At the time of writing this review, the Grand i10 Nios, came with the choice of a 1.2 four-cylinder kappa petrol (BS6), or a 1.2 three-cylinder U2 CRDi diesel (BS4) motor that powers the front wheels. You can also opt for a five-speed manual or an AMT gearbox. We’ve covered the manual versions of both engines in this road test, but you can read more on the petrol automatic here.
Let’s start with the Kappa, and like most petrols, this one too is refined and the power delivery, linear. There’s hardly any buzz, so the inherent qualities of a petrol (the reason why you’d opt for one) pampers you every time you’re at the wheel. The only time the NVH is really felt is when you hover around the motor’s limit.
What’s nice about the power delivery is that there’s a nice usable flow of torque from the word go. Our drivability tests, the 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph, took 13.11 and all of 20.38 seconds respectively. This makes driving in the city an absolute ease. What also simplifies the driving experience is the well-judged gear ratios that allow you to drive as low as 15kmph in third, and 25kmph in fourth gear.
Even then, it’s not like the motor runs out of breath and urges you to downshift, or even stall. In fact, you can even lug the motor in that gear if you’re not in a hurry. This personality also eliminates the gear-shifting chores from everyday commutes and makes it effortless. And, even if you need to, the shifts can be actuated in a breeze thanks to a precise gate, short gear lever and a light clutch. We were caught shifting just for the heck of it; which says a lot.
Let’s talk about the diesel now. Over the years, we’ve come to appreciate the vibe-free manner in which Hyundai tunes their new-age diesel motors. More-so when you know that it is just a three-cylinder unit. There is some buzz in the cabin, unlike its petrol counterpart, but the majority of diesel clatter is so well hidden.
Now, unlike some rival four-cylinder motors that offload a large chunk of the torque as soon as the motor gets on-boost, the Hyundai ones, like this three-cylinder here, gives you enough oomph on-boost. And then some more that’s spread evenly across the entire rev-band. Makes sense to use a three-cylinder then, right?
Yes. Now the diesel Nios gets off the mark easily, even with all seats occupied, thanks to the sufficient torque on tap. Post which, you witness an extremely linear power surge. The reassuring pull starts from as low as 1500rpm. So if you keep the revs around this, in any gear, you can potter around without getting left behind in any crowd. This flexibility brings a lot of convenience, more-so when one deals with a lot of city errands. Plus, given the need, you always have adequate useable power at hand, simply by dropping a gear and nudging the throttle.
To give you an idea, our VBox recorded the 0-100kmph dash in 12.74 seconds, while the 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph drivability tests took a swifter 11.27 and 13.16 seconds. This three-cylinder engine can only be heard prominently when you go north of 3500rpm. And even then, it only sounds coarse. As for the gear shifts, the flexible gearing does not necessitate the need for constant shifting. But even if you did, the light clutch and lever make it a joy to slot gears since it’s simply smooth to operate. It just takes the effort off the whole driving experience, even in bumper-to-bumper traffic.