Now when we have two new niche products within the existing small hatchback segment in the form of WagonR Stingray and Grand i10, queries asking 'which car's better between the two?' started pouring in on our website. So, to figure out which is a better value for money product, we recently drove both the cars and tested their capabilities both within the city and on highway.
Though both the cars belong to different segments and Grand i10 also has a diesel engine on offer, pricing of the petrol version of both these cars makes them competitors. Starting price for the WagonR Stingray and Grand i10 are 4.19 lakh and 4.29 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) respectively. In fact the idea behind launching both these products too is the same, to offer a much plusher version of an already popular model from their respective manufacturer.
As they say 'first impression is the last impression' and like every visible entity, it goes with the cars as well. The first thing that catches the attention is the design of a car, performance, brand name, pricing and even mileage comes later. So, if you are spot on in this department, you have already won hearts and things become easier for you. And such is the case with Hyundai Grand i10, which is no doubt a good looking small hatch with everything in sync. While most expected the design to have more influence from the company's patented fluidic sculpture, I was personally impressed with straight lines and a bit of Fluidic design, which make it a no non-sense looking car. And the credit for the design goes to Thomas Burkle, who was earlier working with BMW and Volkswagen.
The hexagonal one piece grille with sharper headlights and an attractive design around the fog lamps fitted in place, make it look sportier than before. Despite an extended wheelbase sizing 2,425mm, the car doesn't look much elongated, thanks to the prominent black accent given at the Grand i10 doors' bottom. The rear of the car is what impresses the most, it reminds one of Hyundai Veloster, sold in global markets. The wraparound tail-lights extended deep into shoulder line give it a sporty stance. And 8-spoke, 14-inch diamond-cut alloys that are optional add more to its sporty character.
Coming to the Maruti Suzuki WagonR Stingray, it surely is a much better looking car now. Front fascia of the car is where the major design changes are visible. WagonR Stingray is the first hatchback in the country to have adorned projector headlights, however, only the top-end variant has it. Then clamshell bonnet and a glass covering on a redesigned grille, different front bumper with new fog lamps and larger radiator grille help it look young. The side profile however is almost unchanged except the gun metal alloys given on 14inches tyres. Also, the roof rails and blacked out B-pillar get no place in the WagonR Stingray.
The rear too is exactly the same as the regular WagonR, just a spoiler has now been mounted on the roof and tail lights are now with clearer lenses. All in all, the WagonR Stingray looks much younger than before with all these aforementioned changes. Since, the objective of our drive was to figure out which one's a better car, we closely inspected both the vehicles. However, both the car's have their pros and cons, but when it comes to picking one, Hyundai Grand i10 is a clear winner here.
Engine and Performance
Engine is the most important factor that defines the true worth of a car. And we tested both the vehicles up to their limits to inspect their positive and negative aspects in different driving conditions. So, after driving them for hours in hectic city traffic of Delhi, the next day we checked their potential on highway. Before telling you how good or bad these cars performed, let me brief you about the engines that these cars are fitted with. While the Hyundai Grand i10 derives its power from the same 1.2-litre Kappa2 engine, which also does its duty to the old i10, the WagonR Stingray too retains the WagonR's 1.0-litre K-Series engine. So, both the engines are proven and potent ones. The 1.2-litre Kappa2 petrol engine is capable of churning out a maximum power output of 81.9bhp at 6,000rpm, while yielding 113.8Nm of peak torque. On the other hand, WagonR Stingaray sporting the 1.0-litre K-series engine produces 67.1bhp at 6,200rpm and 90Nm of torque.
How both cars performed within city traffic?
Since both the vehicles are mainly developed for daily commuting, the real test was how they performed in ideal city driving conditions. We tried to figure out how good they were in manoeuvring in busy city traffic and where they lacked. Hyundai i10 has always been a performer within city, due to its light steering and impressive seating position. And the same has been carried forward in the Grand i10. It's extremely light steering wheel makes driving stress free in crowded scenerios. Moreover, the 4.8mm of turning radius helps the car take turns effortlessly.
Since the roads were in bad shape when we drove the vehicle, I somehow had a doubt on car's competency in such conditions. But let me be honest, the car proved me entirely wrong, it performed really well, thanks to its well researched suspension set-up. What also impressed me is its ability to absorb the potholes and rough patches on road, thanks to its 165mm ground clerance and highly efficient suspension set-up. Though it has a little body roll, its well proportioned dimesnion and build quality make things easier.
Now it was time to test the WagonR Stingray, which is basically a more up-market version of the WagonR, with almost no changes in the mechanics. One thing that I like about Maruti Suzuki Cars is that they never disappoint you in terms of drivability, and WagonR is no exception here. Sporting the same 1.0-litre K-Series gasoline engine, it performed quite well within city and handled the traffic pretty well. Other than the road noise that you feel inside the cabin especially in low RPMs and the bounciness on pot-holes and bad road conditions, the car had no major issues. Body roll was the other issue I encountered in the car at almost all the corners and sharp turns, due to its tall stance.
