Why would I buy it?
- RDE-compliant petrol engine
- Enhanced safety features
- Feature-rich cabin
Why would I avoid it?
- No turbo-petrol/diesel powertrain
- Average ride quality
What is it?
The Hyundai ‘Grand i10’ moniker made its debut in 2013 and now, after a decade and in its third generation, the Nios hatchback has received yet another update. This time though, it’s a facelift and except for the cosmetic upgrades, the Grand i10 Nios gets new features, added safety, and a powertrain that’s ready for the forthcoming stringent emission norms. Does it still make for an ideal family hatchback? Let’s find out.
Since this is a facelift version of the outgoing car, the shape and silhouette of the new Nios remain largely unchanged and it retains the same dimensions. Of course, it gets fresh styling in the form of a new face with an oversized wider grille with a glossy black mesh pattern. Gone are the circular fog lamps and the redesigned arrow-shaped DRLs have been housed on the bumper. While the sweptback design of the projector headlamps has been retained, pay attention, and you will notice that the brand logo is now flatter and gets an aluminium finish.
View the Grand i10 Nios from the side and you see the same floating roof-like appearance with a blacked-out C-pillar. The only visual difference here is the new design for the 15-inch alloy wheels. However, the posterior has been slightly tweaked and it gets the new tail lamp clusters and a reflector stripe that runs across the width of the bonnet. No, this isn’t illuminated like the one in the new Venue. Overall, with these subtle changes, the new Nios still remains a well-proportioned and smart-looking hatchback.
Is the cabin of 2023 Grand i10 Nios any good?
Step inside the cabin of the 2023 Nios, and you will see many familiar elements. It still follows a black and grey theme with the binnacle housing the eight-inch touchscreen unit and the instrument cluster. The layout of the instrument cluster has been revised and while it still remains an analogue unit, it gets a smaller MID screen which we have seen in other Hyundai models. The honeycomb pattern on the dashboard has been carried over too, and the materials used are high-quality making the cabin feel premium with impressive fit and finish.
The front seats are comfortable, and come draped in light-grey fabric upholstery with good cushioning and support. While the driver-side seat can be adjusted for height with a tilt adjustment for the steering wheel, the headrests are fixed which will be inconvenient for tall drivers. Then there are ample storage spaces around with two cupholders at the centre, bottle holders in all doors, and a cooled glovebox to enjoy your cold beverages.
Getting into the rear is easy with wide opening doors and the backrest has a nice relaxed angle while the bench seat has decent under-thigh support. Having said that, the rear row is a little tight on shoulder room and seating three wouldn’t be a comfortable experience. However, occupants do get large windows, aircon vents, and a 12-volt socket along with a seatback pocket behind the front passenger seat. The boot space at 260-litres is sufficient and the low lip further makes loading heavy luggage an easy affair.
Like any other Hyundai, the new Nios is well-equipped and with this update, the cabin benefits from auto headlamps, cruise control, and blue-colour footwell lights in the front row. The infotainment unit supports wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the option to access several menus with the physical buttons further enhances its usability. Other noteworthy additions include a wireless charging pad and a Type-C fast charging port along with the conventional USB port.
Lest we forget, all the variants of the new Hyundai Grand i10 Nios get four airbags (dual-front and dual-side), rear parking sensors, and ABS with EBD. Pick the higher trims and they come with a reverse parking camera, a tyre pressure monitor, and even six airbags for the top-spec Asta variant.
Is the 2023 Grand i10 Nios nice to drive?
With the 2023 update, the Hyundai Nios has bid adieu to the peppy 1.0-litre turbo-petrol and 1.2-litre diesel mills. So, the Nios soldiers on with the existing 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine that puts out 82bhp and 114Nm of torque. The motor is also offered in a CNG version that generates 68bhp/95Nm. While the petrol guise is offered with a five-speed manual and an AMT unit, the CNG alternative sticks to the manual gearbox only.
As Hyundai says, the good thing about the petrol motor is that it is RDE or Real Driving Emissions ready, which means that the new Nios is compliant with phase two of BS6 emission norms which will be effective from 1 April, 2023. Moreover, the Nios’ petrol engine continues to be one of the quiet and most refined motors in the business. The mix of a light clutch with smooth gear shifts makes it extremely easy to drive in the city. Sure, it doesn’t feel as lively like its turbo version and the power delivery is quite linear, the Nios does pick pace post 2,400rpm and pulls cleanly without hiccups till 5,000rpm.
The engine doesn’t knock or lug at lower speeds and with an adequate bottom-end grunt, it is easy to drive the Nios in a gear higher than the intended one. Even at highway speeds, cruising at 80-100kmph is effortless, and it doesn’t feel strained and manages to keep pace without any complaints. Having said that, as you climb up the speed, the tyre noise does filter into the cabin.
The steering, like most Hyundais, is light but devoid of feel. It’s quick and even self-centres, which is a boon in city traffic and parking the Nios in tight spots is a breeze. However, out on the highways, although you can sense it weighing up, it just feels disconnected. Talking about the ride quality, the Hyundai Nios absorbs small bumps and undulations at moderate speeds easily. However, accelerate and ride the hatchback through some sharp potholes or ruts, the ride gets unsettled and can be felt inside the cabin. The ride also gets a bit bumpy at the rear before the suspension settles back.
Should you buy the 2023 Grand i10 Nios?
The Hyundai Grand i10 has completed a decade in the Indian market. And with this mild rehash, even today, it makes for a great family hatchback as it offers a myriad of features, is easy to drive, and has a well-appointed cabin. The petrol engine too, with the convenience of an AMT, is refined and is future-ready for stricter emission norms.
Yes, the new Nios doesn't have a spacious rear row and the diesel and turbo-petrol mills are sorely missed. But, at a starting price of Rs 5.68 lakh (ex-showroom), the Nios is approximately Rs 25,000 to Rs 48,000 more than the outgoing version, and with that premium, the hatchback offers a CNG version and enhanced safety features which indeed make for a compelling buy.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi