Hyundai launched the i10 in 2007, and it managed to rack up decent sales figures. To keep buyers interested, Hyundai refreshed the i10 with Kappa engines and also added an automatic variant. While recently the Korean manufacturer has unleashed its `fluidic` design on the Verna, Elantra, i20 as well as the Eon, the i10 has also received the design expression finally. It’s very easy to call it an i10 facelift, but let the i10 suffix not lead you into thinking it’s a mere upgrade. The Grand i10 is a totally new car in itself, and Hyundai has not only retained the i10`s strengths but also improved an already strong product by leaps and bounds. Hyundai has taken this opportunity to introduce the U2 1.1l 3 cylinder diesel engine as well. But for now we will focus only on the 1.2 liter petrol variant.
Images: Amit Chhangani and Hanoz Patel
Design and visuals
If we were handed the christening duties, we would be happy to name this as the Grand i15, purely for its perceptibly bigger size. One glance at this smart looking hatch is enough to assert the infusion of the `fluidic` treatment Hyundai has given the Grand i10. This design is impressively European, unlike the more Eastern-influenced i10. Well no wonder, since the i10 in its latest avatar is designed by Hyundai European design centre in Germany and the one launched in India has been tweaked for India! The result is what we see is a slightly conservative or toned down design in comparison to the more `fluidic` European version. The car`s dimensions have changed as well, 100mm longer,65mm wider and also 30mm shorter altogether lending it a squatted stance. The wheelbase has been stretched by 40mm too which remains the key reason for the roomier cabin. The new design is a departure from the earlier `tallboy` version, the Grand i10 looks smart indeed.
The contemporary design is a clear phase shift and considering the overall package (interior, quality, engine et al) justifies the `Grand` prefix. It is easy to draw parallels with the other `fluidic` Hyundai cars, however, the Grand i10 manages to create its own identity by being subtly fluidic. The swept back angular headlamps are pulled all the way back into the creased engine hood with a hint of clamshell design. While the radiator grill itself is slim and separated by a chrome strip, the hexagonal air-dam below takes prominence here. The horizontal slats include a thick slat finished in matt black doubling up in receiving the license plate. The oversized triangular-ish fog lamp surrounds are finished in black whereas the fog lamps themselves receive chrome ring surrounds adding some more bling.
Hyundai`s designers haven`t made any complex creases or additions to the side profile of the Grand` apart from a single crease along the waistline which continues into the tail lamps which sport a wraparound look as well. The pull-type door handles look too blingy and garish in chrome effect (especially on the wine red colour we received for test). In our opinion, body coloured handles would have worked better. The diamond cut alloy rims are finished in two-tones of polished chrome and bronze and enhance the overall looks of the car. The Asta trim gets large side rub strips, which could have been a bit slimmer as per our taste. Like the i10, the Grand`s sports a dipping roofline ending in a neat spoiler with integrated stop lamp (not LED though) and washer. The Grand also comes with sporty looking roof rails, which means mounting of carriers a relatively simple task. The way the waist-line rises into the C pillar is the distinguishing factor between the Indian and the European versions of the Grand i10.
The cool looking clear lens tail lamps extend into the C pillar, giving it a wraparound profile while also wedging into the boot lid. The tailgate bulges out and exudes a smooth rounded profile to the rear of the car unlike the angular front. The italicized Hyundai logo sits in the centre with an electric boot release button underneath, whereas the bumpers sport a pair of large reflectors akin to the foglamps at the front. While aiding safety, we feel they are a wee bit oversized for the car. The parking sensors integrated in the bumper are not body coloured (cost cutting?) and remain an eyesore spoiling the otherwise well-designed rear. The overall fit and finish including the shut lines are right up there amongst the best, which speaks volumes about the build quality.
Interiors and cabin comfort
Step inside and anyone who is familiar with an i10 will easily relate to the minor similarities with the earlier car.
To be specific, placement of certain parts, the logic behind their arrangement is easy to relate to. For instance, the USB slot, the 12v power outlet, the twin central cup holders and some other bits are reminiscent of the smaller i10. Make no mistake, the interiors are all new, however, the engineers at Hyundai have identified and retained some of the very useful and functional bits in the new Grand i10.
