Hyundai Grand i10 Nios attempts to take on the Maruti Suzuki Swift

Topics Hyundai | car launch | Weekend Reads

Hyundai Grand i10 Nios. Photo: Kartik Sadekar
The new Hyundai Grand i10 Nios slots into the compact segment, which makes up about 48 per cent of the market. This segment is further split into the low, mid, high and premium categories. Hyundai already has the Grand i10 in the high category, but with the introduction of the Nios, the “regular” Grand i10 will get pushed down a slot and continue to be sold, and the Nios will compete directly with the Maruti Suzuki Swift, which is currently India’s second-largest selling car across categories.

Design-wise, the front features a large grille, which extends down to the bumper in a slightly ungainly manner. Surrounding the grille are boomerang shaped LED DRLs, swept-back projector headlights and circular fog lamps. The profile is elegant, with roof rails, some sharp creases, 14- or 15-inch alloy wheels (depending on the variant), and a neat, blacked-out C-pillar (which could have done without the “G-i0” embossing). The rear three-quarter is the Nios’ best angle, if you ask me — it looks compact and stylish, with elements like a shark-fin antenna and a chrome strip on the bottom of the tailgate.

As usual, the cabin is where Hyundai has really gone all out. The use of grey plastic is unusual in this segment, and it adds a touch of airiness. An 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is on offer, and it works well; another (partly) digital element is the instrument panel, which houses an analogue rev counter and digital speedometer. You also get very useful features like a wireless phone charger, rear A/C vents and a rear-view camera that can be constantly kept on. In terms of seating, this is a cabin for four adults, ideally, with a fifth being a bit of a squeeze. 

Hyundai’s familiar 1.2-litre petrol and diesel engines power the Nios, and their performance is along expected lines, which is to say refined and adequately peppy. The diesel, with 75 bhp and 190 Nm, is a little gruff, but that’s not a deal killer; the BSVI-ready petrol engine is extremely smooth, for its part; it’s easy to hold a 100 kph cruising speed with either engine. The ride quality depends on the size of the wheels. The diesel Sportz variant, with 14-inch alloys, soaked up potholes better than the petrol Asta model, which had 15-inch alloys and tended to thud through undulations on the road. Stability, braking and steering wheel feedback ranged from excellent to adequate, in either car.

What the Nios has in its favour are three things — a diesel engine, which will be made BSVI-ready (Maruti has given up on future diesels, hence), its lower price points across the range and its ease of use. Whether these are good enough for you depends on what kind of driver you are, but in conclusion, I think that the Nios is a very competent product that doesn’t quite match the Swift (or, indeed, the Ford Figo), car for car.

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