FIRST DRIVE: Hyundai Grand i10 1.0 Fluid (2020) is a really good road companion

By Pritesh Ruthun Time of article published Oct 23, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Hyundai South Africa hosted us at its headquarters earlier this week to give us a bit of an update on what the car market is like and to introduce us to its all-new Grand i10 compact hatchback.

In terms of the market, Hyundai is in an enviable position as its sales volumes remain respectable despite shrinking disposable income for most South Africans. Since the hard lockdown in March, Hyundai has emerged as a top-5 leading retailer of new vehicles in SA, surpassing popular Japanese and German competitors in some months this year. The Grand i10 that we drove is expected to bolster sales further, and after a brief encounter with the vehicle, they're onto a hit that's certainly going to boost sales volumes further.

What is the Hyundai Grand i10?

Think of it as a slightly more plush alternative to the Atos that Hyundai already retails at the entry-level of the market.

Prices start at around R191 000 and although that is quite pricey for a compact car with a small engine, the new Grand i10 feels larger than its dimensions suggest. Its 1.0-litre engine also pulls it along better than expected.

Measuring 3805mm in length and riding on a 2450mm wheelbase, it’s almost identical in size to the Getz that was extremely popular here in the early 2000s. Unlike the Getz, however, you only get two compact petrol engine choices - a 1.0-litre or a 1.2-litre.

The car is not shy on spec and competes very nicely with vehicles such as the Volkswagen Polo Vivo and Ford Figo. We drove the 1.0-litre Fluid manual that retails for R216 900.

What is the Hyundai Grand i10 like to drive?

The 1.0-litre Grand i10 Fluid might look underpowered on paper, bringing only 49kW and 95Nm to the party, but thanks to its lightweight yet rigid structure, it feels adequately powered and solid on the road at the same time.

We got on the road from Hyundai's headquarters and headed out towards Bronkhorstspruit in the mid-ranger to see if it could keep up with Johannesburg traffic and came away quite surprised at its peppiness and ability to make haste when necessary.

The engine is free-revving and with peak torque coming in around 3500rpm, it's driveable without having to rev the proverbial out of it. In fact, compared to something like a Toyota Aygo or Peugeot 108, the Grand i10 feels a lot stronger and at the end more relaxing to drive.

It does rev quite high at highways speeds, so expect a bit of noise intrusion if you're going to be travelling on national roads a lot. At 120km/h in particular, the engine is ticking at around 4000rpm. I found the wind noise to be acceptable and road noise to be well within class standards, though, and the ride was also supple and compliant without having too much body roll.

The main thing about the driving experience that stood out for me, though, is how comfortable the new seats in the Grand i10 are. According to Hyundai SA's head of marketing, Stanley Anderson, the seats in the Grand i10 have been specifically designed to offer increased comfort for the driver and passengers. Upfront, in fact, special attention was paid to the side bolsters and the shape of the seat base to ensure that you will remain comfy in traffic or on the long road.

With the aircon pumping due to the 35 degree Celcius heat, the radio blaring with good tunes, the comfy seats and the peppy engine and five-speed manual gearbox to stir, the car proved itself as an exceptional road companion.

Is the Hyundai Grand i10 worth buying?

At this price point, there are lots to choose from if you're out tyre-kicking for a new car for 2021. From the tried-and-tested Polo Vivo to the hugely popular Renault Kwid and everything in between, you're spoiled for choice as far as new car options go under R250 000.

The Grand i10 comes in as an exciting proposition because it's a big car in a small car package and thanks to a remarkably refined interior and driving dynamics, you won't feel like you've spent too much on your first new car. In fact, even if you're downscaling from a premium hatch, the Grand i10 is so well packed with features and comfort that you won't feel like you're moving into a smaller, non-premium vehicle.

The Fluid models we drove came with electric windows, power steering, dual airbags, ABS, central locking and a multimedia audio system that supports Bluetooth calling and media streaming via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Unfortunately, we couldn't test out the smartphone support in the launch vehicle as it did not engage when I plugged the smartphones I had with me into the system. We'll be testing the car soon so we'll try out the system again to see if it was a gremlin in the system

Overall, the Grand i10, in my opinion, is certainly worth a shot if you want something new, fresh and exciting that's not going to cost an arm and a leg to insure.

You'll average around 7l/100km and if you drive it with a lighter foot, you might even get closer to the claimed sub-6l/100m mark.

Moms and dads will also appreciate the car's standard-fit ISOFIX points (items that you don't get in car's such as the Renault Kwid and Datsun Go), while they will also appreciate the relatively large boot and rear space for those trips with the toddlers.

Let's not forget the remarkable warranty that Hyundai gives you with all its new cars, and take into account that your Grand i10's first service will be covered by the brand; you're getting quite a package here for around R200k if you shop in the mid-range.

We're looking forward to testing the 1.2-litre with autobox soon to see what that's like, but rest assured if you go for a 1.0-litre manual in Fluid spec right now, you're buying one heck of a nice compact car that's going to keep you happy for many years to come before you want something larger and with more oomph.


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