The already-strong Hyundai i10 gets a further boost with the Kappa 2 engine

The i10 feels much better than earlier, thanks to a host of upgrades and a brilliant engine.

Hyundai has done much more than just a minor facelift on the new i10. It has not only given this popular hatch a new face but has also upgraded the engine for more power and refinement. The Kappa 2 feels leaps ahead in terms of technology.

The key difference here is the variable valve timing which has given the 1.2-litre Kappa bigger lungs. The upgraded engine produces the same 79bhp at 6000rpm and 11.4kgm at 4000rpm, which means it should feel the same, but a short stint behind the wheel changed our mind. The VTVT system makes the Kappa2 feel more powerful than it actually is — almost like a 1.6-litre motor. The i10 now jumps off the blocks with just an inch of throttle travel and the Kappa2 revs happily till its 6700rpm redline. The Kappa2 is a delight to drive not only in the city but also on the highway. It's a whole lot more refined than the old Kappa motor as well. Where the Kappa motor would feel strained past 4500rpm, version 2 feels noticeably smoother. That said it doesn't pull as cleanly to the top as, say, the Swift's 1.2 K-series motor. The Kappa2 obliterates the 0-100kph set by the Kappa motor, reaching the mark almost a second quicker — a good indicator of how fast this car really is.

In-gear acceleration is hugely improved as well, with the new i10 taking 14.09sec for 20-80kph and 23.22sec for 40-100kph, the tweaked gear ratios and the engine's new-found responsiveness helping here.

In tune with the step-up in performance are the aggressive looks. The smiling front has gone under the knife and it now looks more mature. The larger hexagonal grille mimics Hyundai's family look, the new headlamps look classy and the front bumper now houses a larger air dam. The outside rearview mirrors on the top-end variant come with integrated turn indicators and body coloured mouldings. The rear bumper too comes with a body coloured rub strip as compared to the black-coloured one on the old i10. The re-sculpted rear bumper also gets reflectors and parking sensors. The tail lamps are more angular now as Hyundai has shed the earlier car's rounded styling.

Interiors get a two-tone finish from the earlier all-beige design. The dash now sports a dark grey colour and, thanks to the darker shade, it no longer reflects in the front windscreen on sunny days. Otherwise, the design and layout of the cabin are similar to the outgoing car. We like the way the interiors are still airy, comfortable, well detailed and solidly built. Things like the silver finish on the centre console, top-notch switchgear and precise fit of plastic parts deliver a feel-good factor you wouldn't expect in this segment. Front seat comfort is good, with good overall support. The rear seat is just right too.

The tall 80 profile tyres are carried over onto this car as well, and bump absorption and ride quality are decent. Large craters do cause some crashing and it does get quite choppy over high speed bumps but otherwise most road irregularities are dealt with silently.

The overall stance, the positive feel from the electric steering system, and the confidence with which the i10 Kappa2 handles and corners also means that you can really enjoy driving this car. There is a small drawback though, the 155 section tyres are too narrow and the extra performance of the Kappa 2 engine demands more grip.

The best part is the economy figures of the Kappa 2. We got an identical 11.7kpl and 16kpl for the city and highway respectively. These figures are very impressive considering the amount of power on tap.