Even in a sluggish Indian automotive market, Korean carmaker Hyundai hasn't been shying away from bringing some excitement to the passenger vehicle sector with the company hosting its third model launch of the year – the new Hyundai Grand i10 Nios – after introducing the Venue compact SUV (which is the new utility vehicle market leader) and the Kona Electric earlier in May and July, respectively. The company currently has a 19.4 percent PV market share between April and July of the current financial year.
While the first-gen Hyundai i10 was launched in India in 2007, the company has cumulatively sold 2.72 million units of the car worldwide over its two generations. The new Grand i10 Nios now comes as an evolutionary successor to the earlier model, with the second-generation car not being phased out completely, but will be sold alongside the Nios in two of its petrol variants.
Hyundai Motor India says that the new car is based upon the philosophies of a bold design, convenience, uncompromised safety and advanced powertrains, and that the company is committed to become the brand of choice for millions with its new ownership initiatives of subscription, ride sharing and leasing programs.
According to Simon Loasby, VP and Head of Styling, "The car has been crafted for the young millennials who are fashionable and progressive. We have tried to elevate the design to induce an aspiration towards the Grand i10 Nios." The car (codenamed - AI3) has been collaboratively designed at Hyundai's R&D centre in the US and Korea and with inputs from its design center in Hyderabad in India.
The new Grand i10 Nios offers a bold and athletic design in-line with the modern times. The car gets projector headlamps, DRLs, 15-inch diamond cut alloy wheels and a shark-fin antennae as the modern elements on the outside. At the interior, the Grand i10 Nios gets a new ivory theme for its dashboard and comes equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Grand i10 Nios targeted at 25- to 35 year-olds
With hatchbacks contributing a significant 48 percent to the total PV sales in India, Hyundai says it is aggressively targeting buyers between the age group of 25 and 35 years with the Nios.
In terms of powertrains, Hyundai is offering an updated 1.2-litre U2 petrol motor which is now BS VI-compliant. The motor gets improvements in combustion efficiency and cooling, along with friction and pumping loss reduction inside the cylinders with the use of roller swing arm and a variable oil pump.
As regards diesel, while Hyundai hasn't introduced a BS VI-compliant motor just yet, it has updated the erstwhile 1.2 U2 CRDi unit with high-pressure injectors for PM reduction to make it BS VI ready. The company says that it does see demand for diesels going forward, and that of IC-engined vehicles way beyond 2030, and that it will offer a BS VI-compliant diesel with LNT technology for NOx reduction as well as an uprated after-treatment system at a later date, possibly next year.
On the drivetrain front, while both engines come mated to a five-speed manual transmission, Hyundai has, for the first time, brought in an AMT option in both the engine types. The AMT which has been developed in-house was first seen getting introduced in the new Santro hatchback.
In terms of safety, the new Hyundai Grand i10 Nios comes with 65 percent advanced and high strength steel, along with its body shell being compliant with pedestrian protection. Dual airbags and ABS with EBD come standard across all variants.
The car has been priced with the entry level petrol variant starting at Rs 499,990 ex-showroom, India. Hyundai is offering a total of 10 variants with the top-end diesel manual culminating at Rs 799,540 ex-showroom.
New 'variable warranty'
In a very unique move, Hyundai Motor India has, for the first time, introduced a new 'variable basic warranty'. This, according to S Punnaivanam, vice-president, National Service, "will help the buyer choose the kind of standard warranty required based on his or her driving needs. If a customer's running is higher, the 3-year / 100,000km warranty could be opted, which in case of lower running, could go to 4 years or 50,000km and up to 5 years or 40,000 kilometres." The customer can opt for the particular type at the time of purchasing the car without any additional cost.
"While we are quite optimistic, we are going to gauge the customer response to this new initiative," said Punnaivanam.