by priyadarshan bawikar , Photography : kunal khadse |
September 30, 2013 17:40 IST
This, the Hyundai Grand i10, is one of the more, nay, perhaps most, important cars to land in India this year. So what is it about this new i10 that makes it grander than others? Well, we extensively put it through its paces to find out
There is always a tonne of excitement whenever Hyundai launches a new small car. And the car I've just driven certainly qualifies as one of the most exciting small cars to come to India in a long, long time. Called the Grand i10, this is the latest effort from the Korean auto giant in the premium hatchback market and boy is it an impressive little thing. There had been much hype building up to the moment when Hyundai finally launched the Grand i10 last month. It began life as the Project BA and the first speculation was that Hyundai was making a car that slots right in between the i10 and the i20. Well, this is true and not at the same time.
This is actually the new i10 for Europe and the rest of the world. But as is the way of things in India, Hyundai is keeping the current i10 going and has introduced this new car right alongside it. Don't be fooled by the i10 moniker though. This is a brand new car which shares almost nothing with the i10 that we've had in India for the last 7 years. It is bigger in all the ways that matter, making it more spacious than its namesake and feels more premium in every department. In India, think of this as an i15 of sorts.
Even design wise, the Grand is a complete departure from its predecessor. It's longer, wider and almost as tall - tall enough to classify it as a tall boy. But thanks to its increased dimensions, you'd be hard pressed to say that it actually falls in this category. Overall the styling has taken quite a few steps away from quirky "Kei" car and a big leap towards proper Euro supermini. The Fluidic design language has evolved further with this car and the headlights are now much sharper, the car sports a much larger one piece grille and a funkier design around the fog lights which really spruces up the front end. Unlike a lot of other design efforts which seem to lose steam as they progress from the front to the rear, the Grand makes no such faux pas. The strong shoulder line accentuates the width of the car and the uniquely shaped waistline molding and 8-spoke diamond cut alloy wheels (on the top end Asta model that is) really accentuate the Grand’s more mature design. At the back, you see a clear departure from regular Hyundai hatchback design with brand new taillights, chunky reflectors integrated into the bumper and lots of slashes and cuts all around. Bottom line is that the Grand i10 is beautiful to behold, no matter what angle you look at it from and manages a wonderful mix of radical design and comforting conventionality to keep everyone happy.
And the story inside is no different really. While it might not have the funkiness in design that we’ve seen on recent Hyundai cars such as the Verna and the Elantra, there is a certain ‘grown-up’ aura that the interiors exude, at the same time feeling extremely top notch in terms of quality and the way they’re put together. The two tone design looks very Euro-chic and the company has put a lot of attention to detail in a lot of aspects of the ‘human-machine interface’. The steering wheel for example is small, chunky and not only looks good but also feels great to hold thanks to its leather and matte plastic finish. The same can be said of the various buttons and knobs found inside the cabin. Space wise, it might not be as large on the inside as its elder sibling, the i20, but it’s a marked step over the standard i10. At the front, the tallish centre console creates a nice cocoon for the driver and passenger, while the seats offer excellent support to both back and thighs.
At the back, there’s plenty of space to fit two full-size adults in great opulence on account of this Grand i10 being even grander in proportions than its current European counterpart. The back bench itself is extremely comfortable and the seat back angle is perfect for those long-distance journeys as well. But the best part is that the rear seats get their own air-conditioning vents, which is absolutely a first for this segment of car in India. Overall, the Grand sports a cabin that really sets the benchmark in the hatchback segment, demonstrating as Hyundai has always done, that premium quality and top-notch materials need not come at too high a price.