The year 2020 is going to be a busy one for Hyundai in India. Some big ticket launches are on the anvil including a few at the Auto Expo this coming week. But even before that the Korean car maker has fired its first salvo by launching their new compact sedan the Aura in the market. The Aura replaces the Xcent which couldn’t achieve the kind of success some its rivals have in this very competitive segment. Based on the recently launched Grand i10 Nios the compact sedan has been launched at a starting price of Rs 5.8 lacs (ex-showroom). India’s cleanest city for 3 years in row, Indore played host as we got behind the wheels of the latest Hyundai for the first time.

Looks
Hyundai says the Aura is a fresh interpretation of its signature design language of “Sensuous Sportiness”. The front is very similar to the Nios except that it gets twin boomerang daytime running lamps integrated with satin front grille. Projector type head lamps, fog lamps and the stylish Z-shaped LED tail lamps lend a sporty stance to the car. However, it is the rear with its coupe like styling that has got the opinion divided. The integration of the boot in a hatch to make it a good looking sedan is always a challenge in this sub 4 metre space and the curved shape of Nios’ doors has made the rear look quirky. Your choice of colour will largely determine how many heads turn to look at the Aura, we say go for the darker ones where the blacked out pillar looks much better integrated. The 15” diamond cut alloy wheels support the car well in its stance and the rear with oddly shaped LED tail lamps connected by a chrome strip again makes for a unique design.

The dash gets a unique bronze finish with honeycomb pattern to give a premium appeal.

Interiors
The cabin is feature rich to say the least. There are many segment first features here including a wireless charger and a driver rear view monitor which means even in a forward gear you can see what’s behind you on the infotainment screen. The 8” screen is integrated well with the instrument cluster and is compatible with Apple carplay and Android Auto. The dash gets a unique bronze finish with honeycomb pattern to give a premium appeal. There’s also an Arkamys sound system and Hyundai blue link app that offers a host of connectivity options. The grey seats look fresh and are big enough to give comfort to plus sizes. The second row is good on leg room, head room and shoulder room. Features like a centre arm rest, adjustable headrests and rear AC vents make it an inviting place to be in. A special mention of the black seats with red stitching on the Turbo package which enhance the sporty quotient a great deal.

Engine
Keeping in tune with the times all the 3 engines on the Aura are BS6 compliant. To enhance the fun to drive quotient the 1.0 litre turbo petrol seen on the very successful Venue is present here too. However, at 100 PS it is not as powerful and also misses out on an automatic option. The 1.2 litre petrol and 1.2 litre diesel engines both come with manual as well as AMT variants. The former churns out 83 PS and latter a maximum power of 75 PS. The good thing is that all 3 engines have clearly defined roles. If you want to have a fun drive go for the Turbo but if your priority is convenience plus fuel efficiency go for either of the remaining engines depending on how much you drive every day. For the record the Hyundai claims a mileage of 20 kmpl on the petrol engines and a very impressive 25 kmpl on the diesel. There’s also a CNG variant on offer which gives the maximum mileage but has the least power.

Ride & Handling
The ride quality on the Aura sets a new benchmark in the segment. Stiffness of the suspension spring has been increased to give you a more comfortable ride. The coupe like roofline along with compact dimension has also made the car more aerodynamic than before. Owing to a higher capacity motor the steering responds faster than what you would otherwise imagine. Use of high strength steel has made the structure more robust and safer despite being light in weight. More notable attributes worth mentioning are big glass areas around the driver for increased visibility and impressive NVH levels which keep the cabin a largely silent place.

Verdict
The Hyundai Aura has certainly got what it takes to take on its more fancied rivals like the Maruti Suzuki Dzire and the Honda Amaze. The single biggest factor while choosing a car in this segment is style and that makes the Aura look really fresh. The feature list as usual is long and the cost of Diesel despite the BS6 conversion has also gone up only marginally. Lastly Hyundai’s innovative flexible warranty scheme will certainly also work in the car’s favour. Depending on how much you drive choose between 3 Years/100,000 kms or 4 Years /50,000 kms or 5 Years /40,000 kms along with Road-Side Assistance.

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