Is Hyundai's newest hatch its best yet? We find out.
What is it?
The new hatch from Hyundai and possibly one of their best yet. This is the Hyundai Grand i10, while the name sounds familiar this is an all new car slotted between the i10 and i20. It is bigger than the i10 and is more i20 sized while crucially having a diesel engine along with a petrol. Hyundai has also tweaked the car to suit our needs and wants.
How does it look?
Pleasant is the word we would use here as this new Hyundai pleases everyone with its styling. It is not overly futuristic or curvacious like the Hyundai Elantra or even the i20 but has a graceful air about it. In the flesh it looks quite big and with an overall length of 3765 mm it seems to have some presence. The styling is of course centered around the fluidic design philosophy but a lot more restrained.
We love the large swept back headlights connected to the single slot grille and the lower hexagonal grille while the diamond cut alloys looks really good. As said earlier Hyundai have tweaked the Grand i10 for our market and thus it has a longer wheelbase for more space so at the side to reduce the visual bulk the top-end models have black cladding.
Move to the rear and it is a more rounded design though again we like those superb looking tail-lamps. When it comes to build quality it is also quite impressive as everything looks and feels solid. The Grand i10 colour range includes eight options.
How is it on the inside?
Get inside and you feel like you are sitting in a much more expensive car than it really is. The cabin quality is easily class best and it has an airy feel to it. The design is not overly futuristic instead it is easy to use and simple- just like it should always be. There is a nice use of beige and black all over which gives the interior a classy feel.
Hyundai has increased space and that means space at the back is good whith enough headroom and legroom. Passengers at the back do not feel claustrophobic and with front seat adjusted to a 6ft tall driver, an equally tall passenger can sit at the back. There are plenty of storage spaces and the boot also has decent capacity.
What about features?
Being a Hyundai the overfllowing equipment list is no suprise but again they have taken a notch above by adding new features into the mix. We tested the top-end variant which shames some other cars costing twice as much! In the top-end Astra variant you get keyless entry, reverse parking sensors, push button start, 1GB internal memory, steering mounted controls, cooled glove box, 2-DIN Integrated Radio+CD+MP3 Player, Aux-in & USB Ports, Bluetooth and rear AC vents, phew! The audio system sounds good and the large buttons on the steering wheel are nice to use.
How does it drive?
We tested the diesel version and the Grand i10 has a 1.1 U2 CRDi diesel engine making 70 bhp. This is a three cylinder engine and you might be thinking that it will be low on refinement and will have lots of turbo-lag- you are wrong! The Grand i10 diesel may not be as smooth as the i20 diesel but refinement is pretty good. What impresses you the most is the relative lack of turbo-lag present as in the city, performance is smooth and you do not have to downshift that much.
The Grand i10 diesel only has a 5-speed manual which is a peach to use as the shift action is nice plus the clutch is light which makes it brilliant for city use. The steering is also very light which makes tackling the urban jungle effortless. Get onto the highway and the engine does feel strained at high rpms and runs out of breath plus the light steering which is a boon in the city is a bit of a disadvantage here. Overall this car feels at its best while cruising.
It must be fuel efficient?
You bet. The official ARAI figure of the Grand i10 diesel stands at 24 kmpl which makes it one of the most efficient cars in its class. During our drive combining city and highway use we got 16-17 kmpl which is impressive.
How does it score in the ride and handling department?
It handles much better than the i10 and we have to say even betters the i20. Dynamically this is the best sorted Hyundai small car and along with a decent ride, it feels planted when doing big speeds. The stability is much better and gives you confidence plus special mention must go to the brakes with ABS which has terrific stopping power. There is also neglible body roll and during our hard cornering test, it did not even break into a sweat.
Which variant to buy?
There are four trim levels available on the Grand i10 and the top variant features all the bells and whistles that we have listed earlier. There are some optional features like ABS, airbags which should not have been optional in the first place. Still with a startig price of Rs 4.3 lakh for the petrol and around Rs 5.2 lakh for the diesel, the Grand is value for money. The top of the line variant with the optional features is Rs 6.5 lakh. All prices ex-showroom Delhi.
So should I buy one?
If you want a spacious, efficient diesel hatch with quality interiors, good looks then look no further as the Grand i10 is surely one of the best Hyundai products in recent times. The reason is simple as it combines the traditional Hyundai strengths and adds a diesel engine which ups its desirability quotient. No wonder then that it is selling like hot cakes...
Words- Somnath Chatterjee Photography- Rajeev Bhendwal