October 2, 2019
The Hyundai Grand i10 retails at a starting price of 6.09 lakhs (on-road, Bangalore)
Buy the grand i10 NIOS if you:
1. Plan to drive 80% in city and 20% on highway
2. Want a overall package of Style, decent comfort, ride/handling and good drivability in the city
3. Want an ultra reliable hatch. This car can drive exactly the same way even after 10 years. That’s the beauty of Hyundai
4. Don’t mind paying extra premium only for the fabulous quality everywhere
5. Plan to sell it overnight even after 5 years, you will still get a good resale value. The i10 has a superb demand in the used car market
‘Nios’, incidentally, means ‘more’, and signifies that this car offers more than the current Grand i10.
It is meant to deliver more features and space for a generation of buyers seeking a safer and loaded small car. So, even though it is bigger than the current model, the Nios is about 40 kg lighter thanks to an increase in the use of advanced and high-strength steel. It is also about 40 mm longer, with an increase of 25 mm in wheelbase and 20 mm in width
In its headlamp and a dominating grille design, the new Grand i10 Nios has taken the direction that was first seen in the Santro. So, the resemblance to Hyundai’s entry small car is quite striking. Except for some of the special bits like the boomerang-shaped LED DRLs that frame the new, glossy black bonnet grille and the projector bulbs within the headlamps, this could be mistaken for the Santro from a distance. Of course, on closer inspection, the larger dimensions and the more premium finish make it abundantly clear that this is the Nios. It is still very Grand i10-like in terms of its overall design lines, only now it sports sharper creases and more emphasis on its wheel arches and haunches. A lot of them mistook this for the Tiago from the rear. I am not surprised though.
Coming to the sides, the car has a bit of a rounded silhouette but everything looks proportionate. It gets new 15-inch alloy wheels which look quite similar to the one we have seen on the Hyundai Venue. It also gets chrome handlebars and a floating roof design with some badging on the C-pillar. And then, we come to the back.
One look and you will definitely mistake this for the Tata Tiago. However, if there was one thing I could change, that would be at the back of the car as there’s a lot of lettering going on at the boot lid which makes the car look cluttered and does not go with the overall clean design. But overall, what really works in its favour is that the Nios isn’t trying too hard to look sporty or SUV-ish, it’s simply a good-looking hatchback and the good bits continue when you step inside the cabin as well.
This is where the car looks very, very premium. The steering feels feels great to hold in accordance with a hatch back.
The dials are neatly laid out and it does not feel out of the place. The volume control knobs are built using sturdy quality of plastic. For some reason, the touchscreen feels out-of-place. Reminds me of the one from the GLA. I loved the texture on the dashboard of the passenger side. There is ample space for storing your knick-knacks. The gear lever feels superb to operate. In a nut-shell the interiors feel home if you have driven a Hyundai before.
It’s no bad thing that Hyundai’s stuck with the same engines as before, as both 1.2-litre units are smooth, refined and well-suited to a car of this type – a small, urban hatchback. A bigger point to note in the scheme of things is Hyundai’s decision to retain its small diesel engine and eventually upgrade it to BS6 emissions standards, which could give it a big advantage over Maruti – the brand has chosen to remove diesel from its small cars entirely. We drove the petrol with the manual gearbox.
Unlike any other Hyundai, the i10 NIOS feels way better to drive. Yes, the steering feedback is leaps and bounds ahead of the i20. It’s fairly direct if not as good as the first-gen Figo. It’s feather light at parking speeds which would be highly appreciated by the aam janta. The ride is also compliant on most of the surfaces. The problem arises when you want to come back to the previous speed without downshifting after you lower the speed. The car kind of struggles to get back to life. A downshift becomes necessary else you wouldn’t want to mess up things on a expressway.
The car retains it plush ride quality and dispatches bumps and potholes with ease. Even on bigger undulations, the ride experience is not jarring. The pleasant surprise here is the handling. It goes up by a notch and there is a hint of improvement in the steering feedback over the Grand i10 as well. So, it is more comfortable with those occasional high speed corners and the vagueness that the earlier model had, has been nullified to a great extent. The cabin offers a quiet drive experience and the NVH levels go up too when compared to the Grand i10.
The Grand i10 Nios is available with dual airbags, ABS with EBD, seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters, rear parking sensors and emergency stop signal as standard. Speed-sensitive door locks and impact-sensing door unlock systems are also available on all variants except for the base Era variant.
By over-emphasising the rivalry, Hyundai may have unwittingly put the spotlight on one competitor. But, the Swift versus the new Grand i10 Nios is a difficult comparison with both having a few features that the other one doesn’t have. In terms of performance, the Swift would still feel sportier to drive, though the new Nios is much refined overall and improved in terms of cornering stability and handling. But, until the current gen Grand i10 and the Nios co-exist, the focus for Hyundai must be more on whether the higher price positioning for the latter and the lowered price for the former is a sustainable strategy.
It looks good, packs in a whole lot of features and has likeable performance too. There are multiple variants to choose from and the pricing we believe, is competitive too! It is a wholesome package and the Hyundai Grand i10 NIOS, it will definitely give some food for thought to its rivals.
But, in the end premiumness does come at a slightly higher price.