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CAPE TOWN – The latest addition to Hyundai’s already hatchback family looks to fill a the gap between it’s long-running A-segment staple and it’s i20 B-segment offering, but is there a need to fill this recently created niche?
Filling a new gap in the market
What sort of niche are we talking about here? It’s not possessed of a concrete label, but if it were to be described in normal motoring parlance we could refer to it as an A-B segment. It’s a market that’s arisen from a recent blurring of the lines between A- and B segments that’s resulted from the smaller segment’s offerings now approaching similar dimensions to that of their larger peers.
Such models as Volkswagen’s Polo Vivo sedan and the Toyota Etios are proof of this movement and Hyundai doesn’t want to miss the boat.
The result is the Hyundai Grand i10, a model with which Hyundai hopes to bridge the gap between the i10 and its B-segment i20 relative.
So long Getz, hello Grand
Hyundai SA views the Grand as a spiritual successor to its much loved brand builder, the Getz, and visually there are some definite parallels. While such signature features as the hexagonal front air dam, swept-back headlamps with eyebrow strakes that flow into the hood and a touch of Hyundai’s Fluidic design language in the swage lines running along the flanks are present and correct, they almost appear to have been applied to a tightly proportioned canvas in a similar vein to the Getz.
The Grand is based upon the European market 2014 i10, but is built in India where the Grand monicker is applied and the wheelbase is stretched by around 100 mm. The whole shooting match rolls on a fetching set of 14-inch alloy wheels while additional touches include foglamps, colour-coded wing mirrors with integrated indicators.
A look inside
Although the Grand is 200 mm longer, 65 mm wider and 30 mm lower than the i10, the overall cabin dimensions, bar some additional shoulder and legroom up front, are little changed from those of the admittedly airy smaller car. The major plus is a 256 dm3 luggage compartment that’s 31 dm3 up on the i10’s rather pokey boot and growing to 1 202 dm3 with the 60:40 rear bench stowed.
A large glasshouse affords a good view of your surroundings, as do the high-sited and supportive front seats.
While the cabins of most cars of this ilk often betray their budget placement, the Grand’s facia presents a neat, upmarket layout comprising a sweeping trim panel (that can be specified in three colours, along with the seat panels) with a neat central HVAC and audio system cluster. Although hard plastics are the order of the day inside, the fitment quality is typically Hyundai-solid.
On the road
The Grand is powered by a 1,25-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with outputs of 64 kW and 120 N.m of torque. It’s a thrummy little unit that revs keenly and, mated as it is with a short-geared six-speed gearbox, makes for nippy round town driving. Our route skirting False Bay presented the Grand with some rather testing conditions, including steep uphills that knocked some wind out of the engine’s sails and crosswinds that broadsided the light car. But the Grand proved very capable and comfy on this unconventional stretch of road.
While the gearshift is snappy and the steering light but not overly numb, the clutch modulation takes a little getting used to, being a bit sensitive at lower speeds.
Otherwise it’s wieldy little runabout with generally good refinement and body control that’s predictable if slightly top-heavy in its feel. The MacPherson front/torsion bar rear suspension setup serves up a supple ride on most surfaces but it can get a bit choppy when the road surface oscillates a bit.
You get what you pay for
Its asking price pitches the Grand into territory occupied by the likes of the five-door derivatives of the Polo Vivo, Honda Brio and Toyota Etios. Here it sits in about the upper-middle of the R134 0000 to R149 000 price range and, while marginally better equipped than the lesser selling Ford and Honda, it makes the Toyota and VW look Spartan by comparison.
Among the standard specification highlights are:
– CD/MP3/USB audio system with RDS
– On-board computer
– Remote central locking
– Dual front airbags
– Electric windows all round
– Electric mirrors
– 14-inch alloy wheels
– Body-coloured door handles
– Front foglamps
So does the Grand plug the i10-i20 gap? Well, yes and no. The specification is generous and it’s pleasant to drive and easy on the eye, but a glance at the range topping i10 (now the Fluid, as the Glide model is being phased out to accommodate the entry-level Grand) will reveal that, utility space and styling aside, there’s little separating the two. Granted, the Grand is a newer, capable and likeable little car but when donning your consumer cap and looking at the equivalent i10 you might find yourself asking if it’s grand enough to span the gap.
Fast factsModel: Hyundai Grand i10 1,25 Fluid
Price: R149 900
Engine: 1,25-litre, four-cylinder petrol
Power: 64 kW at 6 000 r/min
Torque: 120 N.m at 4 000 r/min
0-100 km/h: 12,7 seconds
Top Speed: 167 km/h
Fuel Consumption: 10,3 l/100 km
CO2: 130 g/km
Maintenance Plan: optional
Service intervals: 15 000 km
*According to Hyundai