The dashboard predominantly has been given the now so standard two-tone treatment with matt black and dark beige (rather mushroom shade) which help in defining the surfaces and their textures. The grain textured plastics are of good quality and also feel well put together. The air con vents are all circular now however can’t be completely shut off, and are placed on either side of the high mounted audio system.
Blue yet again remains the colour of choice wherever electronics are concerned and look cool. All the key functions (Mode/Scan/Phone etc.) of the OEM audio system are big enough for convenience and easy to reach as well as operate. Bluetooth connectivity means you can pair your smartphone easily. With 1GB of internal memory, the audio system can pair and store data from up to 5 devices. Speed sensitive volume control is a great feature and works flawlessly. Even though the sound quality is decent by factory standards, the front speakers sound more powerful than the rear.
As earlier, the high mounted audio with the air-con vent`s smart placement frees up enough space despite having big rotary control knobs. The 12v power outlet and the AUX in and USB slot easily reminds one of the first generations i10 due to their placement. A small but immensely practical cubicle ahead of the gear lever serves the perfect place to stow away your wallet and maybe smartphone if it is being charged via USB/12v outlet. The gear lever positioning has moved a bit away from the dashboard than the earlier version, however, remains a joy to operate. The leather-wrapped lever also gets beige surround console which leads back into the twin cup holders. These cup holders can accommodate a litre and a 500ml bottle each as well! A small recessed cubby next to the handbrake lever is where the smart key fob of the car remained for the major part during this test.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted controls for audio and telephony (Asta trim) remains one of the high-quality parts on the Grandi10. There hardly are any hatchbacks which sport this level of quality on this side of 10 lakh price tag. The big buttons for volume, track, answering/ending calls and trip meter etc. functions take up space for themselves, as a result making the horn pad a bit of a stretch for the thumb. It’s easy to nudge the buttons unintentionally until you quickly get used to their positioning.
Hyundai has provided tilt adjustability on the steering wheel (Sportz and Asta trim), making it easier for drivers of all heights to tweak it to their preference of driving position. The instrument panel on Grand again continues with the Hyundai favourite “blue” theme with easy to read brightly lit analogue display. The Multi-information Display (MID) offers a host of information like the twin trip meters, average speed, engine running time as well as optimum gear shift indicator (as in the i10). The engine running time can be reset (defeats its purpose for service guys), and we fail to understand its inclusion in the first place with barely any value addition to the car owner. The gear shift indicator `silently` suggests upshifts above 2200 rpm and downshift if the revs fall under 1500 rpm to aid fuel efficiency. Surprisingly, Hyundai has decided to do away with any sort of fuel economy revealing readouts. The Grand i10 skips instantaneous fuel consumption, distance to empty (sorely missed) and average fuel consumption displays altogether!
Since the car uses a smart key for `boot up`, the engine start-stop button (Sportz and Asta trims) takes up the ignition key duties here. Press the button and the car goes into ignition mode displaying all the tell-tale lights, depress the clutch and press the button again to fire up the engine. The engine start/stop button hasn`t been placed in the actual line of sight, hence starting and shutting the engine off means finger guesswork to locate the button. The large door pads carry full-size bottle holders and enough space for any more small items that you may want to chuck in. While the power window, central locking and power mirror (may we call them?) switches are neatly stacked together, the bulky door pads intrude while accessing the seat height lever with the doors shut.
Speaking of the seats, they offer decent support at the right places, however, plus-sized occupants would love it if the seats were wider. Most of the averagely sized drivers will more often than not be using the seat with its tallest height setting, anything lower should be left for taller (5`10“ +) drivers, but adjustable head restraints remains an omission. The seat also offers decent travel without cramping the rear passengers even when pushed all the way back, clever internal packaging and the longer wheelbase clearly helping in this department. With cooled glove box, Hyundai offers this as a segment first feature however misses out on the more common feature – the climate control. All said, the quality of materials used, and the overall fit and finish are top notch. Surprisingly even the in the Asta (O) trim, Hyundai has skipped the leather seats only offer dark coloured seats with light beige centre panel.
