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Hyundai Grand i10 Nios, test drive review

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Once upon a time the Hyundai Grand i10 packed in play safe design, spacious interiors and frugal engines that won the hearts of many. However over the time it faced with stiffer competition and began getting a little long in the tooth as well.

So when the time came for the next generation model to arrive, the Korean car maker Hyundai was tasked with the fact that the next Grand i10 had to be modern, improved and better in every way yet not stray too far from the formula that worked in favour of the outgoing car.

Enter the Grand i10 Nios, a car that boast of carrying almost over the formula from the Grand i10 but in a improved and more modern way, a car that not just built up on the strengths of the Grand i10 but took them a next level altogether.

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The Nios meaning more lives up by its meaning of delivering more and is now 40mm longer, 20mm wider and adds 25mm more to the length of the wheelbase over the earlier car. Though the car is instantly recognizable as a Grand 1i0, it adopts a design language that screams premium with a genuine dose of funky styling bits all around the car.

Upfront it’s a handsome looking face that is flanked by upswept projector headlamps and a cascading front grille that comes finished in silver or gloss black depending on the exterior paint option chosen, while the sharply styled fog lamp housings with projector fog lamps come with an air curtain that channels air into the front wheels to reduce turbulence.

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Along the sides, there’s a clean look with a few crisp lines on the doors and near the wheel arches, however that said the funky styling bits such as the blacked out c-pillar with GI10 badging and 15-inch diamond cut alloy wheels do add some flavour to otherwise safe looking side profile. The rear receives a well designed tailgate with a crease line that runs across it, while the small looking combination taillamps feels a bit out of place especially when you notice the large Hyundai logo and Nios badging on the tailgate. The rear bumper now holds the licence plate and a set of horizontally placed reflectors on either side that look great as well.

The interior of the Nios is a refreshing change from the Hyundai’s of the past; there’s a new black and grey colour scheme on offer which is refreshing deviation from the black and beige mainstream cars on sale today. The cabin has less of the fluidic sculpture of current Hyundai cars and more of a clean, funky and very business-like look. The stand out highlight on the dashboard however is the floating infotainment system that extends from the instrument console.

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The 8.0 inch touchscreen also gets piano black finish leaving a premium look to the interior. It comes with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and an Arkmays sound system but misses out on Blulink connectivity and in-built navigation. The part digital analogue instrument console gets a well designed and also has a 5.3 inch trip computer for displaying essential information.

Material quality used in the car feels very premium and upmarket, buyers will appreciate the knurled finish for the A/C controls and the honeycomb like elements on the dash, door pads and elsewhere around the cabin appeals to the funky look on the inside.

The seats at the front are well designed and lend a great view out of the cabin with the only downside being the omission of the adjustable headrests. The integrated headrest makes you scorch for a good place to rest your neck. Headroom and Should room is great too and even taller drivers will find comfort in the front seat, however the seat height adjust does come in handy if the requirement arises for more comfort.

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The rear seat also fairs good on overall comfort and visibility of the large windows is impressive even after seating low. If only there would be something to wish for more would be better tight support. Legroom however is where the Nios scores the best on with tremendous space on offer and good for six footers as well. Passengers seated at the rear also get their own A/C vents which though not immediately effective in way of cooling are angled at a much than most cars on sale today.

Boot space stands at 260 litres however the high loading lip does mean you have to lift your luggage high up. Should the need arise for more space the seats can be folded down in full flat mode to open up litres and not in the 60; 40 combination as expected.

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Driving the petrol 1.2 litre manual which is actually the same four cylinder unit from the Grand i10 but tuned to meet BS6 standards and regulations the four cylinder motor puts out 83hp at 6000rpm and 114Nm of torque at 4000 rpm

The engine feels pretty responsive in the city with quick responses from the throttle at low speeds. The steering too feels light and this setup coupled with the light clutch and quick shift gearbox makes for an effortless drive in the city.

However out on the highway is where engine feels let down, sure it gets up to triple digit speeds quite easily. However if you do need to make a quick overtaking manuvers you do need to revv the engine hard to get going. This move also lets the engine noise seep into the cabin however it’s not that we are complaining about the sweet exhaust note either.

Where the Nios petrol really shines is in the city, there is a definitive way the car shrinks around you while on the move. The steering is light and agile making it easy to manoeuvre in tight city traffic; doesn’t weigh up as speeds rise and ends up taking a toll on its cornering abilities as well.

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The suspension which consists of Independent Macpherson struts at the front and non-independent torsion beam at the rear soaks up bumps and potholes quite effortlessly at low speeds but does end up crashing in at higher speeds. The 15-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 175/60 R15 section at the front and rear tyres spoil much of the fun due to the narrower sidewall they offer.

Braking powers is provided by at the disc font and drum at the rear offer great bite and good stopping power however you do need to press harder and downshift a gear or two if you’re braking at triple digit speeds.

Verdict

The Hyundai Grand i10 Nios is improved in almost every department and excels the Grand i10 by a fair bit. The design won’t instantly wow you but will surely grab attention, the funky layout of the interior along with lighter colours is an unexpected move from Hyundai and while most of the Korean automakers models come feature packed, the Nios rather misses out on some of the kit like automatic headlamps and auto wipers. Last but not the least is the 1.2 litre petrol which engine may not be the most spirited to drive with the unenthusiastic response from the steering further adding up to it.

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However one needs to understand that the story that begun with the i10 and then moved on to the Grand i10 was always meant to be a family hatchback rather than a sporty performer. That’s where the Nios shines, it’s got the style, it’s got the rather encouragingly designed interior that will win the hearts of many and it’s got an engine powerful enough to get you and your family around from point A to point B without much fuss as long as sporty driving isn’t something you’d ask for. The Nios has on a whole taken, adopted and gone a step ahead with a more rounded and a much more appealing package.                                   Hyundai Grand i10 NiosPriceRs 5,04,990 – base era petrol

Rs 8,04,450 – top end Asta dieselEngine1197 4-cylinder petrolPower83hp @ 6000rpmTorque114Nm of torqueTransmission5-speed manual/Fuel tank37 litresMileage20.7kmplTyre size (front)165/70 – Era, Magna, Sportz

170/60R15 – Asta

Tyre size ( rear)165/70 – Era, Magna, Sportz

170/60R15 – Asta

Length/weight/height3,805/1,680/1,520mmwheelbase2,450mmGround clearance165mmKerb weight895kgVariantsEra, Magna, Sportz, Asta

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