Hyundai i-TECH i10 Cross-Country Drive

Full Throttle

Hyundai is on a roll. It has recently achieved another milestone of 1.2 million i10s sold across the globe. What better way to celebrate this accomplishment than with a special edition i10. Called the i Tech i10, the special edition comes with a host of new features.

The i Tech i10can be distinguished by sporty ‘i Tech’ body graphics outside and dual tone red and beige upholstery seats with red dashboard and door armrest inserts inside. The most beneficial add-on is the rear-view parking camera with electro-chromic function on cabin rear view mirror, which is a first-in-segment feature. It also gets a steering-mounted Bluetooth device. The special edition i Tech i10 can be yours if you shell out an extra 15000 rupees than the standard i10.

Well, the celebrations didn’t end there. Hyundai organized a cross-country drive called ‘i Drive India’ to showcase the durability, performance, reliability and fuel efficiency of the i10. Selected automobile journalists got a chance to spend two days each behind the wheel of the special edition i10, as a convoy of three i10s traversed through the country’s diverse terrains, covering a total distance of more than 9000 kilometres over a period of 25 days.

I have driven the i10 many a time before and always admired what the car is capable of. When Hyundai invited me to drive the i Tech i10 from Varanasi to New Delhi, I was only excited to find out how this little car performs on long stints.

Day 1

By happenstance, the i-Drive reached the Holy City of Varanasi on the day of Holi festival. Needless to say, the city looked like a battlefield of colours and the mood couldn’t get any better as the i10s strolled along the streets swarmed by tourists.  Be it the innate apathy of the authorities or, who knows, an attempt to preserve the ‘antiquity’ of the Holy City, nothing seems to be going in favour of the roads here. Overcrowded with rickshaw-pullers and reckless bikers, the patchy narrow roads could be a nightmare for visitors. But for us, getting out of the city was a cakewalk, thanks to the i10’s zippy nature and svelte coachwork.

After a quick photoshoot in front of the Banaras Hindu University and on the banks of the Holy River, we rushed towards Agra along NH2. Since we were supposed to cover more than three-fourths of the distance on the same day, we kept a fast pace.  The i10 offered a planted ride on three digits speeds, but the undulations on the road unsettled her badly.

The road crossed over occasional Dhabas and an array of wheat fields. Scorching summer had sucked the life out of the fields, rendering them fiery amber.

Once we passed Kanpur, road conditions improved but driving habits worsened. ‘The road-belongs-to-my-dad’ attitude is was at its peak here and at every other corner there was a car or a tractor darting towards us in the opposite direction -- and you call it a four-lane expressway!

First leg of the drive ended at Agra late that evening and we stepped out of the car with little fatigue. The i10 may not be among the best choices for a long drive, but its spot-on driving position and amazing ride quality leave you with a big grin on your face at the end of the journey.

Day 2

The second day was more relaxed with less than 200 kilometres to cover, that too along the Yamuna Expressway. The excitement of driving on India's longest six-laned, controlled-access expressway on a misty morning saw us start the drive much earlier than scheduled.

After a brief photo session in front of the Red Fort, we headed towards Noida along the expressway. Covering the total distance of 180 kilometres in about two hours, the i10 emerged as a champion on the expressway. There was surprisingly little cruising noise as the suspension swallowed the frustrating high-frequency patter on the new-age concrete highway.

After living with the i10 for two days, it was no surprise for me that the Hyundai i10 had achieved the remarkable milestone of 1.2 million happy customers. It is arguably the best city car in its segment and offers composed driving dynamics on open roads, thanks to the peppy 1.2 litre engine. Despite its dinky size, the i10 has the feel of a big car inside.  And now, with the special edition, the i10 has got even better with a handful of first-in-class features.

Congrats, Hyundai, on this well-deserved achievement!