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2017 Hyundai Grand i10 1.2D First Drive Review

What is it?

The new for 2017 Hyundai Grand i10 is the Korean carmaker’s answer to the Maruti Suzuki Ignis. Now, while the Ignis – and no matter how you cut it – is youthful, trendy and a bit peculiar, the Grand i10 is more staid and non-polarising. As part of the 2017 upgrade the Grand does get some styling tweaks; the front bumper is sportier and gets LED DRLs, the rear bumper now has a slab of additional black cladding along with large round reflectors, and the alloy wheel design is new too. But, it’s still more a white Tee mixed with blue denim than a beard, suspender and bright ankle length pant ensemble, which is the Ignis. 

Hyundai has, however, made a bigger change to the drivetrain. The petrol is essentially unchanged – four-cylinder, 1197cc, and 83bhp engine mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Hyundai does claim that the petrol-powered car is now more efficient though. The diesel engine in the meantime has grown. It now displaces 1186cc and makes 75bhp. More significantly, the torque rating is up to 190Nm from 160Nm. The gearbox, like in the petrol, remains a five-speed manual but there’s still no automatic option available on the diesel powered Grand i10.

How is it on the inside?

Again, it’s more Seeta than Geeta on the inside. So, the virtues remain – the fit and finish is good, the ergonomics are spot on, and interior room as on the earlier car, is more than adequate for four. The boot space isn’t bad either. Plus, the quality on the inside is difficult to fault. It’s all hard plastic but the texture gives it an upmarket feel.

 

Additionally, Hyundai has updated the Audio system to a 7-inch touchscreen unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It has also thrown in a single zone climate control system and a reversing camera in the mix. The multifunctional steering wheel, cooled glovebox and the plethora of stowage spaces – enough for even Mr Mask himself to empty out his pockets – continue as standard on this top of the line Asta trim.

But in terms of design, the Grand’s interior does look a little old now. The unimaginative circular aircon vents and controls, the dull buttons on the dashboard, and the lackluster analogue instrumentation seems like going back to the Nokia age all over again. I am not a fan of the seat fabric and design either. Seating comfort though, is pretty good.

How does it drive?

It is quick! And not because the earlier diesel Grand i10 was a laggard. Apart from the tweaks on the outside and the new touchscreen multimedia system, the new Grand i10 also boasts of a new, higher capacity, more powerful diesel engine. It’s still a three-cylinder unit as the older 1.1-litre engine, but with the torque rating being significantly higher and tweaked turbo settings, the new car feels much more alive.

 

Just to bring things in perspective, the Grand i10 1.2D posted a 0-100kmph time of 13.21 seconds making it quicker than even the Swift. Compared to the older Grand, it’s almost seven seconds faster to 100kmph. The difference in in-gear roll-ons (a reflection of the car’s driveability) is equally telling. The new Grand completes the 40-100kmph roll-on in 4th gear in just 12.89 seconds while the older diesel took over 17 seconds. The Grand i10 1.2D also only takes 18.34 seconds to complete the 0-400m run.

Even if we were to keep the times aside, the new car’s throttle response is more alert. And, even though the 1.2-litre diesel doesn’t have the same seamless power delivery characteristic of the older, lesser powerful engine, it’s still quite linear. Moreover, one can finally feel the presence of a turbo under that hood, but its lag is rarely felt. The sweet spot, especially in the city is between 1,500 and 2,500rpm. There’s enough torque to keep up and overtake traffic, the engine remains quiet and vibe free, and though we haven’t tested it yet, this should also result in good fuel economy figures.

 

Another plus over the older engine is the improvement in the top-end performance. While the older 1.1-litre would start losing steam close to 3,500rpm, the new engine keeps up the momentum till about 4,500rpm, with a slight drop in the rate of acceleration at around 4,000rpm. It makes the new diesel powered Grand i10 a much better highway car as a result.

The only downside is the noise and a hint of vibrations that creep in beyond 3,000rpm. The engine begins to take the typical granular diesel engine note hereon and only gets louder as the revs rise. But lest we forget, we love the shift quality of the gearbox; it has short, crisp and predictable throws. The clutch is a delight to use too, especially in stop and go traffic. It is light and progressive.

The ride and handling characteristic of the car, meanwhile, is almost the same as the older car. So, the new Grand i10 still has a supple and absorbent ride, which gets better with speed. It’s not exactly plush but it is settled and is a big positive for the car. It takes mild bumps, shallow potholes, road ripples and road joints in its stride and there’s no excess wallowing over undulating roads either. It’s only when the road patchiness gets serious that the Grand’s ride gets noisy, and at times a bit thumpy. The latter is especially true for the rear.

Around a twisty road, the vague and artificial feeling steering (mainly around the centre) takes away from the fun factor. The Grand also doesn’t feel very crisp and strong under brakes. And though it never felt nervous or wayward, be it entering a corner and making quick direction changes, it just doesn’t communicate or excite you enough to put a grin on your face. It’s capable, yes, but not a lot of fun.

Should I buy one?

The 2017 Hyundai Grand i10 might not be as refreshing (or different) to look at as the new Ignis. It might not even have the latter’s funky insides. And to be honest, even though it is easy to drive and live with, it isn’t exactly exciting for the driver; it’s quick 0-100kmph time notwithstanding. But, when it comes to being a functional hatchback, the Grand scores handsomely.

 

It is spacious, quiet, practical, and comfortable. It’s not short of equipment either with a fancy audio unit, steering mounted controls, a cooled glovebox, reversing camera and climate control. So yes, it is certainly worth buying. No wonder it is one of Hyundai’s highest selling cars in the country.

Where does it fit in?

Traditionally, the Grand i10 has been a Swift competitor. But, now with the Ignis entering the fray and the Swift due for an update, which will take its pricing and positioning a level higher, Grand will have its mirrors full with the funky hatch. It also has to contend with the Ford Figo, but with the latter’s sale numbers being significantly lower, the Ford isn’t a threat just yet.

 
Pictures by Kapil Angane
 
Click here to know more about 2017 Hyundai Grand i10 variants
 
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Hyundai Grand i10 Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
Bangalore₹ 6.07 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 5.83 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 5.92 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 5.64 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 5.88 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 5.56 Lakhs onwards
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