I love driving, but I hate driving in Mumbai’s terrible traffic. In fact, there are times when I prefer taking the train. Here’s where the Grand i10 comes into the picture. The minute you get behind the wheel and set off, you realise that driving in a crowded city like Mumbai isn’t always a chore. It’s as simple as a flick of the steering here, and a light change of the gears there — nice.
As auto journalists, we tend to give Hyundai a bit of stick for making cars that aren’t fun to drive. There’s one thing we’ve got to hand to the carmaker though – it makes cars that are really easy to drive in the city, which is where you spend most of your time anyway. As I sat there, stuck in traffic on the way to the crowded suburbs of Andheri, (it had already passed the hour mark and I was still a good half hour away from home), I also figured why Hyundai has loaded its cars with features. It’s so you have stuff to do on your dreary commute home — lots of “What does this button do?” and “Whoa, 1GB internal storage”, which by the way is a very useful feature — you don’t have to waste your phone’s battery by connecting it via Bluetooth.
I was pretty happy with the car in the city, so I figured it was time to take it out on the highway — there’s nothing like a long drive to fully understand your car. We were headed to a little campsite near Vashind, not too far from Mumbai. With three people in the back, it was a bit of a squeeze, but it’s not uncomfortable; at least my friends didn’t seem to complain. The air-con works quite well; the rear AC vent, though a useful addition, doesn’t do much to enhance cooling.
The highway is one place where the Grand is a mixed bag, there’s a lot of road noise and you can hear every sharp bump you go over. Also, Hyundai should have tuned the engine to get the kind of jack-of-all-trades nature of the Swift’s motor. It’s just not got the legs for the highway, you often have to downshift and give it a real push to overtake at high speeds. But like we said earlier, this is a car for relaxed driving, and primarily in the city. Over the span of three days, I would have driven over 300km, and with no signs of tiredness, so that’s saying something. It’s definitely a car I wouldn’t mind owning if I only drove to work and back and didn’t care too much about driving thrills. And my favourite part of the car? Its fuel economy — one full tank, a total of Rs 2750 and 750km on the trip computer. Sweet.