By: Jason Woosey
Johannesburg - Its name is nowhere near as catchy, but the new Hyundai Grand i10's purpose in life is to fill the shoes of the popular Getz, which left the scene about four years ago. In doing so, this new-generation i10 will slot between the current i10 - which will live on for the foreseeable future - and the larger i20.
Built in India, the Grand i10 is closely based on the new European-designed i10, except that it's been stretched by 100mm at the back end to improve practicality. Which is, of course, a good thing for size-conscious South African buyers.
So how does it fit the Getz' footprint? If we must drag out the virtual tape measure, the Grand i10 is 180mm longer than the original i10 yet 60mm shorter than the Getz (and just 30mm shorter in wheelbase). The Grand is also a good 65mm wider than the i10, but just 5mm narrower than the Getz.
ROOM TO STRETCH
This, of course, translates into some roomy accommodation. Sitting behind my usual seating position at the Gauteng launch, there was plenty of stretching space and it in no way falls short of the norm in this segment. Unlike the original i10, the Grand also has a boot that's actually worth calling a boot, and which swallows an acceptable 256 litres. Below that you’ll find a full-sized spare wheel too.
Sensible it may be, but the Grand i10 hasn't fallen into the dull appliance basket. In fact it's quite a looker, with its pointy headlights and taillights and large hexagonal grille saluting the very latest Hyundai design trends. Unlike its rivals, you get alloy wheels as standard (albeit just 14-inches in diameter) and there's a choice between eight exterior colours and three interior colour schemes, allowing you to add more than just a splash of orange or red to the dashboard and seats.
The cabin is solidly put together with decent-quality materials and it's well appointed - even in the case of the 1.25 Motion base model. The downside to this is a starting price of R139 900 - making it less accessible than its albeit-lesser-equipped rivals.
UP TO SPEED
All Grand i10 models are motivated, rather adequately, by Hyundai's familiar 1248cc four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 64kW at 6000rpm and 120Nm at 4000rpm. According to Hyundai, the five-speed manual model sips 5.9 litres per 100km on the combined cycle while the four-speed auto drinks 6.9 l/100km.
Our launch drive menu was limited to a manual model, which impressed with its all-round performance and driveability. The gear-shift action feels slick and solid, while keeping up with traffic between robots is effortless. Overtaking on the open road is reasonably stress free too, as long as you knock back a cog or two. The car cruises quietly enough at highway speeds, although the engine hovers a bit too close to the 4000rpm mark, which translates to begging for another gear or a longer fifth ratio.
The Grand i10 has a more refined feel on the road than the Less-Grand i10, it just gets on with its job without making much of a noise and it'll keep you comfortable over most surfaces. Hyundai's engineers have put some decent effort into this one, increasing torsional rigidity by 27 percent, largely by using 20 percent more high-tensile steel.
The i10 has really come of age in this latest incarnation; it has truly grown up in areas where it matters - like refinement and interior practicality - yet it also has a more youthful sense of style that will appeal to the young-at-heart, and those that are tired of the aging bodies found on the extended-life models in this segment.
It's not cheap, but it is a worthy contender. The price includes a five-year/150 000km warranty, with the equivalent roadside assistance, but you will have to pay extra for a service plan.
PRICES & FEATURES
1.25 Motion manual - R139 900
Standard features: Air conditioning, four-speaker MP3/CD/USB/Aux audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and steering controls, central locking (key), power windows (front), height-adjustable steering, height-adjustable driver's seat, on-board computer, dual front airbags, ABS brakes and 14-inch alloy wheels.
1.25 Fluid manual - R149 900
Adds: Keyless entry with boot release, alarm, electric + heated side mirrors, rear electric windows and auto-down driver's window.
1.25 Fluid automatic - R159 900
Adds: Four-speed automatic gearbox
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