Almost a year and a half on, with refreshingly few kilometres clocked, the plucky little Aura leaves us to return to the Hyundai fold.
What a ride it’s been, huh? When you factor in The Year That We Wrote Off, it makes sense that it doesn’t feel like the plucky little Hyundai Aura Turbo has been in the Autocar India long-term fleet for 17 whole months! Well, I say Autocar India fleet, but for a great many of those months, its only company was my neighbour’s bicycle in the building parking lot. So much of that time was spent getting to grips with a stay-at-home routine, travelling no further than the grocery store a few blocks away, and then too, using the car simply to have a big, 402-litre boot (which, annoyingly, doesn’t have an external release button) to haul things back in.
UNBOOTABLE: No external boot release switch; only opens via in-car lever or button on key fob
Oh, then of course there was the safety that comes from being in a car altogether; the Aura was my little turbocharged bubble from which I viewed the outside world and evaluated, in my own off-the-cuff way, how well we were recovering from this pandemic. The cupholders were filled with hand sanitiser and surface disinfectant spray, the glove box with spare masks, the door pockets with wet wipes.
STORE AWAY: Plenty of well-sized stowage areas to keep all manner of personal protective equipment.
It’s in these slow, excitement-free months that I actually got to know the other side of this little sedan. No more belting it from corner to corner; no, this phase was all about perfecting clutch-bite points and mastering brake modulation. It was knowing exactly when to shift gears to keep the fuel economy reading in the happy two-digit zone without letting the turbo spool down. It was about forgiving the infotainment for constantly trying to connect to five previously paired phones before ‘settling’ for mine. There was a holiday season thrown in too, and plenty of festivities – in their new, shrunken, COVID-19-restricted form – were attended by my Aura and I.
CONNECT ME NOT: Attempts to connect to every previously paired phone, except mine.
Then the blasted virus came for me and, for one agonising fortnight of home quarantine, my interaction with the tiny turbo terrier was restricted to watching it from my window as my neighbour helpfully started it up for me every weekend; I saw an unexpected new application for connected cars and their remote start functions here.
Suffice it to say, my first day back on the road was celebrated with the same vigour I felt when the car first came into my possession. Neighbourhood kerbs became apexes, the redline my new best friend, and that 13.1kpl figure I’d worked so hard to achieve immediately dropped back down to 9. That’s just the thing about downsized turbo engines, though – they’re only as efficient as the person behind the wheel.
BOOSTER SHOT: Turbo engine transforms this otherwise mundane compact sedan into a tiny thriller.
And this circles back to a point I made in the very first long-term report of the Hyundai Aura – I’m glad Hyundai took the bold risk of offering this 100hp, 1.0 Turbo engine in this car. Yes, it probably doesn’t sell as much as the 1.2 petrol or the diesel, but just the fact that a compact sedan – the type of car born out of a sensible desire to deliver the best bang for one’s buck – comes with this tremendously fun motor is something worth celebrating. It’s not a hot hatch like the Nios, you don’t strictly need the 175Nm of torque like you do in the Venue, and yet, here it is. It’s a contradiction of ideals, one that’s helped bring turbocharging to the masses, and that’s why you’ve got to love it.
Despite being the quintessential lockdown long-termer and certainly not piling on as many kilometres as some of the others, the Aura Turbo proved to be something truly special. To say I grew attached to it is an understatement, and considering people already ask, “Hey, where’s your little red car?” in remembrance, you know it’s left a mark. There were some truly memorable moments, some of them frustrating even, but whatever replaces this flawed but fun little sedan better live up to the high standard it’s set.
Hyundai Aura long term review, fourth report
Hyundai Aura long term review, third report
Hyundai Aura long term review, second report
Hyundai Aura long term review, first report