The biggest virtue a carmaker can offer its customers in a cost-driven market like India is ‘value’. And Hyundai Motor India’s latest offering – the Grand i10 – offers that in plenty. Positioned between the popular i10 and i20 models in the ‘compact high entry segment’, the Grand i10 has created the right amount of excitement in the market, registering over 10,000 plus bookings in 20 days since its launch. Invited to test drive the car in Jaipur recently, did we come back impressed? Read on.
As the country’s second largest passenger carmaker, Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) has been selling good numbers of the i10 and i20 compact cars, despite the slowing Indian economy affecting vehicle sales for all OEMs. The launch of the Grand i10 as an entry level product in the compact high segment is the company’s attempt to offer a compelling new small car in the most popular vehicle segment in the market. The expanded portfolio, HMIL believes, would ensure Hyundai consumers stay loyal to the brand.
The Grand i10 is essentially the next generation i10, built on an entirely new platform. Worldwide, the new vehicle is replacing the current i10, but considering the popularity of the i10 in the Indian market, HMIL decided to have both products co-exist. And going by the September-end numbers, the company’s belief might well be correct. In the first 20 days since the Grand i10 was launched, HMIL has recorded over 10,000 bookings, and over a million enquiries! The company has also claimed a 55 % rise in footfalls at dealerships across all regions, and over 70,000 test drive requests.
Internally codenamed the ‘BA’, the Grand i10 is a global hatchback, and will be sold in about 20 countries, including India. The car was designed at Hyundai’s European design centre in Germany, and the R&D centres in Chennai and Hyderabad worked closely with Hyundai’s Namyang R&D centre in South Korea to build in the changes to meet Indian tastes and preferences.
The Grand i10 is clearly one of the better looking cars in the compact segment, both from the outside and inside. Hyundai’s famed fluidic design concept is evident from all angles. The Indian version is 100 mm longer overall, and the wheelbase too has been raised by about 70 mm as compared to the international model. As against the i10, the Grand is longer, wider and roomier.
Once inside, it’s elegance all over. The cabin is spacious and airy. The top-trim Asta model, the one we drove, delivers an impressive and pleasing quality of interiors – the look and feel, the use of plastics, and the fit and finish. The steering mounted controls, the gear lever, and various buttons on the dashboard are finely detailed. The dashboard is a combination of black and beige, and the same treatment can also be found on the door trims. The air-condition knobs, however, looks familiar as in other Hyundai models.
Like in the i10, the gear shift stick has been positioned just below the centre console, providing generous space in between the front seats. Talking of seats, they are well-cushioned for comfort even on long drives. The air-conditioning is effective, and so are the NVH levels. The cabin mostly is isolated from engine vibrations. An India-specific addition to the Grand i10 is the rear air-condition vent, which considerably improves the comfort levels for rear seat passengers.
A smart key, push-button start/stop, Bluetooth handsfree phone pairing with the music system and auto-closing door mirrors are some of the other interior features a consumer would appreciate. The music system also offers 1 GB internal storage as standard on the Asta variant.
The hexagonal grille in the front is typically fluidic, and so are the elongated headlamps. The beautifully curved rear exudes charm through the small tail lamps and the oversized rear fender. The alloys have again been specially designed for the Indian market, and so is the glass area at the rear, which is wider with a straighter belt line. At 3,765 mm, the Grand i10 is well below the regulatory norms for a compact car. The wheelbase is 2,425 mm and the width is 1,660 mm.
The Grand i10 has been offered in engine variants — a 1.2 l all-aluminium Kappa petrol engine with Dual VTVT mechanism and a 1.1 l advanced second-generation U2 CRDi diesel unit. The petrol engine is the same as available on other HMIL products, and develops peak power of 83 hp at 6,000 rpm, and a maximum torque of 114Nm at 4,000 rpm. Mated to a five-speed manual transmission, this four-cylinder engine is very refined. Vibration is almost negligible, and it’s very quiet, yet peppy. It’s an impressive unit that picks up pace almost immediately on hard acceleration. The petrol variant also comes with an automatic transmission.
