The i10 range has been like a bedrock for sales in India for Hyundai. For over a decade the i10 and Grand i10 have helped Hyundai strengthen its reputation as the maker of solid no-nonsense premium hatchback cars in India. The new Nios, promises to take this further up a notch. Nios means more and the company hopes that the cars better dimensions over the Grand i10 should help it win more buyers. The car is squarely aimed at the best-seller, Maruti Swift and also to a lesser extent at
the Ford Figo. Here is what we think of it.
The front end is dominated by the massive grille that goes all the way into the bumper. The cascading grille gives this car a striking look. Boomerang style LED-lamps are also positioned at the outer edges of the grille to give it a premium look. The sharp headlamps with multiple elements in them look cool too. The face is very similar to the Santro’s and Hyundai is following a family look with the car so you can never mistake it for anything else but a Hyundai.
The side profile is more interesting. With cuts and creases all across. Special mention has to be made of the ‘C’ pillar that houses a plastic cladding that says ‘G i10’. It is a cool design element and helps break the monotony of a bland pillar. The 15-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels on the Asta version of the car look fetching as well.
The back end though is very somber compared to the rest of the car and you get small tail lamps(that will remind you of another small car) and a bold Nios badge across the boot lid. There is also a sharp chrome strip running below the boot lid that should give the bland boot design look cool.
The cabin is a high-quality place to be in. The top-end Asta gets grey interiors and also gets unique design touches on the top of the dash as well as the door panels. The 8-inch touchscreen is the biggest in the segment and is very easy to use as well. You also get wireless charging for your mobile phone, which is a segment-first and also rear AC vents among other things. The back seats have good space on them and special mention has to be made about the circular ‘AC’ vents that simply look cool and will remind you of the turbine on a jet plane.
The boot at 260-litres is at par with rivals in this segment. Overall, the cabin is an appealing place to be in and one that buyers will enjoy time spent in.
Engine, Performance, And Gearbox
You get the same 1.2-liter diesel and petrol engines from the older Grand i10. The petrol is BSVI compliant and the diesel will be by March 2020. You also get a choice of AMT-automatic and 5-speed manuals on both. The petrol engine is smooth for the most part and power is sufficient for the city. However, it feels out of breath on the highway and you will feel the need for more power on the highway. The Swift’s brilliant 1.2-litre K-series remains the benchmark in this segment. The car offers a slick gearbox though which is effortless to shift. The diesel suffers from turbo lag below 1,800 rpm but delivers enough power after that. That said, it also feels underwhelming on the highway and you will have to shift gears constantly to get the best
from it on the highway.
Ride and Handling
The car offers very good ride comfort with a composed ride and able suspension setup. At slow city speeds, the car absorbs most of the bumps and potholes easily. The ride at high speeds as well. But the steering wheel lacks feedback so you might feel nervous on the highway with constant inputs needed for minor corrections.
Overall, the Nios doesn’t offer the same driving thrills that the Ford Figo or Maruti Swift have to offer. But that said, it offers a roomy cabin, classy interior design and refined petrol engine. Hyundai’s name also means resale and aftersales will be strong.