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Hyundai Grand i10 Nios: The turbo version is a lot more capable and effortless

Launched last year, the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios comes across as a practical, sophisticated and well-rounded hatchback for your everyday use. Hyundai has added some zing into the mix with an all-new turbo variant. So, is the Nios Turbo exciting enough?

There are a few minor details that help you tell the Nios Turbo apart from the regular hatchback. The trapezoidal grille is blacked out and features a ‘Turbo’ badge which is besides the one on the tailgate. The projector headlamps, LED DRLs, and 15-inch alloys are shared with the fully-loaded Asta variant.

In the Turbo, the reverse gear is positioned besides the first gear, as opposed to being besides the fourth gear in the standard Nios. As with the standard car, the interiors are spacious and nicely put together with high-quality plastics; it remains a practical cabin with a very user-friendly layout. In terms of equipment, the Turbo packs in auto climate control, a part-digital instrument cluster, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, reverse camera, projector headlamps, and wireless charging. However, it misses out on some features like a push-button start and keyless entry.

  • Length (mm) 3805mm
  • Width (mm) 1680mm
  • Height (mm) 1520mm
  • Wheelbase (mm) 2450mm
  • Engine 998cc, 3-cyls, turbo-petrol
  • Power 100hp at 6000rpm
  • Torque 172Nm at 1500-4000rpm
  • Gearbox 5-speed manual
  • Tank size (lts) 37 litres
  • Tyres (F|R) 175/60 R15

Moving to the engine, the Nios Turbo uses the same 998cc, three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine as the Aura Turbo, and makes an identical 100hp and 172Nm of torque. With a sub-1-tonne kerb weight, power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios are better than any other affordable petrol hatchback in the market today. The engine is smooth and refined, but it isn’t completely vibration-free when compared to its 1.2-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated counterpart. When spun faster, this motor does get a bit thrummy, although the sound isn’t excessively loud.

Those used to driving non-turbo cars will need to get accustomed to this turbo petrol engine since on-tap responses are not as sharp as a naturally aspirated engine. It is above 1,800rpm where the turbo starts singing, and there is a nice second wind of power once the tachometer needle crosses 3,000rpm. Between 2,000-5,000rpm, the engine feels very gutsy and far more capable than the 1.2-litre petrol. While it isn’t as free-revving as Volkswagen’s 1.0-litre TSI motor, it will spin to 6,600rpm in the first three gears, maxing out at 101kph in second gear and at 164kph in third gear, which goes to show how tall-geared this version is. Flat-out, it will even go on to hit a top speed of 183kph.

The Nios Turbo is currently the fastest accelerating mass-market hatchback on sale in India. It out-accelerates the Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI (the previous fastest) to 100kph and it even reaches 160kph a full second quicker.

Even through the gears, the Nios is quicker. The 5-speed manual gearbox is an absolute delight to use with butter-smooth shifts. The clutch and steering is light, too. However, road grip from the skinny tyres isn’t very confidence inspiring. Like the standard car, the Turbo’s brakes offer a strong initial bite.

Despite being a spruced-up version, this car retains all of Nios’ strengths like its sophisticated but practical interiors, an absorbent low-speed ride quality, and its easy-to-drive nature.

But those who love to drive will be left wanting for a more engaging driving experience to match the added performance, and the ₹95,000-1,00,000 premium that this turbo version commands over a comparable 1.2-litre petrol variant seems a bit too hard to justify. Sharper driving manners and sportier looks would have made the Nios Turbo a purer hot hatch, and a more compelling proposition.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 1:45:39 PM |

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