The market for small yet family-friendly hatchbacks is booming at a rapid pace and to stay competitive in this crowded field, even the best of the bunch need to keep looking fresh. The most recent mid-size hatch to be brought up to date is Hyundai’s Grand i10. Fresh for 2017, it’s retained the old car’s practicality but with sleeker looks, a slightly larger diesel engine and a series of changes inside and out. Rather unsurprisingly, it’s more efficient than ever and has all the tricks to really compete.
Its rival, the Maruti Suzuki Ignis is like a breath of fresh air in this segment and instantly comes in with an advantage. After all, even hatchback buyers want to be able to customise their cars’ appearance and with several personalisation options to the boot, the Ignis allows trendy buyers to do just that.
There is a lot, then, to separate this duo in terms of looks, interior packaging and performance so the updated Grand i10 will need to put up a good show to come out on top. Is it up to the task? We took both the cars on to the road to find out.
Looks and Design
A family hatch has got to be eye-catching to compete in such a crowded space, and unarguably it’s the Ignis with its quirky, kei-car like details that turns heads the most here. The Ignis has been designed primarily for the Japanese crowd and their peculiar taste towards aesthetics. It challenges convention with its slab-like headlights – which mimic the gleaming eyes of certain juvenile manga characters – and the outlandishly raked boot lid.
Next to the Ignis, the Grand i10’s look can be best described as meek. Sure, its design is thoroughly modern and the whole car sits well-proportioned to the ground, but the 2017 model’s exterior alterations (Read: different grille, front and rear bumpers and daytime running LED strips) are subtle on this top-spec diesel trim.
The Ignis’s size shows how city-friendly it is, measuring 3700mm long, 1690mm wide and 1595mm tall. In comparison, the Grand i10 is longer than but not as wide as the Ignis. Besides, the latter sits taller off the ground as well. The Suzuki’s relatively compact footprint is noticeable when you are seated in it, but overall these two offer quite different environments.
Interior Layout and Features
The stark contrast in the design and layout of the finer elements continue as you move on to the interiors. Whereas the Grand i10 retains its straightforward albeit, slightly dull layout for the dashboard, the Ignis is young and bold, not to mention distinctive with the way its dashboard is laid. Everything from the slim dash, the giant touchscreen display, body-coloured door handles and the toggle-like switchgear are bits that are completely new to small car buyers. Sticking out of the dash, the touch display catches the eye as soon as you turn the key. It is bright, colourful and features smartphone mirroring tech, besides Bluetooth and USB. And for those young drivers that cannot be separated from their smartphone, the interface’s touch and slide functionality will come as second nature to them.
The Grand i10’s cabin may seem relatively conventional but it’s also got a stellar touchscreen infotainment system. The system, in fact, is one of the few highlights of the 2017 upgrade and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The UI, again, isn’t as lively or vibrant as the Suzuki’s but impressive nonetheless if you fancy simpler layouts, that is. Screen aside, the level of perceived quality inside the Grand i10 is significantly better than that of the Ignis. The Grand i10’s mundane looking switchgear, the dual tone upholstery and the dials and knobs all have the feel of a higher quality to the touch, press or otherwise. That impressive cabin ambience comes despite a few lacklustre bits like the analogue instrument panel and the door pads.
Like the Grand i10, the Ignis has hard plastic surfaces but they are not as nicely finished. What’s more, the controls for the electric mirrors and the steering column mounted stalks don’t have the same level of solidity in the hand as the Grand i10’s bits and bobs.
The Ignis gains some ground with its standard equipment list. Irrespective of whatever variant you pick, there’s ABS with EBD, front airbags and ISOFIX child seat mount. As for comfort and convenience, the top-spec Alpha gets climate control, a decent sounding audio system with touchscreen display, steering mounted controls, push button start, keyless entry, electrically adjustable and foldable mirrors, LED projector headlamps and alloy wheels. The top-spec Grand i10 Asta trim, on the other hand, is similarly equipped, however, safety features like the ABS and passenger airbag are not standard across the range. The Hyundai doesn’t get automatically locking doors either.
Space and Comfort
Upfront, the difference in seating comfort isn’t much. Both the Ignis and the Grand i10 have adequately sized front seats with decently large squabs for most occupants. The only difference here can be found in the footwell – the Ignis has a great deal of knee room thanks to the slim dash and the extra width whereas the Grand i10 struggles with a narrower footwell.
The Ignis gets an early lead on its rival upfront and still manages to impresses as you move on to the rear. It keeps its roofline tall all the way to its hatched rear to create more headroom for the occupants. The rear bench is perched high for good visibility and to allow tall occupants to stretch their legs further down the floor. The rear bench, however, is relatively flat and features less contours compared to the Hyundai and because of the small rear windows and all-black upholstery, the sense of space isn’t as much either.
Although one sits noticeably lower in the Grand i10, the rear bench is well shaped with more in terms of contours – a big draw-card for those who drive with their family for most occasions. Besides a more supportive rear seat, the Grand i10 also scores well when it comes to that all-important airy feeling, thanks to the lighter upholstery and a much larger glasshouse.
Having established that the Grand i10 has proved itself to be a better rear-seat hatch, we presume the Ignis would prove more competitive in the driving department.
Anyone looking for a diesel mid-size hatch probably rates performance as low on their priority list. Having said that, if it is effortless city cruise and the occasional highway blasts that you are looking for, then both these vehicles fit the bill.
