Now unlike the 120bhp motor in the Venue, this same 1.0-litre three-cylinder mill produces 99bhp and 175Nm in the Aura. The former also gets a six-speed gearbox, while this Aura's unit is a five-speed manual one. But don’t just dismiss it yet. What one will appreciate is that the engine is still quiet at idling and one can barely hear it at low revs. It comes alive post the 1,500rpm mark while revving cleanly to 6,500rpm. However, a strong tug can be felt only post 1,700rpm as the turbo spools in and provides a good boost. The engine does sound good till 4,000rpm post which it only gets more vocal. However, revving so much will seldom be the case as it does the job effectively between 2,000-3,500rpm. Also at 1020kg this is a light car and with an immediate throttle response it moves quickly too. Sure newer drivers might be taken aback by the slight torque steer, but the actual surprise will be the way it sprints quickly.
I love the way it pulls itself away from the traffic. It doesn't require you to frequently change gears. Even on the highway in top gear you can just calmly cruise around doing 100kmph at around 2,000rpm. The clutch is light and though the gear shifts are not silky smooth, the throws are short and precise too. All of this also helps when you want to make a speedy overtake and can quickly shift on to a lower gear. However, in our fuel economy tests, it returned a fuel efficiency of 12.56kmpl on our city run and 17.83kmpl on the highway. Though not very impressive, it still isn't quite off its ARAI-rated claim of 20.5kmpl.
As for the ride, the Aura's suspension feels quite solid to take on our road conditions. It never scraped any of the speed-breakers we took it on to and that’s commendable for a sedan. Then, low speed bump absorption is good but you can still feel the surface imperfections. Sure there’s not a big thud even when traversing bad roads or over potholes; but we think Hyundai still could have managed a better balance with the McPherson struts in the front and coupled torsion beam axle at the back. Especially when the car gathers speed, the rear feels bouncy. And it does continue to induce vertical movements as you go faster beyond 100kmph. Otherwise, below this mark occupants will not feel that uncomfortable over these road undulations.
Coming to the handling bit, the light controls make it easy-to-drive and even make it feel safe and secure at high speeds on the highway. That said, its handling is exactly what you’d expect from a front-wheel drive compact sedan. Go faster around corners and it will understeer. Sure there’s no kickback from the light steering, but it could have been tuned for better feedback especially to appease the enthusiast. Wish it had stickier and broader tyres too than the current 175/60 section MRF rubber on the 15-inch wheels. Even so, under panic braking they still do a good job along with the front ventilated discs and rear drum brakes. These provide enough bite and progression to stop the car with confidence.