We drove the 1.2-litre petrol manual (five-speed) and the 1.2-litre turbocharged diesel automatic (AMT). There's also a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor. The 1.2-litre petrol motor is refined and very silent at idle. Off the mark, the 82bhp of power comes in linearly with it being particularly good in the mid-range. However, the first three gears are quite tall, so you need to downshift at city crawling speeds. Out on the highway, it is easy to keep up with the vehicles ahead, and if you are in the meat of the power band, then one can overtake easily. The gearbox is sleek to operate, and that combined with the short throws and the light clutch action, makes it a breeze to work.
The three-pot diesel motor, on the other hand, feels refined and is hardly audible until you floor it beyond 3000rpm. In fact NVH in this diesel is well subdued. As for the power delivery, it is quite linear. Sure, it won't wow you with its performance but won't leave you wanting for a whole lot more in most situations. That said, the AMT gearbox is one of the smoothest to operate, and the electric actuators do a good work of reducing the head nod effect, which is typical of an AMT. The best way to counter this is to be easy on the throttle and enjoy the convenience of an AMT. Also, making a quick overtake requires planning as you have to be in the power band to complete the manoeuvre.
As for the handling, the steering is calibrated differently on both the versions. It is quick on the diesel unit with less vagueness at the centre and requires less than three turn’s lock-to-lock. It inspires confidence to take on long corners and making quick directional changes. However, in the petrol version, the steering is slow with more than three turns needed from lock-to-lock. It is also vague at the centre and there's barely any feel or feedback on offer. The ride, however, is soft and absorbent with good damping at both ends. Compared to the Grand i10 Nios, Hyundai seems to have changed the suspensions' spring rates as the car doesn't roll much, and the ride isn't as bouncy either. The ride feels mostly flat and only sharp-edged potholes can be felt inside the cabin.