The rear passengers are pampered with good space as well as the luxury of an AC vent (a segment first). The rear, like most of the hatchbacks (Indica Vista excluded), is best suited for 2; middle passenger gets step-motherly treatment with respect to space; that said, it is not cramped by any means. The AC vents have directional settings and can also be turned off, while the console carries the second 12v power outlet for your smart devices. The seats themselves offer impressive legroom and with adjustable head restraints (fixed for centre passenger) rear passengers will have little to complain about apart from lack of enough thigh support. Let the sloping roofline not fool you, the rear cabin area has ample headroom for taller than average occupants as well.
The illuminated boot at 256 litres is big in comparison to a Suzuki Swift and the rear suspension components do not intrude much ensuring maximum utility of this space. While the spare wheel is full sized, it comes mounted on a steel disc. The tool kit comes in a nicely designed tool bag in what looks like the carpet material and keeps them from clanging amongst each other. All the variants except the Era get a parcel tray.
Engine Clutch and Gearbox
The Grand i10 is powered by Hyundai`s 3 cylinders 1.1 litres 2nd Generation U2 diesel engine. As per the Korean manufacturer; this second generation CRDi tech has undergone a host of improvements like the lightened engine block, improved operating pressure and enhanced fuel atomization to make it a frugal yet potent mill. Hyundai claims that these improvements help in low running costs, emissions and NVH levels. The 1120cc oil burner produces 71Ps @ 4000 rpm and 16.3 kg.m of max twist between 1500-2650 rpm. Mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, it is an easy guess considering the torque figures that this mill will exhibit good tractability and it would be effortless to drive the car around.
We had a chance to sample the Grand i10 equipped with the second engine option – the 4 cylinder1.2 litre Kappa Dual VTVT petrol engine which is a proven performer and has been doing the duty in Hyundai`s other cars. This free revving unit now produces 83 ps @ 6000 rpm and 11.6 kg.m of max torque @ 4000 rpm and the figures are a marginal improvement over the previous version doing duty in the i10.
As soon as you thumb the starter, this engine purrs to life and immediately settles down to a near inaudible idle. Hyundai`s engineers must be given credit for their hard work in lending this engine high levels of refinement. The power delivery comes smooth and in a predictable manner. This refined mill revs eagerly without much drama, only to get a vocal towards the second half of the rev range, albeit in an unobtrusive way. The engine is eager to rev, the gearbox action is slick and the clutch is light. The gears slot with impressive precision with minimum resistance.
Pay close attention and you’ll notice that this gearbox doesn`t even exhibit the typically coarse slotting sound that emanates in other `boxes. The light clutch makes driving in stop and go traffic a breeze! With well matches gear ratios, whether it’s puttering around within the city or cruising on the highway, the 1.2 petrol never feels underpowered and the peppy engine responds instantaneously to the lightest dab on the throttle. We managed a top speed of 152 kph in 4th with some power reserve. The engine spins in the region of 3000 rpm in 5th at 100 kph. As per Hyundai`s ARAI figures, this mill manages 18.9 kms to a litre of unleaded petrol. Drive in a sane manner and the Grand i10 would not disappoint with anything under 12kmpl within city traffic conditions.
Ride & Handling
The Grand i10 like most of the cars today has completely ditched hydraulic power assisted steering in the interests of fuel efficiency. Enthusiasts, however, miss the feel and feedback which only hydraulic power assisted steerings to provide. However, over the years, modern electric power steerings seem to inch closer towards reducing this lifelessness and making them more enjoyable. The steering which also happens to be a crucial component of the ride and handling package has improved in the Grand i10. It still feels typically disconnected from the front wheels and weighs up in a vague manner. Only at triple-digit speeds does it become heavy. At parking and at low speeds, it doesn’t become too light either though.
This `grand` version of the i10 rides on the tried and tested setup, consisting of McPherson struts up front and a torsion beam axle at the rear. Since it’s a Hyundai and also not a hot hatch, handling was never its strong point, rather, the ride quality is. The suspension setup soaks up minor to small bumps and potholes easily, though the large ones are dispatched with an audible thud. The spring rate tuning and with the gas charges shock absorbers all around, Hyundai has managed to march towards achieving the magical balance between ride quality and handling in comparison to the i10.
