Hatchback wars don’t get any better. Being an action-packed segment, every now and then, a car maker shows up with one and sits back to watch how their fortunes unfold. True, added competition gives customers an upper hand, but isn’t that also an opportunity for us to guide our readers to the car of their choice? Exactly, and in this story, we’ve pitted the diesel manual versions of the new Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Asta with the Ford Figo Titanium Blu. What’s coming up next is an in-depth analysis of which car pips ahead of the other.
Although looks are a highly debatable topic, we award the honours straight to the Figo. For one, you tend to look at the Grand i10 Nios and it appears to be a fusion of the Santro and the Grand i10 in large chunks. Not something you’d appreciate considering it is supposed to be a notch higher. Hyundai seems to have clearly lost the opportunity to use its resources to lend this new car an identity of its own.
Let’s highlight the best of both cars. The Figo sports sweptback headlamps around the Aston Martin-inspired grille making it the the most desirable portion of this Ford. In the Nios’ case, it is certainly the huge-ass grille that’s seen spanning a sizeable portion of the nose. This is complimented by a pair of cute tear-drop shaped headlamps and creases on the bonnet, fender and lower bumper which should look sporty only to a toddler.
The Living Room
It doesn’t take much effort to realise that the Figo’s dash looks dated. Even the dials on the instrumentation are small and uninspiring. Although quality is par for the course, the same on the Nios, along with its fit and finish, can easily match cars from a segment higher. Add to that, the Nios’ fresh dash design with a dual tone and flowing theme onto the centre console, and you have quite the concoction. In terms of visibility, the Figo’s A-pillar can get in the way of the driver’s view, but the thinner one on the Nios combined with the wider door mirrors makes spotting other motorists an effortless task.
As for storage in the front, the Figo has the upper hand with numerous compartmentalised cubby spaces on the centre console and the front door pads. Interestingly, the Nios fights back with rear doorpad storage and rear ac vents, both of which are sorely missed in the Figo. Space wise, in the front, the Figo offers more legroom, shoulder room and overall larger seats.
In comparison, the Nios’ front end entices only if one is taller, and the ingress is much easier. What’s tricky is the rear. If you’re out for more headroom, a larger bench and favourable ingress, the Nios hits that nail. However, the Figo offers marginally more legroom and considerably more space for three occupants.
As much as the seats on both hatches offer good cushioning, the Nios’ front ones lend better lateral support. But, we’d have certainly loved an improved shoulder support on both. As for the rear benches, the one in the Nios offers much more thigh support than the one featured in the Ford, but the latter offers a more appropriate upright backrest angle. Boot-wise, the Nios’ enclosure is wider while the Figo’s enclosure is taller. So, while you can arrange your luggage horizontally in the Hyundai, the Figo allows one to stack it vertically. But what aids luggage loading is the lower boot lip on the Figo.
Well equipped, is it dear?
Both the Figo Titanium Blu and Nios Asta are loaded with equipment like a touchscreen infotainment system, automatic climate control, start/stop button, keyless central locking, electrically adjustable ORVMs and more. But ultimately,it’s the Figo that packs more safety and usable features such as six airbags, adjustable front headrests, rain-sensing wipers, automatic head lamps and GPS navigation system. As for the Grand i10 Nios, it gets rear AC vents, a cooled glove-box, smartkey, projector headlamps, LED DRLs, and iPod compatibility.
The Figo gets an advantage on the engine specs front. It’s hard to miss the extra 300cc in its 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel motor over its counterpart’s 1.2-litre 3-cylinder mill. The Ford also makes an additional 25bhp (99bhp) around 250rpm earlier in the rev-range when compared to the Nios’ 74bhp. Even its 215Nm of torque is higher than the Hyundai’s 190Nm. All said and done, in reality, the superior refinement from the Nios’ three-cylinder motor is truly commendable.
Sure, there’s more buzz from the Figo’s engine, but who cares because there’s so much torque to play with; as early as 1250rpm. And beyond 1500rpm, all you need to do is ride the thick slab of torque that only necessitates the slimmest of throttle inputs. A trait that also aids driving chores, as much as lugging around a cabin-full of passengers. Yes, you notice the lesser pulling power from the Nios’ three-cylinder, but it is in no way inadequate. It’s more than enough for most city driving styles and also when you are out on the highway.
To give you an idea, the Figo does 0-100kmph in 10.37 seconds, while the Nios manages it in a much slower 12.74 seconds. Understandably, the Figo managed to be quicker in our 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph driveability tests; a good indicator of overtaking capabilities. These are despatched in 10.53 seconds and 11.65 seconds (Figo), while the Nios takes 11.27 seconds and 13.16 seconds. And, if you were thinking about flexibility, both cars can laze around the town at slow speeds in third gear without persisting for downshifts.
