It's been just over a year since Hyundai launched the new generation of the Grand i10 in the market and called it the Grand i10 Nios. The hatchback had a lot to offer. It came with petrol & diesel engines, offered manual and AMT, and later Hyundai added a CNG option as well. At last count there were 14 variants and trims on offer. The 15th and latest is the Turbo GDi. Now clearly Hyundai has led the way when it comes to giving you turbo engine options on its cars. The list is a long one as the Creta, Venue, and Aura all get it. And now even the Grand i10 Nios gets a turbo heart. The big question is how much difference has the turbo tag made to this hatchback.
This isn't the first time that we're seeing performance versions of affordable hatchbacks in our country. Maruti Suzuki brought in the Baleno RS and Tata Motors tried it with the Tiago JTP, but both met with little success and were discontinued in the market. Earlier this year Volkswagen introduced the BS6 Polo with a 1 litre Turbo engine, which is right now the only real competition to this Nios.
The exteriors are same as the other Nios trims, barring the Turbo badge on the grille and tailgate.
The Turbo GDi variant of the Grand i10 Nios is based on its Sportz trim and the only giveaway on the exterior is the turbo badge on the glossy black grille and the tailgate. It gets 2 single tone and 2 dual tone paint options. The red with black roof you see here is exclusive to the Turbo. The projector headlamps and 15 inch alloys are also standard on the Turbo, which are otherwise offered only on the dual tone Sportz trim of the car.
The Turbo variants get all the features seen on the dual tone Sportz trim of the car.
Inside too there are some features that come as standard like the wireless charger, a front USB charger and a leather wrapped steering wheel. Apart from that a lot of cues inside this cabin tell you that you're driving a turbo engine variant of the car and that's because of the red accents you see on this all-black layout. You can find these accents around the AC vents and dials while red stitching can be seen on the steering wheel, gear lever and the seats. Finally, the key fob is also finished in black which is a nice touch I must say.
Red accents at many places make the cabin of the Nios turbo look sporty.
Like other Sportz variants you also get the 8 inch touch screen that comes with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, voice recognition and bluetooth connectivity. What you don't get when compared to the top Asta trim is a start/stop button, rear wiper, cooled glovebox and adjustable rear headrests.
Hyundai is claiming a fuel efficiency of 20.3 kmpl on this Nios Turbo GDi.
We have seen this 1.0 litre turbo engine on other cars from Hyundai but on Venue and Verna it gets higher numbers in terms of power and torque. Its been slightly mellowed down on the Aura and now the Grand i10 Nios. So, what you get is 99 bhp and a good amount of torque - 172 Nm to be precise. But clearly the Nios is lighter than the Aura so the power to weight ratio is better on this car which means this is a more responsive setup that you get. What also adds to the experience is that peak torque kicks in quite early at around 1,500 rpm and stays with you till 4,000 rpm which translates into good fun while driving this car at most times. Add to that a rather impressive claimed fuel efficiency figure of 20.3 kmpl and it's a sweet deal.
A DCT gearbox could just make the Nios Turbo GDi even more enjoyable.
In comparison, the 1.2 litre Kappa Petrol engine on the Grand i10 Nios churns out 81 bhp along with a peak torque 113 Nm of at 4,000 rpm . That is enough to tell you what the Turbo GDi engine brings to the table. There's a 5 speed manual gearbox that comes as standard and there's no automatic though Hyundai would do well to bring the DCT box to this little pocket rocket too. So for the time being the only automatic option on the Nios remains the AMT.
Ride & Handling
The suspension feels stiffer when compared to the other variants of the car.
I spent a good amount of time driving this Turbo variant both in the city as well as on empty roads . What immediately caught my attention is that the gearshift is quite smooth just like we've seen on all Hyundai cars. What also adds to that is the fact that many a times you don't need to downshift because this setup is capable of handling lower speeds at higher gears. Now, there are elements which will contribute to a more pleasurable experience when you're driving the Turbo Nios. One of them is the sound of the engine, well, it's audible and you kind of like it too.
The engine is not as refined as the 1.2 litre mill, but that is expected from the Turbo.
While Hyundai does not claim this, the suspension tuning on the Turbo feels slightly stiffer than the stock Grand i10 Nios. This complements the car's nature and gives it a distinction over the regular variants. The steering could be more engaging to keep in line with that, but on the whole the new generation car's dynamics do come through. In terms of safety, emergency stop signal with flashing brake lights, dual airbags, ABS with EBD and front seat belt reminders are standard.
The Nios turbo is meant to be driven hard without worrying about efficiency.
The turbo variant of the Grand i10 Nios is priced at ₹ 7.70 lakh (ex-showroom). For the dual-tone its an additional ₹ 5000. That is slightly cheaper than its only real rival, the Volkswagen Polo TSI which starts at ₹ 7.89 lakh. But it is also approximately ₹ 1 lakh more expensive when compared to the dual tone sportz trim of the Nios with the 1.2 litre Kappa engine that comes with similar features. That does mean that you cannot call this turbo a value for money option but it is not for the value conscious anyway. It's for those who love to sit behind the wheel each and every minute and smile from ear to ear.