Johannesburg - Grand is a word used to describe big canyons. And big pianos. And now, little Korean hatchbacks.
Hyundai recently launched this car, the Grand i10, in South Africa but I reckon it could have done better with the name. Not so much the Grand part, but i10.
Confused? So was I, because like many South Africans might, I wrongly assumed that this new model is a slightly inflated iteration of the existing i10 minihatch. But it’s not. The Grand i10 is a completely new car that shares very little with its smaller namesake.
But let’s not get into tedious explanations of model origins and underpinnings – just know that the Grand is a much newer and slightly bigger next-generation version of the almost seven-year-old i10 (facelifted in 2011) that Hyundai will continue to sell in SA.
Consider it a space filler, or plug if you will, to fit in the small gap between the current i10 and i20 ranges.
The old i10 has aged well over the years, but still the Grand i10 seems like a more modern and upmarket package. Its exterior panels and light clusters are rounder and a little more 2014 (especially at the back), and the interior, while still chock full of Korean plastic, is fresher and more current. Build quality too, for such an entry-level car, is fantastic with nary a squeak nor rattle over harsh road surfaces.
The Grand i10 comes in basic Motion trim, or slightly higher Fluid spec as on our test car, each well equipped for the money. Pricing starts at R139 900 which gets you 14” alloys, a stereo with USB and Bluetooth connectivity, ABS with EBD brakes and two airbags among others, but Fluid models come with remote central locking, one-touch indicators and rear electric windows for an additional R10 000. It would be nice if Hyundai would consider stability or traction control in its lesser models though – only the Golf-sized i30 comes with these items as standard.
Generally speaking, the Grand is around R15 000 more (spec for spec) than the smaller i10 it sits side-by-side with at dealerships, and I think the negligible price difference makes the Grand a no-brainer in this segment. That is unless engine size, space and style are of little importance – in which case there’s a cheaper (R121 500) and less powerful 1.1-litre i10 available.
The Grand comes only with a 64kW/120Nm 1.2 petrol motor familiar from other cars such as the bottom rung i20 and Kia’s Picanto and Rio, and we’re impressed with its performance.
It’s a peppy little number that revs smoothly and eagerly, and where you might expect to downshift for uphills and overtakes it’s (usually) possible to hold a gear instead. This relatively simple, naturally-aspirated unit punches well above its weight and buzzes confidently across each of its five ratios.There’s also a four-speed auto for those with lazy left feet.
We’re also pleased with its real-world consumption figure of 5.8 litres per 100km, and feel that this figure could have come down even further with more time.
Driving controls are all very light and it’s an extremely easy car to drive.
Ideal for beginner drivers who probably won’t notice its lifeless and cheap feeling electric power steering. I’m reluctant to even mention this in a road test of this sort, but steering is one of Hyundai’s (and sister Kia’s) only quality bugbears, so we live in hope that with enough media moaning it will be addressed in future models.
So, just how grand is the Grand? Compared back-to-back with the original i10 it’s 180mm longer, 65mm wider and 20mm lower, but it’s the extra 45mm between the front and rear axles that makes for more rear legroom and gives an airier ambience. The boot, which incorporates a full-size spare, is also more usable now at 256 litres (1202 with the seats folded) compared to the i10’s 225 (910). It’s by no means a limousine, but it’s nowhere near as claustrophobic as some of the minimalistic city cars (Aygo, C1, 107) it’s priced against.
Positioned right near the bottom of the nothing-fancy hatch market, the Grand i10 is still miles fancier (and more spacious) than most of its market rivals. Excellent value for money.
But, Hyundai, I have a great naming idea for the car that slots between your i10 and i20. Call it i15.
Hyundai Grand i10 1.2 Fluid
Engine: 1.25-litre, 4-cylinder petrol
Gearbox: Five-speed manual
Power: 64kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 120Nm @ 4000rpm
0-100km/h (claimed): 12.7 seconds
Top speed (claimed): 167km/h
Consumption (measured): 5.8 litres per 100km
Price: R149 900
Warranty: Five-year/150 000km
Ford Figo 1.4 Ambiente (62kW/127Nm) - R135 900
Kia Picanto 1.2 EX (65kW/120Nm) - R137 995
Nissan Micra 1.2 Visia+ (56kW/104Nm) - R139 700
Renault Sandero Expression (66kW/135Nm) - R133 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL hatch (63kW/113Nm) - R136 900
Toyota Etios hatch 1.5 Xs (66kW/132Nm) - R135 400
VW Polo Vivo 1.4 hatch (55kW/132Nm) - R135 500