Hyundai Aura Test Drive Review: Worst Nightmare of Maruti Suzuki Dzire

The new Hyundai Aura has been launched at a competitive price range. With new and multiple segment-first features and extensive engine and gearbox options, the Aura presents a strong threat to the Maruti Suzuki Dzire's segment leadership. We drove the car in Indore to find out if the Hyundai Aura can topple off the existing king.

By:Updated: January 28, 2020 12:46:11 PM

Ever since the sub-compact sedan segment was created, the single largest contribution of this segment to the Indian automotive sector has been ugly, disproportionate and horrible looking cars. It is a designer’s nightmare to fit a sedan into under four meters so obviously, there have been terrible looking cars historically. But more than 70 per cent of sales of the sedan segment in India come from this segment so naturally, it is a popular segment and more and more manufacturers are trying to get into it and now there is a new kid on the block, the Hyundai Aura.

Hyundai Aura – Exteriors

Well, if you think that the Aura is just an extended version of the Grand i10 Nios, you are not wrong but there are some differences. The design of the grille is slightly different and the turbo variant gets one with a black outline that makes it look good and sporty. In case you opt for the 1.2 petrol or diesel, you get a metallic finish so that is in line with the premium positioning of the car. While you get a single boomerang LED DRL on the Nios, you get two of them on the Aura.

Talking of the side profile, this is where the car gets really different. To start with, you get fantastic-looking 15-inch alloy wheels. The car gets a very good coupe roofline that tapers off right after the B-pillar and goes up till the boot. The C-pillar has been blacked out and Hyundai claims that it is a premium feature. However, I personally would prefer it to be in body colour as it looks like a bit aftermarket. But as they say, design is subjective.

The car gets a brand new looking rear with good looking tail lamps and the boot also gets a good character line. The only thing that I would have changed is the stripe that connects the two tail lamps as I feel it is a bit overdone. However, I feel that most of the buyers will appreciate it. So, overall, the Hyundai Aura does come across as a dynamic and good looking sub-compact sedan.

Hyundai Aura – Interiors

The aura inside the cabin of the Hyundai Aura is quite pleasant. Since it is an extended version of the Grand i10 Nios, you can see a lot of similarities and the differences lie in the fact that you get a dashboard, which gets grey finish on the turbo petrol variant. On the other hand, if you opt for any other petrol or diesel variants, this central part will be in bronze finish.

Moreover, on the turbo petrol variant, you get air-cons with red inserts that give a sporty character. On the other variants, you get silver accents which are more in line with the premium positioning of the car. There’s a familiar touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay connectivity. The touch response is good, the interface is simple, which is again similar to that of the Grand i10 Nios.

The instrument cluster comes with an analogue rev counter along with a digital display that gives you a lot of information right from the speedometer to trip meters and a lot more. The segment-first feature in this car is the wireless charging pad that supports fast charging. You also get 2 USB charging points, one of which is again in compliance with fast charging. Beyond that, it is a premium-looking interior, the materials look good, the build quality is nice and it is a pleasant place to be in.

When it comes to seats, the Hyundai Aura scores well. These are nice and well-cushioned seats and offer good all-round support. The turbo variant gets black seats with red stitching and looks sporty as well. On the other hand, if you opt for any other petrol or diesel variant, you will get grey seats. Talking of the rear seats of the Aura, these are also a comfortable place to be in. With the driver’s seat adjusted to my preference, the rear seats offered good legroom and I also have the luxury of an almost flat floor so I can easily slide my feet underneath the front seat. Headroom is also good despite the sloping roofline and most people will not have problems with it.

The seat is quite nice as it gets a good backrest angle, the cushioning is good and the under-thigh support is quite nice as well. You also get a centre armrest with two beverage holders. One advantage with the rear seats is that the headrest here is adjustable, unlike the front where it is fixed.

At the rear, you also get air conditioning vents and a 12V power outlet. Hence, the overall cabin experience inside the Aura is quite pleasant. It is modern, loaded with features, has decent space and leaves a smile on your face.

Hyundai Aura – Engine specs, transmission and performance

 


When it comes to powertrain options, Hyundai has pretty much packed in almost everything it could. So what you get is a 1.2-litre petrol engine along with a 1.2-litre brand new diesel engine which is BS6 compliant and there’s also a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Not only this, you get a factory-fitted CNG option as well with the Aura. You can get the 1.2-litre petrol and the diesel engines with either a five-speed manual or a five-speed AMT.

The 1.0-litre turbocharged engine, however, comes with a five-speed manual gearbox only and is the star of the engine line up. If you are wondering how many people are going to buy a powerful and expensive turbocharged engine, an interesting fact is that the Venue with this turbocharged engine accounts for around 46 percent of the sales for the entire Venue line up.

Now coming to the engine specs of this engine, this one develops 100hp of power along with 170Nm of torque which is enough to move this car at a brisk pace. When you cross 1,700 rpm, the turbo comes into its element and that is when you get a strong dollop of acceleration. It might sound surprising but this is a petrol Hyundai that is fun to drive. The other good thing about this engine is the NVH levels and since this is a petrol engine, NVH is not much of a problem and being a three-cylinder, this is good on the NVH scale. However, when it is on idle, you can hear some noise and feel some vibrations but once you get moving in and once the turbo is into play, that is when things smooth out. The gearbox is a five-speed manual that is matched nicely to the engine. The ratios are good and it is a gearbox that complements the engine performance and you can actually push this car and have a lot of fun.

The other variant that we drove is the 1.2-litre diesel which is a good engine for your daily runabouts and city commutes. It gets 74 hp of power and 190 Nm of torque which is again more than enough to move the car at a decent pace. You have a good option of an AMT as well apart from a five-speed manual gearbox. It is an in house developed AMT, works well and is good for your commutes within the city and serves the purpose well. So in terms of powertrain and driving performance, Hyundai has certainly hit the sweet spot with the Aura.

Hyundai Aura – Ride Quality and Handling

Handling has historically been a sour point for Hyundai in the past but off late, Hyundai has worked a lot and improved in this area. Same is the case with Aura and while you have an engine that wants to be pushed hard, it also has a suspension and chassis that complements it. That said, you can push the Aura to a certain extent around the corners without it showing signs of any complaints. There is not much of a body roll and straight-line stability is also almost perfect. However, you will have to keep in mind that it is not an outright performance car and hence, if you push it to the limits, then obviously you will start to see some shortcomings.

The ride quality is quite nice and the undulations are filtered out well. The suspension does a good job of tackling them so you do get a good balance between handling and comfort and that’s what precisely the customer in this segment asks for. One segment-first feature on the Hyundai Aura is the driver rear-view monitor and even when you are driving forward, you can view the rear-view monitor to have a look at what is behind you and this can be helpful in certain situations.

One important aspect for the buyer in the sub-compact sedan segment is the boot and the Aura gives you good boot space, 402 litres to be precise. The layout is nice and the loading lip is not too high so it is a good, accessible and a spacious boot that you can effectively use for your weekend trips as well.

Hyundai Aura – India Price and Verdict

As far as prices are concerned, Hyundai has done a really good job with the Aura. The car is priced competitively and you can find the variant wise pricing below. If you compare the Aura with the competition, Hyundai has an advantage here as this car offers you more features, some of which are segment firsts but still at a competitive price. We believe that this car will go on to beat the Maruti Suzuki Dzire and take the segment sales leadership which is what Hyundai aims for. The simple reason for is that Hyundai has a new 1.2-litre diesel engine and diesel accounts for about 40 per cent of sales in this segment and Maruti Suzuki is exiting diesel engines with the oncoming BS6 emissions norms. So with that chunk of sales gone, it is Hyundai that stands to benefit and the car is good, it is priced competitively, it has got great features and it is pretty much timed perfectly as well.

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