Right after receiving healthy success with the Santro, the Korean automaker debuted the i10 nameplate in 2007 with the first-generation model. A premium alternative to the Santro, the Hyundai i10 captivated audiences with its premium looks – premium had a different quotient back then – and a decent equipment list. In September 2013, Hyundai added a Grand prefix to the i10, the Grand i10 as a result was launched in the Indian market. The Grand i10 held its ground very well thanks to the premium interiors and a very well-rounded design.
Now in 2019, Hyundai has added yet another suffix to the i10, namely Grand i10 Nios. The Grand i10 Nios is essentially the third-generation of the mid-size hatchback – or some might say second generation Grand i10. Interestingly, Nios means more in Irish. And as per the Korean giant, the Grand i10 Nios is meant for millennials. So, do you really get more with the Nios? Here’s a sneak peek from our Hyundai Grand i10 Nios First Drive review.
Yes, indeed. In fact, a brochure to brochure comparison reveals 40mm of length and 20mm of added width over the Grand i10. As far as design is concerned, the Nios takes over an evolutionary path rather than a revolutionary one. The front end, with its sharply raked bonnet creases, sweptback headlamp – which are now snazzy projector units, large cascading grille with boomerang-shaped LED DRLs pushed to either end and projector fog lamps give the Nios an exceedingly sporty appeal.
In profile, the resemblance to the Grand i10 is still evident. It does look stretched and sportier – thanks to the added 40mm length and 25mm wheelbase. The 15-inch diamond cut alloy wheels are an inch bigger than the Grand i10. What will certainly grab your fancy is the floating roof and the shark-fin antenna. Moreover, the blacked-out C-pillar proudly flaunts G-i10 badging, embellished in a honeycomb pattern. At the back, the stance is now crisper and familiar. There’s no denying that the rear tail lamps and creased tail gate display a strong connection with the Tata Tiago and Ford Figo to some extent. However, the rear skid plate adds a dose of sportiness to the otherwise boring design.
While the exterior portrays a revolutionary update, the interior of the Grand i10 Nios is an evolution over its predecessor. First and foremost, Hyundai deserves full marks for taking a risk with silver and black interior theme, and essentially getting rid of the beige colour altogether. Now, if you think the silver colour requires more upkeep, there is also an option of sporty black interior with red/aqua teal inserts.
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As in case with other Hyundais, the Nios feels a notch upmarket and tactile when it comes to the cabin’s fit-and-finish. The steering wheel – borrowed from the Venue – feels upmarket, and the nappa leather stitching exudes a sense of plushness. Then there’s the instrument binnacle that incorporates the 8.0-inch touchscreen. The instrument cluster loses out on a conventional speedometer in favour of a 5.3-inch horizontal MID. The MID, along with various essential information now also displays the exact gate opened.
Hyundai also claims there’s more space inside the cabin. So, does it offer Nios space? The front seats are extremely supportive and soft cushioning – as we experienced in our Hyundai Grand i10 Nios review – aids in long-distance driving. But it’s the rear space and comfort that’s a step ahead of its predecessor. The rear bench offers good under-thigh support, and there’s ample amount of knee and leg space in the rear. However, there is no headrest for rear passenger and adjustable headrests for the other passengers are only limited to the top-spec Asta variant.
The Nios is powered by the same set of engines that we have seen earlier in the Grand i10. The 1.2-litre kappa petrol engine – now BS-VI compliant – is capable of churning out 82bhp and 114Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the BS-VI ready 1.2-litre U2 diesel produces 74bhp and 190Nm of torque. While the engines produce the same power and torque as before, Hyundai claims a better fuel efficiency on all engine-gearbox options than the Grand i10. Speaking of gearbox, the torque converter is now axed in favour of a cost-effective and frugal AMT on both the petrol and diesel.
Starting with the petrol, the engine feels supremely refined at idle. The Kappa motor enjoys being revved, and the smoothness of power delivery makes driving the petrol a rather comforting experience. The manual gearbox is quite decent, but it’s the AMT that isn’t quite exciting. And unlike the Santro AMT, the automated gearbox on the Nios seems to be missing a trick. The diesel, on the other hand, remains to be a peppy performer. The 190Nm of torque is available from as low as 1,750rpm, translating into eager and enthusiastic power delivery, in the city as well as the highway. However, the engine loses its steam past 4,000rpm and the diesel clatter seeps in the cabin, hampering the overall experience.
The chassis of the Grand i10 Nios has been reworked for added stiffness. Meanwhile, the suspension is set on the softer side. As a result, the ride quality of the Nios is simply impeccable, as it strikes a good balance between filtering through bad roads and high speed stability. For an automaker that was previously known to produce cars with almost vague handling, Hyundai has vastly improved the dynamics in their newest offerings. And the Nios is no different. The steering is light at lower speeds, and it weighs up brilliantly sufficing a genuine feedback from the front wheels.
In the product presentation of the Nios, Hyundai officials were very clear about the Nios’ chief rival – the Maruti Suzuki Swift. And it’s completely evident that the Nios is set to make things harder for the country’s largest automaker. Sure, the styling at the side and rear doesn’t match up to the front. And yes, it does miss out on some nifty features. But you simply can’t go wrong with the Nios as it offers Nios ride quality, Nios driving dynamics, Nios build quality and Nios value for money proposition. So, is the Nios really more than the Grand i10? As a matter of fact, it is. For the full Hyundai Grand i10 Nios First Drive review and spec-to-spec comparison with rivals, be sure to tune in to autoX.