Pros : Compact, good interior space, looks
Cons : V.Poor city drivability and fuel economy
Look and Style : i10 is a good looking car with modern styling. It is well proportioned and compact and easy to manoeuvre in busy city traffic.
Comfort : The ride quality is good, except for an annoying thump when going over some speed-breakers. The interior is well appointed, though the plastic could improve in colour combination and feel. The dashboard is sleek, but the inbuilt stereo screen is a bit difficult to read with polarised sunglasses. The fuel gauge is pathetic and difficult to read, though the speedo and odometer are great.
Pickup : Excellent at engine speeds over 2500rpm and highway driving, but pathetic below 1350rpm - one has to keep it at a minimum of around 1500rpm to assure drivability. This makes it very difficult to drive in city traffic, without constantly shifting gears, which is not only annoying but sometimes dangerously distracting. And the tall gearing in the 1-2-3 zone, possibly made to camouflage the poor engine torque delivery at low RPM, does not make for a smooth drive in the city - which is exactly opposite to what the vehicle should have delivered.
Mieage : I expect that this would be good at constant speeds in the 60-100kmph range. But it is very terrible in city driving conditions. An average driver gets around 9.5 kmpl (even my H-Civic does better), but as an experiment, I have been able to drive it very carefully, accelerating and shifting gears 'by the book' (very annoying) in the city and returned an average of 12.8 kmpl over 150km. I peg this as a direct result of its poor low speed drivability. This has been a big letdown.
Best Features : Looks, interior space and good driving position.
Needs to improve : Significant uprating of engine torque in the 1000~1500rpm range, and consequently, shorter gear ratios. Also, the suspension needs a bit of tweaking as far as the jounce setting of the shocks are concerned.
Overall Experience : Very disappointing. I chose this car over a Suzuki to combine good interior space, easy parking in the city with good driving experience and at least a 13kpl fuel economy. I got half a car - my Santro drives better and is just as compact! At the first sign of a good alternative, I intend to jettison the vehicle!
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