2017 Hyundai Grand i10 facelift review, test drive
7th Feb 2017 11:18 am
Hyundai has given the refreshed Grand i10 more equipment and a bigger and more powerful diesel engine.
The Grand i10 is Hyundai’s best-selling car because it is a fantastic all rounder. It’s well-built, feature-loaded, spacious and easy to drive. Now, Hyundai has given it a mid-life makeover by freshening its looks and adding some much-needed features. But this isn’t just a cosmetic upgrade; the engines have been tweaked too. While the petrol promises to return marginally more out of every last drop of fuel, the diesel engine has been enlarged and has a bit more performance.
The new model split now comprises of five variants – Era, Magna, Sportz, Sportz (O) and Asta. While the base ‘Era’ petrol variant is almost Rs 40,000 cheaper at Rs 4.58 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), it falls short in terms of the kit when compared to its newest competitor, the Ignis, which gets dual airbags, ABS with EBD, tilt steering, speed sensing door locks and more. The top ‘Asta’ variants are around Rs 30,000 more expensive than the outgoing car priced at Rs 6.40 and 7.33 lakh for the petrol and diesel respectively, and consequently pack in more equipment in terms of daytime running lamps, touchscreen audio system, climate control and a reverse camera. Following the common trend, Hyundai has excluded the automatic gearbox option from the top ‘Asta’ petrol variant and has made it available only with the Magna and Sportz (O) variants, priced between Rs 5.99 and 6.83 lakh respectively.
Changes to the exteriors are subtle yet effective. The car gets a redesigned front air dam with a new large grille area and L-shaped fog lamp housings. New smart daytime running lights (DRLs), located beside the fog lamps, automatically turn off once the handbrake is engaged. There are new 14-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and, around the rear, there's a new bumper as well. The request sensor (key-linked push-button) located on the passenger-side front door handle has been silently deleted with this update. And the new Grand i10, in an effort to improve radio frequency reception, gets a much longer roof antenna.
What’s it like on the inside?
Hyundai has managed to retain the Grand i10’s very upmarket cabin, even managing to improve it in many ways. Fit and finish in fact are every bit as good, with some bits feeling even better made, and quality of the bits you touch, like the gear lever and the steering wheel, feel so good – this still feels like a car from a segment above. There's now a new 7.0-inch touchscreen audio system, with an interface similar to that of the Elantra, and what's nice is that you even get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as part of the software suite. The unit is intuitive and touch sensitivity is nice too. This new audio system will also support voice commands once your smartphone is connected to it. And the screen also doubles up as a display for the newly added reversing camera. The other big addition to the equipment list is the automatic climate control system from its compact sedan sibling. For those looking to buy the lower Sportz variant, even that gets a 5.0-inch touchscreen system with Bluetooth. Even the seats are very comfortable and supportive, and there's so much legroom in the rear that being chauffeur-driven is not a problem either.
There’s just one complaint. While all variants come with a driver airbag, variants upwards of Sportz get dual airbags. And an anti-locking braking system (ABS) is only available only on the top-spec Asta variant. Neither of the variants gets speed-sensitive door locks, which is something that the competition from Maruti gets.
What’s it like to drive?
While power on the petrol engine Grand i10 is similar to that of the outgoing car, the diesel gets a larger more powerful engine. While the outgoing car was powered by a 1.1-litre diesel, this one gets a slightly larger 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine with 75hp (4hp more than before). The engine’s capacity has gone up from 1,120cc to 1,186cc, and there’s a bump up in torque figures too from 160Nm to 190Nm. Max torque, however, is now available for only 500 revs (between 1,750 and 2,250rpm) compared to the 1.1L’s wider 1,250 revs (between 1,500 and 2,750rpm).
On the move, the diesel engine also retains its refined yet responsive character. It still vibrates quite a bit at idle and this vibration can get a bit annoying too, but all this disappears once you put your foot down. Get a few revs up and the three-cylinder smoothens up so nicely that it feels almost petrol-like. Power is delivered in a very linear manner and there’s no noticeable turbo lag to speak of. The additional power and torque may not seem like much in numerical terms but real-world performance is greatly improved, especially so in town. 20-80kph in third gear takes 11.60 seconds compared to the earlier Grand i10 diesel's time of 14.24 seconds. 40-100kph in fourth gear is also down to 13.75 seconds compared to the 17.23 seconds it took on the older car. The Grand i10 generally feels more eager off the line. Press down further – and unlike earlier, where you hit a wall – the Grand i10 now powers on for a bit, with plenty more performance on tap. No, it doesn't feel as peppy as Fiat's 75hp Multijet, used on many a Maruti, but the additional punch does mean you aren't yearning for more power as you were either. The effective powerband is wider than before too but past 4,000rpm, the three-cylinder gets loud and clattery. So, it's best to upshift early and ride the wave of torque, even though the engine spins well up to 5,000rpm. Hyundai claims that both petrol and diesel engines are more fuel efficient thanks to a new alternator management system and better aerodynamics (the latter down to the new front air dam).
The other area where this car is improved is ride and handling. It now takes to the road like a much bigger, more expensive car with commendable sound insulation and good bump absorption. And that little bit of an edge that the earlier car had over sharp bumps, Hyundai seems to have been able to get rid of that too. Even pitching and bobbing on wavy surfaces are well-controlled and the car feels planted and confidence-inspiring at highway speeds. Its steering might not feel very sporty or lively but it is light enough in the city and returns to centre quite nicely on the move. The real jewel, however, is the gearbox. It is light, has a short throw, and, with well-defined gates, makes shifting gears a joy. Even the clutch is nice and light, although the action is a bit springy and at times is a bit difficult to modulate; especially considering the stall characteristics of the three-cylinder motor.
Should I buy one?
With the facelift and the updates to the diesel engine, Hyundai has taken a good product and made it even better. The car feels fresh, beautifully built and the additional power of the diesel makes it a bit nicer to drive too. Sure, even more power on the diesel would have been nicer still and the new Grand i10 still lags behind when it comes to safety kit. But look at what the Grand i10 offers as against what you pay for it, and it's pretty clear why more than 10,000 buyers a month sign on the dotted line for the car. This clearly is one of Hyundai's best cars.
Take a closer look at the facelifted Grand i10 in our image gallery