Hyundai I10 Automatic – Short Test Drive

One of my colleagues at work mentioned a problem he was having. He had one car (Wagon-R) and was trying to teach his wife how to drive. For days he and his wife would venture out early in the morning for his wife to attempt getting familiar with the car, the gears, the roads, pedestrians, two wheelers and also slopes of flyovers and railway underpasses. To top it all they stay in a place called Choolaimedu which has one long really really crowded narrow lane permanently full of all types and modes of transport.  Very little progress was happening from the aspect of the wife learning driving.

Finally they test drove a semi-automatic with the contraption called an “auto clutch” which gets fitted to a regular manual car. I remembered some ownership reports of the same and pointed them to it and they decided not to attempt getting it. They ventured back to the driving sessions but without much interest. Somewhere along the way when I was asked about the auto clutch I had told my colleague about the Hyundai I10 automatic which now replaces the original cheapest Hatchback from Hyundai – the Santro. He and his wife test drove the I10 and felt their needs would be met by it and decided to buy it. They got it for 4.85 lakhs on road with some corporate discounts and some offer. I got to see the car one evening last week. :-).


Outside:The exteriors look like any other I10 – just a small badge at the left rear stating ‘Auto’ shows something different. The car color was Electric Red. The pull type door handles worked well and the door was light easy to open. Felt very similar to a Santro. I don’t care too much for the front of the car but can live with the looks of the car from the sides and the rear. The rear roof spoiler accessory makes the car look much better. So will wider tires, nice alloys and dark tints.

Inside:  The interior was beige mostly except for a dark brown section on the dashboard which seemed to have no reason to be there and looked very weird.Front fog lamps not present and neither were the rear wash wipe and demister. I sat in the passenger seat initially while my colleague got the car out of the parking lot and onto the road. The engine sound was almost nil inside the cabin and the transmission didn’t have any weird jerks while shifting. He didn’t have any trouble maneuvering the car from the basement through streams of people walking around. We finally got to an empty stretch of road and I was offered a chance to TD, I had initially refused but didn’t want to pass this opportunity so I got into the driver seat.

The seating position was good and very “Santroish” with good visibility all around including from both outside mirrors which were just the right size and in the right place. The gear knob had a silver finish piece on top and felt just the right size to hold and also had the button to lock the gear in place when not pressed.


Drive: I pressed the brake down, started the engine and moved from Park into ‘D’ for Drive. When I lifted my leg off the brake the car gently started moving without any jerks. To pick up pace one has to gently push the accelerator and the car does respond. Of course not with the urgency of a manual but decent enough.

I didn’t want to push this new car much but before I knew it it was touching 60 KMPH ! No harshness from the engine nor any significant increase in sound. I could feel the automatic transmission shift up through the gears – but only since I was keenly expecting it and listening for it.  Making a ‘U’ turn at a break in the median was really nice, just stop wait and when a good sized gap appears in oncoming traffic just ease into it by pressing the accelerator. No attention required to shift gears up and both hands are free to manage the turning of the wheel.

The stretch of road I drove the car on was mostly well paved so didn’t hit any potholes with the car. The only rough stretches that were there we covered with great care since this was an brand new car without even its number plates. It had decent enough clearance for normal bumps and speed breakers without any issue.

Slowing down also was easy enough just press down on the brakes accordingly and the transmission moves down accordingly. I didn’t get to test panic braking but wish this car came with ABS as it would be good to have.

No tachometer on the version I drove (Magna trim) was the only negative I could think of… But again it is not really required for an automatic where the transmission will shift up a gear before things get too hot.

Overall I think it is a good car.It felt much better to drive than the last automatic I had driven ( a Santro automatic). I have driven an automatic Honda Civic  for a couple of years – this one comes nowhere near that car – but for India and the space and traffic that exists here – it is definitely sized right. The pricing as always  I wish it could have been cheaper as it makes a lot of sense to get an automatic in crowded cities.