And when the need arises, the Nios’ gear lever is a joy to slot; smooth to operate and takes the effort away. We caught shifting gears just for the heck of it and it is an experience that’s further enriched by its lighter clutch pedal. In comparison, the lever in the Ford is rubbery while going about gearshifts, and there’s some play in the lever itself; quite unlike the crispness of the Nios’. You also need to factor-in the slightly heavier clutch pedal too.
Twist and Turns
At slow speeds, the ride on the Figo is firm. However as you go faster, the bump absorption improves dramatically, giving it a flat ride. You tend to inevitably appreciate the fact that the Figo is one of the most composed hatches. On the contrary, the same cannot be said about the Nios as the ride is edgy over sharp bumps at low speeds, and there’s some mild suspension noise too. Although the ride does get a bit flatter as one goes faster, it never really feels settled unless you show it a perfectly flat stretch of tarmac (a rarity these days).
As for the steering, the Nios’ had us pleasantly surprised. It is lighter and quicker than the Ford, with less than three turns from lock-to-lock. This also means that parking/manoeuvring in tight spots is certainly easier in the Hyundai. In spite of this, what gives the Figo’s steering more feel, despite not being quicker (more than three turns from lock-to-lock), is not just the extra heft, but also more progression around the dead centre and the better grip from the wider 195/55 R15 tyres (Nios - 175/60/R15). Now, despite running on thinner tyres, the 7kg lighter Nios (1050kg) braked from 80-0kmph in 2.31 seconds, unlike the Figo (1057kg) which took 2.7 seconds.
Kitna deti hain!
In terms of fuel economy, the Nios with its three-cylinder motor has an upper hand. It returned a considerably higher 16.13kmpl and 22.74kmpl in the city and highway run respectively. In comparison, the Figo pulled off the same runs by delivering 14.14kmpl and 19.67kmpl.
Rank 2 Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Asta Points 385
The Hyundai Grand i10 Nios benefits from better interior design, a more efficient and refined diesel engine, considerably higher levels of quality, plus superior fit and finish. However, on the downside, it’s got uninspiring exteriors, an engine that isn’t as powerful, average ride quality and the obvious lack of a few airbags (four to be precise), which is how the Ford raced ahead of it in this test.
Rank 1 Ford Figo Titanium Blu Points 399
Yes, the Ford Figo has its own set of drawbacks. Like the dashboard, which is an eye-sore (to say the least), then, there’s the visibility through the A-pillar which isn’t the best, and it is hard to ignore the absence of rear ac vents. But, essentially, the Figo more than makes up for these by offering better cabin space with comfortable seats, a powerful motor that puts more than a smile on your face, a planted and absorbent ride, and additional safety that comes from four more airbags. All this for around Rs 53,000 cheaper, striking a value-for-money proposition too. Need we really say anything more here!
Pictures by Kapil Angane
|CAR NAME||Hyundai Grand i10 Nios||Ford Figo|
|Variant||Asta U2 1.2 CRDi||Titanium Blu 1.5 TDCi|
|Installation||Front, transverse||Front, transverse|
|Displacement||3 cyls, 1186cc||4 cyls, 1498cc|
|Power||74bhp at 4000rpm||99bhp at 3750rpm|
|Torque||190Nm at 1750rpm||215Nm at 1750rpm|
|Power to weight||70.47bhp per tonne||104.64bhp per tonne|
|Torque to weight||180.95Nm per tonne||227.26Nm per tonne|
|Gearbox||5-speed manual||5-speed manual|
|CHASSIS & BODY|
|Kerb weight (measured)||1050kg||1057kg|
|Tyres||175/60 R15||195/55 R15|
|Type||Rack and pinion||Rack and pinion|
|Type of assist||Electric||Electric|
|CAR NAME||Hyundai Grand i10 Nios||Ford Figo|
|Variant||Asta U2 1.2 CRDi||Titanium Plus 1.5 TDCi|
|PERFORMANCE & BRAKING|
|20-80kmph in 3rd gear||11.27||10.53s|
|40-100kmph in 4th gear||13.16||11.65s|
|Tank size||37 litres||42 litres|
|Seat base length||490mm||470mm|
|Boot||260 litres||257 litres|
|Loading lip height||750mm||710mm|
|Parameters||Max points||Hyundai Grand i10 Nios||Ford Figo Titanium Blu|
|Feeling of space||20||15||14|
|IN THE CABIN|
|Feel of quality||20||14||14|