The made-in-Chennai Hyundai Grand i10, built on a longer wheelbase for India, appears to have most things Indian car buyers are currently looking for
Haven’t car launches become like movie releases? Just like the first three days decide the fate of a movie—of course, the content too matters—car companies now bank heavily on the first few days of a new launch when they go on to market their product, complete with advertisements of all sorts and models on display at numerous public points. Not to forget consecutive launches in major cities across the country that also serve as a platform for the company senior management to connect with the dealers—so important in today’s gloomy times.
Wait, why am I talking all this? Reason is that last week when I was invited to Jaipur to drive the new Hyundai Grand i10, I saw the car all over even before I got to feel the real car. Huge billboards on the roads leading to the airport in Delhi; a real car on display at the airport; pop-up ads on my laptop; an ad in the in-flight magazine; and a TV ad as soon as I reached my hotel room in Jaipur! “Grand display,” I must say. But then does this car deserve so much? Is the Grand i10 that good a car, or that important? Read on…
Is it fluidic?
The Grand i10 has been modelled on Hyundai’s now globally-acclaimed design philosophy called the “fluidic sculpture”. But, somehow, the design lines don’t quite appear that well on the Grand i10 as they do on, say, the Verna. Still, this doesn’t mean the Grand isn’t a looker. While on the front there is a large hexagonal grille that is the focal point of the new design, on the sides at the bottom of the doors there is a thick black stylistic plastic moulding that differentiates it from the i10. But it is the back where it scores the most design points—the impressive one being the wraparound tail-lamps that extend deep into the boot lid to give the rear a stylistic touch. You also have a new C pillar and larger rear doors.
What about the cabin?
If the exterior doesn’t appeal you, the interior surely will. The cabin is thoughtfully built and is loaded with features—the design of the two-tone dash is neat and the material used is good quality. Mention must be made here of the non-reflective black plastic used on the dashboard, which is a boon when driving in the sun. Again, the steering wheel is finely detailed and seems from a class above. The cabin has an airy feel to it—big front seats accommodate even the tallest drivers but the best thing is that even when the front seat is pushed back fully, it doesn’t affect the rear legroom much. The rear seats come with good thigh support and seat three comfortably. (Although all controls are well-placed, one that I didn’t quite like was the driver seat height adjuster—with the door closed, there wasn’t must room to operate the handle.) The Asta variant gets cooled glove box, keyless entry and 1GB of onboard storage in the audio system. The boot space, too, is impressive.
What fires it?
While the petrol motor is the same that did the duty on the i10 (1.2 Kappa Dual VTVT), Hyundai has developed a new diesel for the Grand i10—the U2 CRDi DSL engine. It is essentially the same engine that powers the i20 minus one cylinder—the result: a three-cylinder 1,120-cc engine that produces a maximum power of 71ps@4000rpm and a maximum torque of 16.3kgm@1500rpm.
We took the Grand i10 diesel from Jaipur to the uphill Amber Fort and this is how it behaved:
We fired the engine and it produced a slight rumbling sound, signifying a diesel. With all windows closed and the car running at 60 kmph, the sound decreased to an extent. While we were doing 80 kmph on the highway, we expected the light, unconnected steering Hyundais are infamous for. But the Grand behaved differently—the steering was responsive. We pressed the accelerator and were impressed by the way the small diesel touched 100 kmph. While we couldn’t go beyond that, it was apparent that this diesel had a lot of grunt left. Enter the hills. We decelerated to 40 kmph, still in fifth gear. We felt the elevation might force us to downshift—but the car pulled on in fifth. We encountered turns and twists—the car turned willingly into corners. We encountered a straight 10-degree elevation and downshifted to third—the small diesel was almost as eager as on the highway. Verdict 1: It has the right gearing ratios for city driving (twists and turns). Verdict 2: The small engine is quite powerful.
So, how good?
The Grand i10 is high on space, it is high on refinement, and it is decently high on power too. The claimed fuel-efficiency for the diesel is 24 kmpl and for the petrol is 18.9 kmpl. From R4,29,900 for the petrol and from R5,23,700 for the diesel (ex-showroom, Delhi), it is decent value also. What it misses out on is the fact that features such as the ABS and airbags are not offered as standard even on the top-end Asta version (you have to pay extra for these). But, built on a longer wheelbase for India, it does seem to have a lot of things Indian car buyers are looking for. And, most importantly, it also has in it the youthfulness and the energy to somewhat recharge the gloomy automobile market. Now onto the festive season…