and cutting edge production methods which enable Hyundai to bring good-looking, high-quality cars to market at an affordable price.

The Kappa (a name which indicates it is Hyundai’s 11th petrol engine family since the company introduced its first in-house engine design in 1991) has been developed over a period of four years and only went into production at the end of July. It is fitting therefore that it harnesses all of Hyundai´s engineering know–how in the quest to squeeze more energy out of each droplet of fuel.

A key aspect of the design is the offset crankshaft, an engineering concept first adopted in the Gamma engine introduced last year. Unlike a conventional engine where the centreline of the cylinder bore is in perfect vertical alignment with the rotating axis of the crankshaft, the Kappa´s centreline is offset by a small distance. By creating this offset, engineers have succeeded in minimizing the side force created by the pistons. The net effect is an improvement in fuel consumption and a reduction in noise, vibration and harshness.

Kappa also adopts a number of weight and friction reducing innovations to achieve its impressive fuel economy and minimal emissions. Special coatings and finishes are used on moving surfaces to help components literally glide across one another with the minimum of noise and mechanical drag. The engine block is made from high pressure die–cast aluminium and a figure of 82.4 kg with the manual gearbox makes the Kappa is the lightest in its class among leading European and Japanese–made engines.

It also has a very high specific torque rating of 93 Nm per litre, contributing to excellent drivability in stop–and–go city traffic. It differs from the 1,1-litre engine in that it is equipped with double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Maximum torque is 116 Nm at 4 000 revs/min, with peak power of 55 kW at 6 000 revs/min. Finally, the Kappa is controlled by two 16–bit 32Mhz microprocessors for digitally precise control of the ignition timing, idle speed, engine knock (compression ratio is 10.5:1) and emissions.

The Eurocentric looks of the i10 have already been singled out as a strong point, combining as it does pleasing proportions despite the compact and relatively tall dimensions – often a combination which results in a complete absence of aesthetic appeal.

With the same cleverly-packaged interior as the smaller-engined i10 (which liberates space by incorporating the gearlever into the dashboard) and features such as a 60/40 split rear seat to significantly expand the 149 litre (VDA method) luggage compartment, the 1,2-litre version will no doubt be just as popular with growing families.

“We expect the more powerful engine to have a significant impact on sales, especially inland. Along with the impressive safety features of the High Spec model, it is going to make the i10 very appealing to a progressive buyer who wants an affordable and cheap to own small car with plentiful features and eager performance,” concluded Anderson.


  • i10 1.2 GLS Manual from R105 900
  • i10 1.2 GLS Automatic from R115 900
  • i10 1.2 GLS HS Manual from R119 900

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