Hyundai’s mighty little i10 has just crossed an important milestone. Since its launch in 2007, it has sold 12,00,000 units across the globe which, when you consider that it is produced exclusively in India, that’s certainly something to be proud of. And what better way to celebrate such a milestone than with a mile-munching drive around the country in the car itself.
Called i-Drive India, the drive would cover 9,000km of over the span of 25 days, taking the Golden Quadrilateral route. Autocar India was invited along to take the wheel for the leg from Udaipur to Mumbai, and this is how it went.
Also a part of the milestone celebrations, Hyundai recently launched the ‘i-Tech’ i10 – which adds to the already impressive equipment list upmarket features like a reversing camera and a steering-mounted remote for the Bluetooth and audio systems, and this is the car we would be driving.
Getting out of Udaipur’s peak traffic and onto NH8 towards Ahmedabad proved to be a breeze as the i10 made light work of the unruly chaos and managed to dodge the truck traffic once out on the highway as well. But with a clear road ahead, the light steering that made the i10 a proverbial hot knife through butter just a few kilometres before felt a little lacking in feel through the flowing high-speed sections that punctuated the route.
However, the feedback was reasonable when speeds were limited under or around the triple digit mark and the chunky wheel felt great while throwing the car around the few ghat sections we encountered.
The 1.2-litre Kappa 2 motor packs a punch otherwise reserved for cars a segment higher, something made abundantly clear on the many long stretches of highway on the route. Keep your foot down and you can cover ground much faster than expected, like we found out on the arrow-straight Ahmedabad-Vadodara expressway, en route our overnight halt at Silvassa. Barring the slightly vocal engine note past 4500rpm, there was not much else hinting that i10 was approaching top speeds, as SUVs and sedans were effortlessly dispatched in rear-view mirrors.
Despite having covered over 600 kilometres in a span of 10 hours, the i10 hadn’t missed a beat by the time we parked up at our lush green resort in Silvassa for the night. Despite being no highway cruiser, it showed that it wasn’t out of depth on the open road, even though it is much more at home amidst cut-and-thrust city traffic like what we experienced in Udaipur.
Having covered the lion’s share of the journey on the first day, it was a paltry 165-odd kilometres remaining for Mumbai next day. So after spending most of the morning exploring the Silvassa Lion Sanctuary and the towering Madhuban Dam, we got back on the highway around noon and made it to Mumbai in a couple of hours’ time.
For a small hatchback designed for the inner city commute, the little i10 does amiably well on a cross-country highway drive. We may have covered less than one-tenth of the total distance that ‘i-Drive India’ is set to cover, but even the short stint was enough to prove that it would handle the rest of the trip without a fuss.