The past three months have been depressing to say the least for Indian automobile sector when it comes to sales of new cars. The only cars that seem to be doing well are some of the new launches like the Kia Seltos and the MG Hector. Aping the formula many other automakers have also gone on a launching spree and one amongst them is India’s second largest car maker Hyundai which has launched the third generation of the i10 hatchback in the market. Known as the Grand i10 in its previous avatar the latest iteration gets the suffix NIOS added to it. We were recently in Udaipur to get behind the wheels of the latest from the Korean car maker to hit the market.
The NIOS follows the Hyundai Design Identity called “Sensuous Sportiness”. The four elements that form this are Proportion, Architecture, Styling and Technology. The signature cascading grille gets a glossy black finish but the highlight are the boomerang shaped LED DRLs that are integrated very nicely into the grille. Projector headlamps and chrome surrounded projector fog lamps also add to the sporty quotient up front. The profile gets integrated roof rails, chrome on door handles and 15” diamond cut alloys. The hatch also gets a unique G-i10 Branding on C-Pillar. A first-in-segment chrome garnish along with skid plates makes for a sporty rear. The wider rear windshield glass makes this new Grand i10 a more practical car than before.
You will find some more segment first features inside the cabin of the NIOS. These include a wireless phone charger, rear AC vents and eco-coating technology that prevents unpleasant smell to develop in the AC Evaporator. The cabin also gets a segment best 20.25 cm touch screen infotainment system that works with Android Auto, Apple Car Play and also gets voice recognition. An Arkamys sound system comes with 4 modes—Natural, Live, Lounge and Club. The 13 cm digital speedometer and cluster with multi information display looks quite modern and also provides useful information. The quality of material may not be the best in segment but the layout is pretty neat. Premium Seat Upholstery and Wavy Pattern on the dash make for a pleasant experience. The second row provides for great thigh support and you can be in absolute comfort there. In fact Hyundai says the rear head room, leg room and the shoulder room of the NIOS is better than the Maruti Swift, its main rival.
As is the case with most Hyundai cars engine and gearbox options galore on the Grand i10 NIOS. There are both petrol and diesel options and both get manual and AMT variants. In fact the 1.2 litre 83 PS petrol mill is BS-VI compliant as well. The company says both the manual and AMT variants will give you over 20 kmpl on the petrol variant. But that is inferior looking at the 1.2 litre 75 PS diesel which promises an efficiency of 26.2 kmpl. The good thing is both these engines are able to handle the weight of the car and its occupants pretty well and there’s enough torque available at almost all rpm’s to give you an enjoyable drive. The gearshift is slick and there’s isn’t too much to complain about that. The NVH levels on the Diesel though can do with some improvements.
Ride & Handling
A significant change that has taken place on this new generation is that the suspension is more capable of taking on the challenges thrown by the bad roads. A McPherson strut type on the front and a coupled torsion beam axle with vertical shock absorber minimise shock rebound providing a comfortable and stable ride. The car generally feels more balanced than before. Body roll too is negligible which means the hatch corners with confidence. The design elements ensure good aerodynamics and the responsive steering wheel too plays its part in giving a peppy drive. The car also meets the future pedestrian safety regulations. A lower stiffener is applied to front crash beam to improve on the pedestrian safety. And of course a rear parking camera is there as well.
Hyundai has a knack of giving the consumer good practical cars for the city and the new Grand i10 NIOS is another impressive addition to the list. It’s a car that scores well when it comes to drivability and features and this time the price also doesn’t seem very ambitious. The car starts at Rs 4.99 lacs (ex-showroom) for the base manual Petrol and goes up to Rs 7.99 lacs (ex-showroom) for the top diesel trim. The advantage here is that when compared to the Swift the NIOS is more affordable. And a unique variable warranty program might also work in its favour. In this program you can choose between 3 Years/100,000 kms or 4 Years /50,000 kms or 5 Years /40,000 kms along with Road-Side Assistance.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars