Hyundai Grand i10 Nios First Drive Review: Better than the Maruti Swift or not?

Overall rating: 4.5

Does the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios get what it takes to take the fight to the Swift and what are its pros and cons? Read on to find out.

By: | Published: August 29, 2019 6:15 PM

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Hyundai has been on a product offensive this year with the new Santro, Venue and the Kona electric SUV and now it's time for the all-new third-generation Grand i10 Nios. The Hyundai Grand i10 Nios has been launched at a time when the entire industry is struggling to gather volumes. Now the Venue with its huge success has already proven that a good product can find buyers even in tough times so things do look positive for the Grand i10 Nios. However, the biggest challenge the Nios will need to overcome is the Maruti Suzuki Swift, which not only rules its segment but is also one of India's highest-selling cars. So has the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios got what it takes to take the fight to the Swift and what are its pros and cons? Read on to find out.

Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Design and Exterior

Now to start off with the design of the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios, it is quite a nice looking car to look at. The aesthetics of this compact hatchback bear a sharp appeal. At the front, there's the signature Hyundai grille, which gives it the Hyundai family resemblance. The headlamps are all new and come with a sharp design. The hood has a lot of creases which gives the front end of the car a dynamic look. And of course, you have the boomerang-shaped LED DRLs placed inside the front grille.

The design and placement of these are quite different from what we see on other hatchbacks in the segment which are generally integrated with the headlamps. The side profile of the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios continues with a sharp and dynamic design. The 15-inch alloy wheels on the Nios looks striking and lend a handsome appearance to the car.

As you move across to the rear of the Nios, once again you see a lot of action in terms of bold character lines and you can see that the designers have made an attempt to make the car look wider. In addition, the sharp profile of the bumper goes well along with the overall design and proportions of the car. Overall, the Nios comes across as a youthful and premium hatchback.

Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Features and Interior

Once you are inside the cabin of the Grand i10 Nios, the first thing that one will notice is that the entirely new design. The honeycomb finish on the dashboard looks premium. In addition, the material quality is nice and helps create a premium aura for the cabin. There are plenty of cubby holes on offer in order to store small items. The steering wheel feels nice and chunky to hold and comes with audio and telephone controls. The instrument cluster is all-new and sports a combination of digital and analogue displays. The digital screen gives you a wide array of information ranging from the odometer, trip meter, speed, time, outside temperature, average speed, fuel-gauge, distance to empty among others. The tachometer is analogue and offers an easy read-out.

There is an 8-inch touchscreen screen which is the largest in the segment so that's a big bonus. Of course, you get Android Auto and Apple Car Play connectivity with it. The screen itself has a nice user interface and is quite easy to use as the touch response is very good. In addition, you get a wireless charging pad, which is a first in the segment. There are two USB charging slots with one providing fast-charging support.

Moving on to comfort, the seats are very nice and the support is impressive along with ample cushioning. Even those with a larger body frame should find these seats welcoming. The Hyundai Grand i10 Nios offers two options for the upholstery colour scheme, giving the owner some form of customization. This car is larger than the older Grand i10, so you do get more space than that. However, the Maruti Suzuki Swift, which is its key competitor, is longer, wider and slightly taller than the Grand i10 Nios. Hence, one might expect that the Nios is smaller in terms of space, however, that's not the case because, the Nios offers more legroom, shoulder room and headroom than the Swift.

Furthermore, the rear seat backrest angle is quite nice and hence it gives you a comfortable seating position. One of the best things about the rear seats of the Grand i10 is the amount of work Hyundai has done in order to increase the under-thigh support. The other good thing about the seat is the fact that this is a completely flat seat. The transmission tunnel hump is not very big, allowing comfortable seating for the middle passenger. So overall, from our perspective, the Nios has a fresh and modern cabin and is completely loaded with features, which are precisely what today's buyers want.

Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Engine and Gearbox

The Grand 1i0 Nios is powered by the tried and tested 1.2-litre, Kappa petrol engine and a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder, CRDi engine. The petrol engine offers a power output of 81 Hp whereas the diesel one gives you a power output of 73 Hp. Talking about the drivability, the petrol engine is quite a peppy one and has enough power to move the vehicle at a brisk pace. Even if you are driving on the highway and you need to make overtaking manoeuvres you'll have sufficient power on tap.

On the gearbox front, you get the option to choose from a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 5-speed AMT. Now the best thing about the packaging in the Nios is that you can opt for the AMT, in petrol as well as diesel. In terms of gearbox operation, the 5-speed manual works flawlessly, the gear ratios are well-matched to the engine, the throws are short and it slots in very nicely so you can have a bit of fun while driving. In comparison, the 5-speed AMT works better with the petrol in comparison to the diesel. And like an AMT is, it does not give you quick shifts as a torque converter unit would. But it does its job and will effortlessly help you navigate through traffic as that is what most of the buyers, especially in the urban market demand today. So on those parameters, the car does deliver quite well.

In terms of NVH levels, major work has been done inside the car and as a result of that, a lot of noises are filtered out from the cabin and that just adds to the premium feel. On the handling front, the Grand i10 Nios offers a neutral experience and hence it's predictable. The car goes where you want it to go. Straight-line stability is impressive, which allows you to maintain triple-digit speeds comfortably.

Even when braking from higher speeds, the car does not veer off from its line. All that said, in the end, the Hyundai Grand i10 is still not an enthusiasts car. It is not a car that you would want to drive for fun or attacking corners. The steering is light, making it good for traffic usage but when driving at high-speeds, it lacks feedback and while it weighs up it feels artificial. That said, the car is perfectly fine for your daily errands or occasional highway runs and this is where largest section of buyers in this segment lies. So in that respect, Hyundai has been able to check all the right boxes.

Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Safety

One other area where Hyundai has always been strong is safety. Taking that forward, the Grand i10 Nios is at par with the competition in this regard as well. So, you get dual-front airbags, ABS with EBD, a reverse parking camera, rear parking sensors, driver and passenger seat belt warning along with the high-speed alert system as standard across the range. Furthermore, Hyundai has used high-strength steel in the construction of Grand i10 Nios which ic claimed to make the passenger compartment safer.

Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Verdict

The Hyundai Grand i10 Nios is a vastly improved package over the Grand i10. It is truly a competitive car in its own segment and comes with a fresh take on design. It also offers a new set of features with a lot of them being segment firsts. The cabin is spacious and has good safety features as well. With these two engines, manual and AMT gearboxes the car is good to drive and will appeal to a wide segment of buyers. However, for any buyer what matters the most is the price. Fortunately, the car has been priced quite competitively between the price range of Rs 4.99 lakh to Rs 7.99 lakh. Now, this is a competitive price range for a car of this segment but it has to go up against the Maruti Suzuki Swift. Good thing is that Hyundai has managed to undercut the prices of Swift across variants.

The Hyundai Grand i10 Nios base petrol variant is about Rs 15,000 less expensive than the Swift while the petrol top-end is Rs 39,000 lesser than that of the Swift. The base diesel variant of the Grand i10 Nios is inexpensive by Rs 33,000 than the Swift while the diesel top-end is Rs 45,000 lighter on the wallet than the Swift. Now at these prices, what you get is a truly fantastic package in the form of the Grand i10 Nios. Yes, one can debate that it isn't as fun-to-drive as the Swift and that is true as well but for a larger section of buyers, who prefer practicality, features, daily comfort, the Grand i10 Nios does manage to set a new benchmark in its segment.

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