Looking at the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios, all you can think of is a practical, well-built, feature-laden and sporty looking car. However, there’s more to it, particularly after Hyundai decided to give it a turbocharged petrol motor. When launched in 2019, it came in as breath of fresh air amidst a whole lot of SUVs and pumped-up crossovers. It was meant to be a simple hatchback with no extra ground clearance, scuff plates and the lot. And it finds itself in a spot just as important as the compact SUV segment. It rivals the likes of the Maruti Swift and the lot. The Grand i10 was recently phased out, and the Nios takes its place. The new model is longer, wider and there’s an increase in the wheelbase too. The Nios is made on a modified version of the old Grand i10’s platform. While the 1.2-litre petrol engines soldier on, there’s a new 1.0-litre Turbo petrol that is aimed at the enthusiasts. The Nios Turbo is based on the Sportz Dual Tone variant, and hence, shares the same equipment and exterior and interior design. We take a look at what makes it worth the extra money.
Not the old i10
Hyundai Cars have now incorporated a new design language on all its models, and the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios is one of them. The cascading grille reminds us of the new Santro, but the up-swept headlights and silhouette are quite different. At the front, the car sports projector headlights, boomerang-shaped LED DRLs on either corners of the grille and circular fog lights. The grille is split and gets a gloss black finish. Viewed from the side, the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios gets sharp lines and 15-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels on the top variant. The smoked-out C-pillar looks great, while the Hyundai logo at the back has gotten larger now. The car also features a shark-fin antenna on the roof, while the tail gets the ‘Turbo’ badge and ‘NIOS’ in bold letters. The small tail lights look neat and proportionate. And thank fully, there’s no chrome strip here.
On the inside, the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios gets some visible changes in the form of red highlights surrounding the AC vents and the rotary AC controls; there’s red stitching on the seats – all giving the black cabin a sporty look. A lot of plastic bits feel upmarket. We like the hexagonal dimples on the dashboard and doors; it somehow gives it a very modern look. There’s a use of light grey materials that’s a lot easier on the eye. The Nios also features a part-digital instrument cluster, along with an analogue tachometer and the rest displayed on the 5.3-inch monochrome screen. The gloss black binnacle gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Everything looks good, but the quality levels haven’t taken a huge leap just yet. In terms of equipment, it is loaded with wireless phone charging, rear AC vents, a rear-view camera, climate control, a touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless charging, projector headlamps with LED DRLs, remote-key entry, a rear wiper and washer, push-button start and keyless entry and a leather-wrapped steering.
Hyundai Cars have equipped the Nios with the biggest touchscreen in its segment, and it also happens to be one of the smoothest-operating units around. The tall-boy design somewhat remains, and what we like is how high we were seated in the driver’s seat, giving you a great view of the road. The seats at the front get extra side bolstering and are well cushioned too. The textured fabric is impressive because it isn’t the cheaper stuff you find on some other cars. There’s good space at the back; more than what you’ll find in a Swift. Even comfort and support are good, and the 260-litre boot is decent.
The Grand i10 Nios is powered by a 998cc, 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine, producing 98bhp and 172Nm of torque. The engine feels smooth and refined, considering it’s a three-cylinder unit, but there are vibrations that filter through at idle. The 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder engine betters it in this aspect. Once the engine starts spinning faster, the thrum is evident but not to the extent of it being bothersome. Paired to the engine is a 5-speed manual ‘box, which is pleasant to use, thanks to the slick and light action. Even the clutch is light, making it great for the city and the light steering only adds to the convenience.