Hyundai Revamps, Improves i10 Microcar; U.S. Sales Still Unlikely
Every automaker has vehicles that don’t appear in the U.S. They are vehicles that make pretty good additions to the ones we have available here. For example, Hyundai just this week introduced the revamped i10 to the rest of the world. The only way you will see or hear about it here, though, is on one of the major web news sites like MSN or Yahoo.
The fact that a vehicle like the i10 might make sense here – a solid urbo-commuter – doesn’t enter the picture as the automaker has made the decision to sell it elsewhere, just not here. So, what are U.S. customers missing?
For starters, the i10 update brings some changes to the microcar. For starters, the front and rear end feature heavily revised treatments. The design team moved the daytime driving lights and revamped the front bumper. The rear end features a new black bumper accent between the rear fog lamps – that’s right, rear fog lights, reflectorized ones, no less.
One of the knocks the i10 has received has been the microcar’s over-reliance on pushbuttons to access various systems on the instrument display. Hyundai has heard the complaints and has revised the interior the instrument panel with a new seven-inch touchscreen.
With the new touchscreen, the i10 goes from old tech to new. The touchscreen replaces the many buttons that were formerly used to access things like climate control, radio and entertainment systems and the like. With the new touchscreen, Hyundai has also brought Apple’s CarPlay and Android’s Auto, as well as satellite-based nav. While the ultimate marketing plans are unknown, it is entirely possible that base levels of the i10 will retain the more primitive button access system, while more expensive models will get the touchscreen.
There have been few changes under the hood. The choice of powerplants remains the same, either a 1.0-liter three-cylinder or a 1.2-liter four. There are two transmissions available a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic.
The central question remaining at the end of the day is: will the heavily revamped i10 make it to U.S. dealerships? For the moment, the answer seems to be still: it’s unlikely. However, given the unpredictability of the auto business, even that answer might be subject to change.