Ownership Experience:Since I took my time writing this up I got to hear of the ownership experience one week past purchase. The views of the two drivers of the car echo the differing expectations men and women have of the vehicles they own and drive.

The husbandwho was very enthusiastic about the ease of driving the car still says its very easy to drive in peak traffic but has now started cribbing that it doesn’t give the rush and response as his car a manual transmission Wagon-R. He is back to driving his manual shift car.

The wife on the other hand is overjoyed at getting a car of her own that she can drive almost everywhere due to its compact size, good visibility and most of all she can concentrate on the road and on avoiding the many million maniacs driving alongside without any worry whatsoever about stalling the engine on starting or needing to worry about shifting up and shifting down and clutch modulation etc. Within a day of purchase she was happily driving through the railway subway near Loyola college coming from Nungambakkam towards Choolaimedu which has a pretty nasty upward slope ending at a stop light which 99% of the time will always be red forcing the motorists to wait on the upward slope.

Agony usually happens in new drivers who have to start off from a stop on a slope and usual mistakes while starting are rolling too far backwards and hitting the vehicles behind, cars in front rolling back and hitting your car or the most common one of stalling the engine and not being able to start back again. Honks from motorists behind the new driver will add to the stress. This crazy slope is now handled by this new driver with the automatic geared car where she only has to press the accelerator just enough to move up. Husband still has to sit with his eyes closed beside her but that’s better than having to watch the road, her and keep reminding her to shift up since the 1st gear alone cannot be used :-).

The wife who loves this car so much hasn’t driven manual transmission cars enough to appreciate the fine level of control – for such a driver the automatic makes a lot of sense and can be the best thing for them to drive. For drivers very experienced with squeezing out the most of mileage and power from their vehicles an automatic may not be very engaging to drive.

PS: One item I do not have but will update later is the actual fuel efficiency of the car. Hope to get it from the owners after they drive it for a bit.

Photos: From the Hyundai India I10 Website – since I didn’t have my proper camera with me and the ones with the phone camera suck 🙁

External Link:An old post on Cybersteering that has a round up of automatics available back then and with tips on how to drive with an automatic:

Auto Clutch review :

Other I10 Auto Reviews:

28 thoughts on “Hyundai I10 Automatic – Short Test Drive”

  1. Short and crisp review of I-10 Automatic.I-10 Automatic is struggling to score numbers what is the culprit?Price tag?.Anyway driving an autobox car will be always a fun but some drivers are obsessed with manual geared cars they think gear shifting is a fun:-)
    .-= George´s last blog ..Honda Accord 2.0ltr Launched In Malaysia =-.

  2. Hi george.I think it will take time for the automatics price to come down further and for people to get over their perceptions of poor mileage and performance. Lots of owners on T-bhp tho.

  3. Nice review there Sushil. I honestly am not a big fan of auto boxes but high end cars only come in auto with the option of you controlling it. When this type of tech will be available in smaller cars then we are talking something :p
    .-= fas´s last blog ..Tata Nano Crash Test =-.


  5. Hi Guys
    I am waiting for my automatic i10 delievery. Heard that there are many issues with i10. Can someone comment on it? People are complaining that steering, axel and other engine components starts troubling the day 1 and there is pathetic after sales from Hundai. I am little worried. Any comments on this will be a great help.

    1. Hi Chander – not sure there are issues across the board like what you mention. Take care during the run in period and follow the service intervals things should be just fine. Hyundai service is pretty decent as well. I personally know 2 people who own automatic I10s and both were very happy. they havnt put too much by way of miles on it. Will try and get their ownership experience sometime soon.

