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Between the entry level i10 and the Polo-sized i20, Hyundai have introduced the Grand i10.  Internationally, it’s the 2nd generation of the i10; locally however, it’s more of a theoretical ‘i15’.  But what allure does something not quite entry-level, not quite small-hatch sized hold?  A lot, as I found out recently.

The i10 has always been a rather nifty small car – I’ve had family members purchase them and they’ve had many thousands of satisfactory kilometres, with low fuel consumption, and a low monthly instalment.  But the moment you require any sort of comfortable space, the i10 just falls short, and this my dear friends is where the Grand i10 begins to show its merit.

A small car, the Grand i10 looks precisely as its market positioning would suggest – halfway between the i10 and i20, albeit with a fresher Hyundai design language.  The interior follows the same pattern – classier and more spacious than the i10, but with a less sophistication than the i20, and definitely no soft touch materials.  However the build is steadfast and easy on the eye and the hand, and the standard kit on offer makes for quite a bargain.  Standard equipment includes a radio/CD/MP3 sound system with auxiliary and USB inputs, as well as Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming.  Air-con, steering mounted controls, and electric windows also make an appearance.

Driving the Grand i10 is a 1.25-litre 4-cylinder engine, with not-so-extravagant outputs of 64kW and 120Nm.  The engine drives the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission, which features a light shift, slick and certain of its action that never falters in selecting a gear.  Paired with a light clutch pedal with a medium-length take, 1st gear has an instantaneous bite on the pedal and a progressive take that remains resolutely predictable, and perfect for the daily Johannesburg commute.

Despite the low engine capacity, the Grand i10’s power is plentiful.  The engine has some rather advanced technology to reduce friction and inertia, improving throttle response and power delivery.  As such, it drives the Grand i10 along with an eager nature, quick to accelerate, and even quicker to respond to slight throttle inputs.  Its revvy nature proved to be joyful at the worst of times, and at the best, it left the biggest smile on my face that could ever be achieved within the bounds of the laws of the road.

It’s an eager companion, like a dog greeting you after a long day at work with a sloppy lick across the face – a sensation that brings with it an uncanny amount of joy.  It’s frugal too, sipping 5.6l/100km on a combined cycle.  Perhaps the pearl within the oyster, the engine of the Grand i10 proved itself to be a magical piece of machinery, undoubtedly the best in its class in all areas except frugality, and even there only beaten by Suzuki’s 1.2 litre mill that runs on thin air itself.

But the rest of the Grand i10’s package completed the whole affair.  The cabin insulation was superb, offering a quiet ride, not devoid of connection with the outside world, but rather blocking out unnecessary distractions and allowing you to focus on putting a smile on your face.  The ride comfort echoed this, with sublime damping absorbing bumps with little fuss, carrying the light hatchback effortlessly across the road surface.  Cornering was made easy, with a direct steering setup that offered a sharp turn-in and a lovely weighting that mirrored the car’s every move.  Everything tossed at the Grand i10 was dealt with nonchalantly, with the impression that the little Hyundai would do this day in, day out, with an ever present grin on its face.

At a price of R139 900 the Grand i10 is priced squarely alongside the likes of the Suzuki Swift 1.2 and Renault Sandero – but it offers slightly more class than other competitors in its class.  The Grand i10 poses an interesting dilemma in that it possesses almost all the charm of the larger i20, but at a discount price.

The Stats:

Engine Capacity:

1248cc

No. of Cylinders:

4

Max. Power:

64kW @ 6000RPM

Max. Torque:

120Nm @ 4000RPM

Gearbox:

5 Speed Manual

0-100 time:

13 seconds

Top Speed:

167km/h

Kerb Weight:

1051Kg

Fuel Tank Capacity:

43 litres

Fuel Consumption (Regular driving, combined cycle):

5.6l/100km

Drivetrain

FrontWheel Drive

Price (as tested):

R139 900,00

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Author: Roger Biermann

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