Hyundai’s Exter seeks to fill a small, but important gap in its portfolio. But will it master the game again?
- Spacious inside
- Smooth-shifting AMT
- Loaded with features
- Light controls are a boon in traffic
- Fit and Finish is excellent
- Polarising styling
- More premium Venue can be had for not-much-more
- Steering lacks feedback at higher speeds
- Low rear bench more hatch than crossover
- No turbo-petrol engine offered
Hyundai’s i10 has been hitting the nail on its head ever since the first generation was launched in 2008. The latest version of it, the Grand i10 Nios has been no different. Now though, with the SUV craze not willing to subside, they have decided to give the people what they want, hence the Exter. The Exter enters a now crowded segment of these hatch-crossovers, also called as micro SUVs with a full intent to dominate it aggressively. But it’s no cakewalk with proper heavyweights present as well. Will the Exter be enough to crack it? Read on to find out.
Hyundai Exter Design & Dimensions
Simple and Inoffensive is the first impression the Exter’s design makes. It does not shatter any ideas but at the same time, is likeable if a bit overdone in some elements. Afterall, radical designs do not go well in a conservative, mass market segment such as this. Despite being simple though, its not boring at all! Take the sleek H-shaped DRLs for the matter, or even the bold creases towards the side extending till rear fenders and you will get why it will age well.
Further, the upright windshield and large windows amplify the “badi-gaadi” image it aims to portray. Other interesting bits include the roof rails, the textured panels on the C pillar and the taillamp connecting strip at the rear. While the 15 inch alloys sure do have an interesting design, they get lost underneath the tall and bulky body of the Exter.
Hyundai Exter Interior & Features
Inside, the Exter feels at home if you have been around a new Hyundai in the recent past. The dashboard, steering wheel and a lot of other bits are borrowed from the Nios and Aura. That may not be such a terrible thing though with the excellent quality levels around. There are no soft-touch plastics but they do not feel cheap either. The ergonomics are spot on with all controls falling to your hands easily. One notable change is the new fully-digital instrument cluster which is shared with the more premium siblings like the Venue and Verna. There are also various accents finished in the exterior shade to contrast the all-black interior which brings a nice quirk into the mix without going overboard.
The seats come finished in an all-black theme which, though easier to maintain don’t feel as inviting as the Nios’ light grey shade. The front seats offer good support although feel a bit and lumbar support could be improved. The rear seat is the redeeming point though, with a sense of space you would not expect in this segment. Headroom is more than plenty, kneeroom is outstanding as well. The seats are low set though so don’t expect an SUV-like feel. The width is also a constraint and while three might be a tight fit, it does a good job with two on the rear bench.
Equipment levels are as good as they get at this price point. There are features such as an electric sunroof, wireless charging, cruise control, auto projector headlamps, paddle shifters(AMT only), 15 inch alloys, a dual camera dashcam, 8 inch touchscreen with connected car technology, Highline TPMS and a whole lot more. Safety is also given importance this time with 6 airbags as standard, ESP, Hill Hold Assist, ESC and Stability Control being part of the package. However, we must mention that the Exter has not been crash tested yet.
Hyundai Exter Performance
Powering the Exter is a familiar Kappa 1.2L NA four-cylinder petrol engine. Like the Nios and Aura, it produces 82HP and 113NM as well. Coupled to this is a 5 speed MT or an optional 5 speed AMT. We got to drove the AMT version for this review. Start the car and you barely notice the engine sound. Hyundai’s forte has been the lovely NVH levels and it shows. The Exter is very silent while at idle and even on the move you will hardly notice the engine. The 5 speed AMT gearbox has always been one of the better ones to hit our shores and this too has been given even more improvements. The shifts are smooth and drive sedately and you won’t even notice it!
A unique Exter feature is the inclusion of paddle shifters which do their bit to increase the fun quotient when you desire to take control. Suspension on the other hand has a slightly firm setup. The tall body also let’s in a bit of body roll when you take the corners sharply. The steering feels typically Hyundai- feather light at city speeds but a tad nervous when at triple digits. Talking of the driving position, the low dash and a “tall-boy” stance makes it very easy to drive in the city. The ORVMs are large and the massive rear windshield makes sure you can see any and everyone headed your way. Overall, the Exter makes for an excellent city car but can feel a bit slow and wallowy at triple digits. It is at it’s most comfortable dealing with the daily grinds in traffic jams.
Hyundai Exter Verdict
Dominate Hyundai is sure to do. With so many excellent qualities, the Exter is quite close to being the perfect package. A barrage of safety features, tech which will lure even the geekiest of Gen Zs, light controls and a good amount of space is sure to turn heads in its direction. Quite literally too, the Exter has unique styling which makes sure you don’t blend in the traffic, well, atleast not too easily. Hyundai is clearly aiming for the top spot here and we feel the Exter is a good tool to achieve that task.
What we would have liked better though is if Hyundai voluntarily sends it for a Global NCAP assessment just to assure buyers in an increasingly more safety-conscious market especially when there are rivals who have come out of it with flying colours. Then again, it does what it is meant to extremely well and that is why the Exter is a great candidate to tackle the urban jungles. Just don’t expect thrills though.
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