Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo: First Drive Review
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Has Hyundai’s new turbo-petrol got something to offer for the family man or will it appeal only to the young at heart?
Hyundai has finally gotten into the business of making turbo-petrol hatchbacks, which on the face of it, seems like an exciting proposition. After all, more power and less weight is just what the doctor ordered. But is it really going to change anything when it comes to your daily commute? Will spending all that extra money be worth it? And finally, will anyone really know the difference?
Name: Grand i10 Nios
Variant: Turbo Sportz
Powertrain: 1.0-litre turbo-petrol | 5-Speed MT
Price: Rs 7.75 lakh (ex-showroom India)
To answer that last question first, the Turbo Dual Tone variant of the Grand i10 Nios is based on the hatchback’s Sportz Dual Tone variant and that’s the one we had on test. And when you compare the two, the only difference you will find is the ‘Turbo’ badging on the front grille and the bootlid. You get the same blacked out grille, the same 15-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and the same black interior with body-coloured accents.Thankfully, the similarities mean that the Grand i0 Nios Turbo still continues to flaunt the regular hatchback's handsome looks and classy interior.
There is a non-dual tone version of the Nios Turbo that is Rs 5,000 less expensive, and it doesn’t offer the blacked out bits like the roof and ORVMs.
Since it is based on the Sportz Dual Tone variant, you’ll find that the Turbo variant gets features like the 8-inch touchscreen, the 15-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, projector headlamps and wireless smartphone charging that you’d find in the former. More importantly, as the Turbo variant is based on, and only available in the Sportz Dual Tone variant, you miss out on features present in the Grand i10 Nios’ top-spec Asta variant.
If you are looking to bring the Nios Turbo home, you will have to do without a request button on the door, a push button start/stop system, a cooled glove box, adjustable rear headrests, a rear wipe and wash function, and a luggage lamp.
Engine and Gearbox
Recent years have seen manufacturers go down the three-cylinder path with their turbo-petrol engines and slowly and steadily, these engines are getting more and more refined. But the Nios Turbo takes this statement to a whole new level. Crank the engine and you hardly feel any vibrations. You will be able to make out the thrummy noise you expect of a three-pot but it’s been muted to such an extent that you soon forget it is there.
During your city commutes, you’ll have to keep the engine above 1100-1200rpm as it feels lifeless below it. Between that and the turbo kicking in around 2100rpm, you have enough grunt to cruise around town. However, for a more energetic experience or for overtakes, you will have to push the tacho needle past the 2100rpm mark. You will also find that third gear needs higher rpms, which means you won’t be using it that often in the city. As it is geared tall, it also ends up blunting the turbo’s performance to some extent.
The 5-speed manual gearbox, which is your only option here, also makes your life easier in traffic by smoothly slotting into every gear every time. The travel between gears is also comparatively short, although the slightly heavy clutch will tax your left knee in traffic jams.
Acceleration and roll-on tests:
30-80kmph (3rd gear)
40-100kmph (4th gear)
Build up speeds smoothly and you will hardly feel the turbo kick in. However, if you floor the car, the turbo comes in with a distinct suddenness which does make for a more exhilarating driving experience. Past that, you’ll find that the engine shows no sign of stress in its journey to the redline. So much so that it’s often the rev limiter that will end up reminding you to change gears.The engine’s eagerness to rev and a tall third gear mean you are well into triple digit speeds by the time you shift into fourth. So with fifth gear engaged, you’ll find that the Nios Turbo can easily cruise at highway speeds all day long.
It’s quite efficient as well. Our highway testing revealed a real world fuel efficiency of 20kmpl. In city conditions, it managed to return a respectable 16kmpl.
Going over speed breakers or potholes, you’ll find that the Nios Turbo never once breaks its composure. The obstacles on the road are swiftly dealt with and then it’s back to its original position. That’s great news, seeing that the Nios Turbo feels a tad bit stiffer than the regular Grand i10 Nios.
It however means that more of the road surface can be felt inside the cabin. You’ll not find this downright uncomfortable but it does take away slightly from the more plush experience of the regular Grand i10 Nios.
The Grand i10 Nios going around a corner is nothing to write home about. You’ll find the steering to be typically ‘Hyundai’ -- it’s light at slow speeds but unnaturally weighs up post 80-85kmph. We say unnaturally because while the steering feels more weighted at higher speeds, there is zero feedback. It’s nothing that you can’t live with and you’ll stop noticing it once you have driven the car for a few days.
The Turbo Nios also feels predictable going around a corner. It’s not the sharpest handler out there but you can still have some fun on winding roads.
Now that we have told you everything that’s different in the Turbo Nios, it’s time to answer how different it is compared to the regular Nios when it comes to your daily commute -- and is it worth spending one lakh over the Sportz Dual Tone variant with 1.2-litre petrol engine?
The short answer is, sadly, no. The Nios Turbo doesn’t do much to add to your daily commute, and at the same price, you could go for a fully loaded Asta variant with the 1.2-litre petrol engine. Or, you could get the AMT. So for the ‘family man,’ the Nios Turbo doesn’t make sense.
However, if the family man wants to feel like a young boy again and escape the monotony of city commutes, the Nios Turbo is the perfect tool for that.