  6. Hi Chander –
    I bought my i10 automatic 2 months back and as of now, the odometer reads 602 km. So far, I have not faced any of the problems that you have mentioned. Here are my observations so far:

    The car has been easy to maneuver due to the smooth steering. No issues faced.
    The transmission is smooth while shifting gears, no clicks are heard. One observation is that at low speeds (20-30 kmph), sometimes the engine feels a bit stiff
    In terms of the overall design, I feel that the tyres could have been wider. The stock tyres (BridgeStone) appear undersized for the car.
    I am yet to give the car for my first service as Hyundai Motor Plaza is fully booked until late next week. So, I cannot comment on the service. But I got the insurance papers and RC Book on time as promised. The sales person too was always available on his mobile and happy to answer questions.

    Hope the above points alleviate a few of your fears.

  7. Hi Danesh

    I am to buy i10 Next month …so just wondering to know the exact mileage it gives…..? …and what do u suggest as an Proud Owner to others abt this car.

  8. Very good review. Found that old article very useful.

    My background a little bit. I bought a Diesel Ritz about 6 months back but my office got shifted to 30 kms away from my home. Driving that distance in Bangalore traffic started to get me a lot of pain in my left knee. Was in a lot of confusion as the car was new. I had three choices.

    > Fit Auto Clutch
    > Buy Chevy Spark. It has a very light clutch and very short gearing. This will reduce the overall effort to drive the car.
    > Buy i10 Automatic.

    To be frank I was not ready to pay a penny more than 4L for a replacement. I tried Chevy spark, but it was not appealing to move to that car from Ritz. Then I was reluctant to try the i10 Auto. I took one test drive and was convinced.

    I booked the car and eagerly waiting for it. Costs me about 5.5L On-Road.

  9. Hi,

    Staying on i10 auto topic – I was trying to get a car to test drive in Mumbai. Seems most of the dealers dont have a AT i10 to test drive. Any idea where I can find one?
    Thanks in advance for replies.

  10. Hi Vijay – sorry not able to help with that question – you may have to check a lot of dealers. Only other option is to scan used car listings and do a test drive of a used one as well.

  11. Hi Guys

    Anyone driving the i10 automatic… what is the mileage? My office means 60 kms drive everyday so i am a little concerned. Thanks.

  12. I have done 2500 kms on my i10 Magna. it is been a good car till now but very poor on fuel average. I am getting around 10km per litre of petrol in city drive without AC. I have early waiting for 2nd service to see some improvement.

  13. I have done around 9500 kms. in my i10 sports auto. average is around 10kms., but it is the best city car you can have. very comfortable to drive and no problems with quality.

  14. I am using i10 Auto (Magna) since last 1 month and done 1200km. No problem as such but the city mileage with ac 100% is 7Km and highway is 12.5km

  15. Hi All. I bought a i10 Automatic sportz version. Just ran 200 Km as of now. Its giving a mileage of 7 KM. Can anyone tell if the mileage will improve after First service?

    1. Hi Sunil – your mileage is a factor of how you drive ( fast/slow/moderate) and the type of traffic/roads you face and also to an extent based on your car. Most I10s I have heard return around 10 kmpl after the first couple of services – with moderate driving speed and with mostly city traffic driving.

  16. I am driving I10 Auto sportz since last 1 year. Earlier it’s mileage was 7-8 km per ltr and I thought it will improve after first/second service but it did not. It’s still around 8-9 (without ac). I called up customer care and they just say that we have fine tuned it but no change in mielage. They never tell you that this is the correct expected mileage out of I10 Auto. After seeing some forums, I guess I should stop worrying and nothing is wrong with my car and 8-9 is the expected mileage for I10 Auto. (But I agree it’s too low).

  17. hello friends

    somebody can help me… i got a i10 from my friend for a day .. unfortunately after parking the car i couldnt take out the key from the car…. i think there might be some settings.. can some body help me plz…

  18. it’s an awesome drive really with automatic gearbox. i got more fun and enjoy my long journy and fell to drive very free after drive dint fell tired. one thing came inside mind y dont go long drive with my frnds again because that was an awesome time for me.


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