With so much buzz regarding Volkswagen’s Up! city car (which is highly likely to be introduced in South Africa next year), Hyundai vice-president and COO of Europe, Alan Rushforth, took to the Korean company’s stand at the Frankfurt Show this week and claimed the i10 sets a “new standard” in the A-segment, with better refinement, cabin space and more standard spec than the Up!.
According to reports, the new i10 is said to be two decibels quieter than its Wolfsburg competitor at idle and Rushforth is quoted as saying that Hyundai’s A-segment newcomer’s “craftsmanship is far above that of the Up!.”
At 3 665 mm, the new i10 is 80mm longer than its predecessor, which is still on sale in South Africa and will remain so for the foreseeable future. It’s also 65 mm wider, with a 40 mm lower roofline, and has what Hyundai claims is a best-in-segment boot capacity of 252 dm³ (1046 dm³ with rear seats folded flat).
The engine line-up will comprise a three-cylinder petrol engine (producing 48 kW at 5 500 r/min and 94 N.m at 3 500 r/min) as well as a 1,2-litre four cylinder with a 64 kW at 6 000 r/min and 120 N.m from 4 000 r/min at its disposal.
The new i10 will be produced in Poland and features two-litre-bottle holders in the back, electric windows, six airbags, LED-laced headlamps, climate control, a heated steering wheel and heated seats on higher-spec versions.
But before consumers get too excited by the prospect of the new i10 and Up! battling for boutique-hatch bragging rights in the local market next year, South Africa will instead get the Indian-built i10 Grand, which looks a lot like the new i10, but features a longer wheelbase, a 100-mm longer body and (probably less) spec.
According to a local source, sales of the current, Indian-made i10 – still a popular choice in the budget-car market – will continue, but the i10 Grand will slot in between Hyundai’s entry-level range and the recently updated i20 light hatchback.
Rushforth this week revealed Hyundai planned to introduce 22 new products/derivatives in the next four years as part of the company’s Product Momentum 2017 strategy, but he did not go into market-specific details.
However, the Indian media has quoted a highly-positioned manager of Hyundai Motor India as saying that the company was developing a compact saloon based on the i10 Grand which will be launched on the subcontinent in April as a competitor to the Toyota Etios, Polo Vivo four-door and Honda Brio sedan.
“We are developing a compact sedan,” said Cha Rukh Han, senior executive director of HMIL. “It will be launched by March/April next. We are also developing a mini SUV to compete with Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport.”
Although Hyundai SA has yet to confirm plans to introduce derivatives of the i10 Grand in the local market, the small crossover/SUV model – dictates of local pricing allowing – would be eagerly anticipated by South African buyers who’ve made the ix35 one of the best-selling compact SUVs in the country.