The typical bounciness associated with small cars is a thing of the past as the Grand i10 offers a relatively flat ride. Low-speed ride is a bit firm but comfortable by small car standards, and it feels stable enough at high speeds. Present i10 owners planning an upgrade will be happy to discover the way which the `Grand` drives without feeling nervous at high speeds. Throw the car around corners and the 14 inches 165/65 spec footprint offers just about sufficient grip with some amount of body roll. The ECG package may encourage you to drive enthusiastically around the twisties, but one will be restricted by its steering and handling abilities. It`s not a Figo, but that said it’s a nimble, sure-footed, peppy car to drive around.
Hyundai has equipped the Asta trim with ABS as an option, which makes it even a safer car after addition of the SRS airbags. The brakes on the Grand i10 are impressive with predictable modulation engineered into them. A slight dab is all it takes to scrub speed. Panic braking that would otherwise lead to locking up, is taken off by the ABS which promptly steps in and contains the situation. The overall ride and handling package of the Grand i10 will delight a commoner while at the same time wouldn`t invite frowns from a performance enthusiast.
Features and other details
Distance to empty is a big omission in the trip computer
A/C and audio controls are very easy to operate. We missed the climate control feature thougg
Leather-wrapped steering wheel feels fab. Mounted controls are a big plus. One tends to press the buttons inadvertently though while turning the wheel, somewhat in Elantra fashion
Extremely well-packaged cabin has plenty of bottle holders and cubbyholes to store odds and ends
The reasonable spacious glove box is has a chilled compartment. A segment first
Engine Start/Stop in top variants are welcome. The quality of the plastics on the dashboard, and the fit finish is absolutely top notch
Big space in door panels. You have some space left even after storing a 1 liter water bottle
Ditto for the rear door panels
The steering wheel is height adjustable
The fuse box is placed conveniently above the footwell on the right-hand side
Air intake’s mouth is transversely positioned. We wonder if it affects performance in any way
Bonnet holder fits into the chassis
165/55 R14 Good Year rubber offers good grip
At near 275 litres, boot space is above par for the segment
Full-sized wheel and tyre with steel rim as spare
Parking sensors are black coloured. They should have been body coloured
Chrome handles are a premium feature. Though the shiny bit didn’t go too well with the wine red color
Rub pads on the door could have been slimmer. They’re too big for our liking
The Grand i10 is big on space. Ample legroom for the backbencher even with the seat fully pulled back. More than enough with an average height driver in the front seat
Modular, single piece front seats are quite comfortable. No adjustable headrests though
There is a slot for the seat belt buckle to be stowed away in the rear door frame
ORVM mounted blinkers are a premium feature
Rear A/C vents are a segment first
Easy to use the audio panel with big, ergonomic buttons and plenty of features
Summing it up, Price and Tech Specs
Has Hyundai managed to strike the right balance/fill the void/create a new segment? With the impressive booking figures, customers have already showed faith in this new offering. The Asta(O) is loaded to the hilt, if we have to nitpick; climate control, fuel consumption readout, split folding rear seat and adjustable head restraints on the front seats are the only missing features that we can think of.
With the Grand i10, Hyundai offers everything (including a Diesel option) that one can expect in even a mid-high range hatch. It is interesting to learn that the current i10 will continue to sell alongside. The Grand i10`s strengths include fabulous build quality, reasonably spacious interiors, rich features list, refined & peppy engine and much more. It quite literally is hard to find flaws with the car.
It definitely has the potential to please the buyers but may also confuse them. A price tag of close to Rs 6 lakh for the Asta 1.2 (O) may not get the bang for the buck, at the same time the decently priced and well specced Sports (5.12 Lakh) could pose a serious threat to the likes of Figo, Ritz, Swift etc. No doubt, the competition spec to spec looks Spartan with respect to the goodies offered, and this might just work in Hyundai`s favour!
Hyundai Grand i10 1.2 Petrol Prices
|Hyundai Grand i10 Era||Rs 4.34 Lakh|
|Hyundai Grand i10 Magna||Rs 4.53 Lakh|
|Hyundai Grand i10 Sportz||Rs 4.93 Lakh|
|Hyundai Grand i10 Asta||Rs 5.52 Lakh|
All prices are Ex-Showroom, New Delhi
Hyundai Grand i10 1.2 Petrol Specifications
|No of Cylinders||4|
|Valves per Cylinder||4|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||43Liters|
|Rear Suspension||Coupled Torsion Beam Axle|
|Front Suspension||McPherson Strut|