First drive review: Hyundai GRAND i10

Full Throttle

There has been a long-standing void in Hyundai’s lineup for India – between the i10 and i20. The i10 is too small and the i20 slightly ‘more premium’ for the hottest selling hatchback segment. Now, Hyundai is all set to fill that the gap with the launch of a completely new car – the GRAND i10.

The GRAND i10 is still in the testing stage but I recently got my hands on one of the pre-production cars and initial impressions are simply amazing.

Design and Features

Although it’s called GRAND i10, the car is built on a completely new platform and there is nothing ‘i10-ish’ about it. The car resembles more of an i20, both in terms of size and features. Since the cars are still in the testing stage, they are heavily camouflaged and I’m unable to comment on the design in detail. However, it’s evident from the teaser photographs that the GRAND i10 follows Hyundai’s ‘fluidic’ design language and looks as stunning as any other Hyundai cars.  All new tail light design and dual-tone alloy wheels are unique to the new model.

Interiors were slightly camouflaged, too, but it was evident from whatever I saw that the cabin quality of the GRAND i10 shames more expensive models. Plastics look premium and feel premium, too. The driving position is spot-on, the seats are comfy and the steering wheel is adjustable and nice to hold. Like the i10, the gear lever is ergonomically placed on the dashboard.

I was literally surprised by the cabin space - especially the legroom and headroom for the rear passengers – and the first-in-class features like rear a/c vents and built-in audio memory.  The GRAND i10 also offers premium features such as push-start button, automatic a/c, steering-mounted audio and Bluetooth controls and glove-box chiller.

Performance, Ride and Handling

There are two engines to choose from in the GRAND i10 – an all-new 1.1 litre U2 diesel and 1.2 litre Kappa petrol. Hyundai offered me to drive the new U2 diesel for a few kilometres and by the three-cylinder standards, the engine is very refined. It is near-silent when idling and the overall NVH levels are well controlled.

There is negligible turbo-lag and gear ratios and well spread out for effortless city driving. However, you need to thrash the 1.1-litre ruthlessly to pick up speed. The GRAND i10 is pretty stable at speed and doesn’t totter around when pushed hard into a corner.

Hyundai is yet to reveal the performance figures and mileage. However, it is almost certain that the 1.1 litre U2 is going to be the most fuel-efficient diesel engine in India, with an expected mileage of more than 26kmpl.

Overall, the GRAND i10 is a well-sculpted, well-equipped, practical and affordable hatchback. Hyundai is conducting the national media test drive in the first week of September, so watch this space for some exciting details and figures.

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