The Hyundai Grand i10 has caused quite a stir with its combination of space, features and a frugal diesel engine. But can it outdo the established Toyota Etios Liva?
Hyundai keeps pulling rabbits (or rather, hatchbacks) out of its hat. Its latest is the Grand i10, the fifth hatchback in its line-up. Now don’t be fooled by the moniker, this isn’t just a stretched-out i10—it’s nothing less than an all-new car with a wheelbase stretched for India. The Grand i10 is easily the most restrained in terms of its external design compared to the rest of the cars in Hyundai’s line-up. The lines are much neater and crisper, and there’s very little of Hyundai’s ‘Fluidic’ design. The Grand looks like a more grown up and bolder Hyundai, further justifying its positioning. Also, it’s got a new diesel engine under the hood. This 70bhp, 1,120cc engine is the first to be manufactured here in India at Hyundai’s plant in Chennai. The engine is essentially the 1.4-litre unit from the i20 with one cylinder less. But convincing buyers to opt for the Grand i10 won’t be a walk in the park. Sure, it is spacious, comfortable and comes with a diesel engine, but so does the Toyota Etios Liva. The Liva was also recently given a mid-life refresh, thanks to criticism the earlier car received from customers for feeling cheap. It now comes with a lighter shade of interiors with better plastics that go a long way in making the cabin feel more upmarket, greater sound insulation and more equipment. It really is much improved.
Both the hatchbacks have what Indian car buyers are looking for. So how does the new kid on the block fare against Toyota’s Liva?
What are they like to drive?
Drive the Grand i10 and you’ll notice that the three-cylinder diesel flutters and vibrates a bit at low engine speeds. This is especially prominent in traffic when coasting, and you can immediately tell that it’s a diesel engine under the hood. Put your foot down, however, and the engine smoothens up beautifully. There is a bit of hesitation at low speeds and it takes a bit to get moving, but once on the move, it feels like it has sufficient power for city driving. The mid-range feels peppy, the super-slick gearbox is easily the best in the class, and the Grand i10 settles into an effortless cruise when driven in