Hyundai Aura Review: Creating the right Aura

To say that the compact sedan segment is highly competitive is an understatement. With over nine competitors and the Maruti Dzire accounting for more than half the sales in this segment, Hyundai’s latest Aura sure has its work cut out for it. What will work in its favour, though, is that buyers have three BS-VI-compliant engines to choose from, as well as get a lengthy list of features to spec their car. So how good is Hyundai’s new compact sedan?

Hyundai Aura Review: Creating the right Aura

On the design front, the Aura has a face similar to the Nios, but there are a few design elements that differentiate it from its sibling. The oversized cascading grille is smaller, with a satin grey surround, and it has double-boomerang LED DRLs on the outer edge of the grille. In profile, you notice how Hyundai has smartly integrated the boot without making it look like just a slap-on modification. The roofline flows into the boot nicely and ends in a neat little ducktail spoiler. The design of the rear, however, might polarise opinions. While the LED tail-lights look good, they feel oversized and don’t go well with the design language.

Hyundai Aura Review: Creating the right Aura

Inside, you get a black and light-grey dual-tone dashboard with the big 8.0-inch touchscreen taking centre stage. The touchscreen has a very user-friendly layout and is quite responsive too. While there’s no eSIM for connected car features, you do get the iBlue system, which allows you to control the stereo via your smartphone. What differentiates the Aura’s interior from the Nios is the satin-bronze trimming above the glovebox. The turbo-petrol variant gets an all-black interior theme with red inserts. The use of high-quality materials makes the cabin feel premium, and fit-finish levels are impressive too.

Hyundai Aura Review: Creating the right Aura

The wide front seats miss out on adjustable head restraints. And while they are comfy thanks to the cushioning, lumbar support is a little excessive, making it uncomfortable on long drives. Shoulder support is also poor. Those seated in the rear will find there is decent legroom; it is not as spacious as the Dzire though. Headroom is adequate, but passengers over 6ft might be left wanting more room. The backrest is set at a nice and comfortable angle, and you do get adjustable headrests. Even under-thigh support is good, thanks to the long seat squab.

Hyundai Aura Review: Creating the right Aura

Talking about features, you have an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a 5.3-inch MID screen, wireless phone charger, cruise control (top-end petrol-manual only), rear AC vents and a 12V charging socket for rear passengers. In terms of safety features, the Aura comes with dual airbags, ABS with EBD, Isofix child-seat anchors, an emergency stop signal and rear parking sensors with a camera.

As mentioned previously, there are three engines to choose from — first, you have the 83hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine and a 69hp CNG variant of the same, a 75hp, 1.2-litre diesel, and a 100hp, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol mill. The three-cylinder turbo-petrol is quiet at idle, but you can feel the vibrations at the steering wheel and pedals. One of the first things you notice is that this motor is quite rev-friendly. The turbo kicks in early, just above 1,800rpm, and provides a strong surge of power. The engine’s responsive nature makes it easy to keep up with traffic. Rev it hard, and it does get noisy beyond 5,000rpm, but you won’t mind driving at higher revs. Accompanied by a light clutch and gearbox combination, the turbo-petrol is easy to drive in a sedate manner as well as an enthusiastic way.

In its BS-VI guise, the 1.2-litre, three-cylinder diesel is quite refined, as far as diesels go. At idle, you can hear the diesel clatter, which slowly smoothens out once you start driving. Driving at low speeds isn’t much of a problem, as the engine is quite responsive and a strong bottom-end masks the turbo lag. The mid-range also has good power on tap until 4,000rpm, beyond which it starts losing steam. On the highway, while cruising, the diesel runs silently; you won’t have to downshift to overtake in most cases. The clutch and gearbox remain effortless and smooth in the diesel variant.

Hyundai Aura Review: Creating the right Aura

We also drove the AMT unit, which has a smooth creep function, and while the typical head nod is present, it isn’t as bad as some of the other AMT units out there. The gear shifts aren’t quick, but are intentionally slow to keep the jerk between shifts to a minimum.

Ride quality is quite absorbent at low speeds. There is an underlying layer of stiffness to the suspension, which is why some sharp potholes and bumps are felt in the cabin. On the highway, the Aura feels stable, and vertical movement is kept in check. The diesel’s heavier front end and slightly stiffer set-up make it feel more planted than the petrol variant. Similarly, in corners, it is nicer to drive compared to the turbo-petrol, thanks to its heavier steering. The brakes work well too and the pedal feel is also progressive; there’s a nice and strong bite point as soon as you step on the pedal.

Designed and specified to stand out from the crowd — and especially from the Maruti Suzuki Dzire — the Aura comes with polarising and radical looks, a powerful and fun turbo-petrol motor, and a BS-VI-compliant diesel engine. It feels premium on the inside, and has a lot of features to keep passengers entertained and comfortable too.

Hyundai has priced the Aura competitively against cars like the Dzire, with prices starting at ₹ 5.80 lakh (ex-showroom). Even the BS-VI-compliant diesel costs only ₹ 20,000 more than the Xcent diesel.

Yes, the cabin is more compact than its competition. At ₹ 8.55 lakh, the turbo-petrol is a bit expensive, and there’s no automatic option offered to buyers. Still, the Aura offers so much more in comparison to its competition in certain areas, it feels like a well-rounded product that ticks all the right boxes.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 10:32:49 PM |

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