The diesel unit, on the other hand, is a three-cylinder unit with peak power ratings of 71 hp at 4,000 rpm and a peak torque of about 160 Nm between 1,500 rpm to 2,750 rpm. We would bring you a detailed review of the diesel engine in one of our later editions, considering it is only the petrol variant that we test drove at length. However, the short run we had in the diesel variant left a lot to be desired. It is smooth and efficient, but beyond the 3,500 rpm level, there’s a significant drop in power. And that’s not going to be liked, at least on the highways.
Under ARAI tests, the Grand i10 delivered a mileage of 24 km/l for the diesel engine, and 18.9 km/l for the petrol engine version.
RIDE & HANDLING
The Grand i10 comes with a softer set-up, and as a result the ride quality generally is good. Overall, it wouldn’t be wrong to term the ride quality a right mix for the kind of road conditions we have in the country. We feel the Grand i10 delivered superior ride and handling compared to the i10.
We got to experience the car on a mix of road conditions, and the car adjusted well in all circumstances. The light steering coupled with easy and precise gear shifts make the Grand i10 a pleasure to drive around within city limits. The clutch too is light and would gel well in stop and go traffic in our cities. The disc brakes on the front, and drum units on the rear are well-calibrated with the ABS for effective braking. Shock absorbers are gas type, while suspension duties are carried out by McPherson Struts at the front and Coupled Torsion Beam Axles at the rear.
The Grand i10 fits in well between the i10 and i20 models, and despite the minor price difference among the three, we don’t imagine it cannibalising sales of either of the older products. For any conscious customer, the Grand i10 offers tremendous value for the price you’d pay. And that is the USP that Hyundai offers Indian consumers. Be it features, looks, driving dynamics or build quality, we think Hyundai has a thorough winner in its ranks. The petrol variant is priced between Rs 4.3 to Rs 5.8 lakh, while the diesel version is priced between Rs 5.24 to Rs 6.42 lakh. All prices ex-showroom, Delhi.
SECOND-GENERATION U2 1.1 L THREE-CYLINDER DIESEL ENGINE
In our January 2013 issue, we had featured a technology article on the second-generation U2 1.1 l three-cylinder diesel engine introduced by Hyundai/ Kia in the Kia Rio, a B segment car. We bring to you a quick re-look at some of the salient features of the engine.
Development of the engine was aimed to enhance the appeal of Hyundai/Kia B segment vehicles by achieving the lowest CO2 emission in the segment, while providing enough power output for a fun-to-drive feel and driver comfort. The primary objectives of the engine included the following:
:: To reach a class-leading CO2 emission level
:: To optimise NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) characteristics by refined calibration and structural analysis
:: To deliver satisfactory power output and retain a fun-to-drive feel for B segment vehicles
:: To define a most cost-efficient system for upcoming emission standards
With the Kia Rio, the new engine has achieved a class-leading CO2 homologation value of 85 g/km with affordable drivability. With a high potential in combustion efficiency as well as emission and power output, this engine will play a key role in Hyundai’s future strategy in eco-friendly vehicle development.
The common rail fuel injection system with its maximum injection pressure of 1,800 bar, leads to shorter injection duration and an enhanced performance. The number of injector holes is increased from seven to eight and the flow area of each hole is reduced by about 5 %, which allows improved emission potential by enhanced atomisation of injected fuel and air mixing. Although the hole diameter is reduced, coking robustness is secured by a shorter injector hole length of 0.65 mm.
These changes provide more precise control of small injection amounts and shorter intervals between the injections. The best combination of single- and double-pilot injections with improved calibration of other control parameters enables an optimal compromise between emission, fuel economy and acoustic behaviour within the system reliability limit.
Text: Deepangshu Dev Sarmah
Photo: Bharat Bhushan Upadhyay