Also, when you are driving a manual transmission within the city, you would prefer a car with well-sorted gear ratios with precise and short throws. And such is the case with Grand i10, you don't have to make much efforts in changing gears frequently. But WagonR Stingray with the same old gearbox, needs to be pushed a little more in comparison to change the gear. Now when it come to picking one of the two cars, which performed really well in city traffic, it is no doubt Hyundai Grand i10, which impressed me at almost all the levels.
How both cars performed on highway?
After testing the competency of both the cars in busy city traffic, it was time to check how good they would be on the highway. Starting with Hyundai Grand i10, it's a vehicle that shows almost no hurdle till 120-130kmph mark, but once you cross that limit, it doesn't give you the confidence of going further. I somehow throttled it to the 150kmph mark, which is in fact quite an impressive figure to read, but its light steering becomes a problem, as you want a more stable steering when driving on high RPMs.
The case is no different with the WagonR Stingray. 67Bhp at 6200rpm and 90Nm at 3500rpm are surely not the power output figures you would expect a car to have when it comes to driving on highways. It certainly lacks the power required to drive on free ways, and as mentioned above it has emsense body roll which can be felt everytime there is drastic change in direction fo the steering wheel. Driving it to 110kmph is what we would ideally suggest to all the potential buyers. And owners of WagonR would be knowing that very well.
Comfort and Features
Gone are the times when fuel economy used to be the prime concern of middle class people buying cars. Several studies have shown that interior comfort and features are now crucial determinants in the mind of a buyer before zeroing in on a car. Like all Hyundai cars, the company has paid special attention to comfort and convenience features on all new Grand i10 models. The car offers almost all the features you can expect a car of this stature should come with. As soon as you get inside the car, it welcomes you with its beige and black dual colour theme with brushed-aluminium air-con dials. The plastic quality, fit and finish further compliments the cabin. And what I personally loved about the car is the all new interior, not a copy-paste job. It neither looks like the i10 nor the i20. The leather and matte plastic finish not only helps the steering wheel look impressive, it gives you a great hold too. So as is the case with the gear-shift knob, it feels so light and holds properly; in fact you can change the gear with a push of two fingers.
In terms of space, the all new Grand i10 is surely bigger than the regular i10, thanks to the all new BA platform, which has helped the model get a 100mm longer wheelbase. Not just the front seats offer a plenty of space, the rear seats too are equally comfortable with impressive leg, head, knee room and thigh support. What adds more to the comfort is the first-in-segment rear AC vents for the passengers sitting at the back. The tilt-steering and driver seat height adjuster are the two factors, which enhance driving comfort.
In terms of safety features, the Grand i10 has a lot to offer to its buyers. The list of features includes immobilizer, central locking, key-less entry, reverse parking sensors, driver & passenger airbags and ABS. However, ABS and driver & passenger airbags come optional. After checking all the details of Grand i10, I got inside the WagonR Stingray, which too has gone through several improvements over the regular WagonR. It now receives all black interior, an audio system with USB and AUX-in support, leather wrapped steering wheel, steering mounted audio control and a blue backlit instrument cluster. No changes have been made to the dashboard except the piano black finish. So, all these changes have no doubt given a better feel to the vehicle, however the plastic quality, fit & finish are still not impressive.
In terms of comfort, the vehicle might disappoint you. Although, driver and front passenger seats are spacious with enough headroom, knee-room and thigh support, long distances can be a bit painful due to not well cushioned back support of seats. And even after you have installed good leather seats, it doesn't provide you the cosy feel. When I came to the rear seat, it felt no different than the regular WagonR, there is no improvement in terms of comfort and convenience. The variant we drove was the WagonR Stingray VXI optional, which had some pretty good features on offer that are missing in the regular WagonR. The features are ABS, driver seat height adjuster, tilt-steering, all four power windows, electrically adjustable ORVM and Driver SRS airbag. All these features at a price of Rs 4.75 lakh surely makes it a good value for money product.
People who are buying a small hatchback for daily commuting, expect the car to return a good mileage. And in this department both the Grand i10 and WagonR Stingray won't disappoint you. The WagonR Stingray that we drove gave us an impressive 19kmpl in city, while 21kmpl on highway, while the Grand i10's city mileage was about 17kmpl and highway was a little better with around 19kmpl. So, here WagonR Stingray scores a little more than the Grand i10.
If you are looking for a much premium product with so many features and better driving dynamics, Hyundai Grand i10 is all for you. And if fuel economy and maintenance are the areas which come top in your priority list, the WagonR Stingray is a great deal. Also, Grand i10 is a pricey affair if you are going in for high-end variants, while the WagonR Stingray's top-end variant with decent features will cost you around Rs 4.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).