As part of the 2017 upgrade, the Grand i10 gets a new, higher capacity and more powerful diesel engine. It’s still a three-cylinder unit, but with significantly more pulling power. The 1.2-litre engine, in fact, makes 74bhp at 4,000rpm and 190Nm of torque at 1,750rpm. The Ignis, on the other hand, makes use of the very tried-and-tested 1.3-litre diesel engine, putting out similar power and torque.
Around town, the Ignis feels consistently livelier at slow to medium speeds than its negligible on-paper advantage would suggest. And this has much to do with the fact that it responds sharply to the throttle, especially when the turbo is on song. Unlike the old car, which has an incredibly linear power delivery, there is a bit of spike in power delivery at around 2,000rpm in the new Grand i10. What’s more, there is always enough torque to keep up with city traffic and the engine remains impressively quiet and devoid of any vibration despite being a three-cylinder unit. The Ignis, too, is equally quick, however the turbo lag is more prominent and the engine itself is nowhere as refined as Hyundai’s motor.
Both these cars prefer to rely on their mid-range punch to keep things moving briskly and you can expect a need to row through the gears often. In this case, it’s the Grand i10’s shifting mechanism that’s simply faultless – the gearshifts are as precise as they can get in small cars and the clutch pedal is superbly weighted too. The Suzuki’s more prominent turbo lag and spikier power delivery means you are likely to work the gearbox slightly more. Nonetheless, the 5-speed unit is a joy to use and the clutch is pleasantly light as well.
Around town, the Ignis’ steering is light and fluid and the quirky looks are matched by a real planted feel even across bad roads. That said, the steering is a little unwilling to self-centre when parking or under full lock. No such niggle with the Hyundai but it does feel sloppy at slow speeds and slow to initiate quick turn-ins.
Both the Ignis and the Grand i10 are perfect for driving around town and they are not bad on faster roads either. You have got to get behind the wheel to appreciate the Grand i10’s true quality. With its smooth engine, planted ride and excellent NVH, it has the feel of a vehicle from a class above. The cabin is well insulated from road and wind noise, while the ride is surprisingly supple (in contrast to previous Hyundai models) at speed. It’s a little firm over scarred and potholed city roads, but never uncomfortable.
In terms of driving involvement, the Ignis is a step ahead with a more sensitive steering and quick turn-in meaning you can have some fun on twisty roads, but we would like to add that any hint of pushing the car will see its tyres (Bridgestone's Ecopia) squeal more often than not. As for the way it tackles bad roads, the low speed ride is certainly more absorbent than that of the Grand i10 with a nice, soft edge over rippled surfaces. Things improve as you hit the highway, but it’s nowhere near as refined as the Hyundai at triple digit speeds – there’s more of engine, road and wind noise all the time.
As for fuel efficiency, which is a major consideration for small car buyers when making the final decision, the Grand i10 just about surpasses the Ignis. Its city efficiency of 15.4kmpl is noticeably better than the Suzuki which managed 14.3kmpl. As for the highway figures, both these vehicles are equally efficient, returning 19.7kmpl.
Maruti Suzuki Ignis
Final Score: 376/600
Price: Rs 9.41 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
If you are looking for a fun, quirky hatch with a sensible side then the new Ignis is easily your best bet. Around town, its light handling and brilliant manoeuvrability are hard to ignore. Add to that, its bold looks, strong diesel engine and surprising amount of space given its size and the Ignis has plenty going for it. However, its positives are not enough to top this test. It’s significantly expensive in this company and its ride comfort and cabin quality and finish do not exactly justify the premium pricing.
Hyundai Grand i10
Final Score: 381/600
Price: Rs 8.89 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
The 2017 Grand i10 takes the victory by a small yet crucial margin, thanks to its better quality cabin, improved ride quality and competitive prices. Its new 1.2 diesel motor isn’t exactly rapid, but there’s no denying that it packs in superb driveability and is surprisingly refined. All in all, the Grand i10 impressed us by how well developed it feels for a hatchback. Featuring loads of practicality and decent cruising abilities, the Grand i10 also delivers big car quality and refinement. It cannot match the Ignis for outright fun, but its broad spread of positives make the Grand i10 hard to ignore and it takes a well-earned win in this test.
|CAR NAME||Maruti Suzuki Ignis||Hyundai Grand i10|
|Variant||Aplha 1.3 MT||Asta U2 1.2 CRDi|
|Installation||Front, transverse||Front, transverse|
|Displacement||1248cc, 4 cyls||1186cc, 3 cyls|
|Power||74bhp at 4000rpm||74bhp at 4000rpm|
|Torque||190Nm at 2000rpm||190Nm at 1750rpm|
|Power to weight||77.08bhp per tonne||72.19bhp per tonne|
|Torque to weight||197.90Nm per tonne||185.36Nm per tonne|
|Gearbox||5-speed manual||5-speed manual|
|CHASSIS & BODY|
|Tyres||175/65 R15||165/65 R14|
|Spare||Full size||Full size|
|Type||Rack and pinion||Rack and pinion|
|Type of assist||Electric||Electric|
|CAR NAME||Maruti Suzuki Ignis||Hyundai Grand i10|
|Variant||Alpha 1.3 MT||Asta U2 1.2 CRDi|
|PERFORMANCE & BRAKING|
|20-80kmph in 3rd gear||12.21s||12.04s|
|40-100kmph in 4th gear||15.57s||13.78s|
|Tank size||32 litres||43 litres|
|Seat base length||460mm||490mm|
|Boot||260 litres||256 litres|
|Loading lip height||740mm||700mm|
Maruti Suzuki Ignis
Hyundai Grand i10
|Feeling of space||20||14||15|
|IN THE CABIN|
|Feel of quality||20||10||13|