The year was 2013. Hyundai was making hay with its original i10, which was already six years old at the time. But internationally, it had to be updated. Enter the Grand i10. Now even though the Grand was supposed to replace the original i10, as is the case with most of our carmakers, Hyundai decided to milk this high selling model till it ran dry in India.
Fast forward to today and the original i10 is running on fumes and it should be discontinued in a matter of months. As for the Grand i10, with over three years under its belt, it needed a nip and tuck to beat its mid-life crisis. Okay, crisis might be a strong word given the Grand still sells in great numbers. But then, there’s young, more energetic and better-endowed competition on the market now; read, the Maruti Suzuki Ignis.
Right on cue, Hyundai has helped its highest selling car along with some telling changes. Here’s what the car feels like now…
As part of the 2017 update, the new Hyundai Grand i10 gets three big changes on the outside. In this top of the line Asta trim, it gets a more sculpted front bumper with day time running LED lights. These bumpers, says Hyundai, besides giving the Grand a sportier presence, also helps the car’s aeros creating an air curtain around the front wheels. The end result is better fuel economy.
The rear bumper is new too. And though it doesn’t have any functional benefit, it does give the Grand that hint of freshness its rear-end needed so badly. The alloy wheel design is new too. Among the smaller changes is a revised grille, a longer antenna and the keyless entry access button is now only on the driver’s side. So, have these changes given the Grand a new lease on life? Not visually. It still looks a little staid against its newest challenger, the Ignis.
As with the exterior, there are three big changes to the 2017 Grand i10’s insides as well. The top spec Asta trim now gets a single zone climate control; it has a fancier audio unit (detail explanation on that coming up); and now there’s a reversing camera as well. But, the highlight of the interior is the new multimedia system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. All it takes is a USB cable, the android auto app installed on your phone (should be the same for iPhone users) and a Bluetooth connection between the audio unit and the phone. And you are set.
Now, you can play music, read your texts and activate navigation via voice commands. This is the first time I have used Android Auto for prolonged periods in a car. And I must say, I am impressed. Also impressive, as before, is the practicality the Grand i10’s interior offers. It has a large cooled glovebox, lots of usable stowage space, and cup and bottle holders to keep a four-member party happy. There’s also little to complain about the seating comfort or space.
Having said that, I am no longer a fan of the Grand’s interior design. The dash design looks a bit dated now and the large round dials for everything from air vents to aircon controls to even the instrumentation lacks imagination.
But the performance, courtesy the new diesel engine, is outstanding on the new Grand i10 1.2 D. It displaces 1186cc and makes 75bhp. But more importantly, the torque rating is up to 190Nm from 160Nm on the older 1.1-litre engine. The specs on paper finally put it on par with the Maruti Suzuki Swift or even the Ignis for that matter. The gearbox meanwhile is a five-speed manual and there’s no automatic option on offer just yet.
On the road, the Grand i10 proves to be quicker than the Swift. It only took 13.2 seconds to complete the 0-100kmph run and another five seconds to go past the 400m mark from a standstill. There’s a dramatic improvement in the car’s driveability as well compared to the older Grand i10. The 1.2D is four seconds quicker in the 40-100kmph-tractability test against the 1.1-litre diesel powered Grand. What’s more, Hyundai says, the drop in fuel efficiency isn’t significant on the new car.
One can feel this difference even without the help of a VBOX. The throttle response is sharper, there’s more grunt all across the rev range, and courtesy the gearing, one can’t really feel the turbo lag on the new car either. The 1.2D Grand i10 pulls cleanly all the way to 4,500rpm and though it gets noisy past 3,500rpm, one doesn’t really need to go there. Keep the Grand i10 1.2D between the 1,500 to 2,500rpm and it is happy to motor around in this rev range all day be it in the city or doing triple digit speeds on the highway.
Ride is another strong quality of the Grand i10. It might seem a bit noisy over poor surfaces. But, the absorption quality and the suspension’s ability to keep all the tyres connected to the road no matter the size of bumps and potholes or the frequency and amplitude of road ripples, is excellent. It does make for a comfortable car.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||75@4000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||190@1750|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||43|
|Tyre size||165/65 R14|
|Apple CarPlay / Andriod Auto||Yes|
|Dual Front Airbags||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||75@4000||75@4000||99@3750|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||190@1750||190@2000||215@1750|
|Gears||5-speed manual||5-speed manual||5-speed manual|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||43||32||40|
|Tyre size||165/65 R14||175/65 R15||175/65 R14|
The only aspect we haven’t touched upon yet is the new Grand i10’s dynamic ability. For starters, it feels stable and safe at three digit speeds on the highway, so that’s well covered. It’s got decent brakes too. But, if you love driving, the Grand i10 might not appeal to you. The steering lacks feel, the chassis seems mute and though it feels up to the task of taking on quick direction changes, it really isn’t a car that excites.
But, if you are looking for a practical, comfortable, usable and easy to live with diesel-powered hatchback, the new Grand i10 fits the bill. It’s well equipped too in this Asta trim. And with the current generation Swift on its swan song, not to mention the Ignis’ polarising appeal, the Grand really has it good with at least another three years left in it and a design that’s certainly more palatable.
Pictures: Kapil Angane