The new Hyundai Eon launched recently, positioning it against directly against the Maruti Suzuki Alto (800 cc version). The Eon is stylish, has good features and comes at a competitive price. Hyundai is the second largest car maker in India with a good sales and service network across the country.
Is the styling, space and aggressive price of the Eon enough to steal customers from the segment leader and world’s largest selling car, the Maruti Suzuki Alto? Let’s pitch the Eon D-Lite AC variant with the standard Alto Lxi variant to know which car has better ‘value for money’ proposition.
Driving and handling
The Eon is powered by 814 cc engine that makes 55.23 bhp (56 PS) of power and 75 Nm of torque. This little engine is slightly more powerful than the Alto which is powered by a 796 cc power mill that makes only 47 PS of power and 62 Nm of torque. Hence, expect the Eon to return slightly better acceleration and performance than the Alto.
The Alto is a reliable city car with decent driving and handling characteristics. For daily city commuting, its light electric power steering is a boon. Besides, its short gearing and light clutch allows you to accelerate quickly and drive into gaps in slow moving city traffic. But, when it comes to highway, the car runs out of breath and needs frequent gear shifts for overtaking and faster acceleration.
On the other hand, the Eon has a slightly better road view than the Alto, thanks to its taller seat height and overall design. The D-Lite variant doesn’t get electric power steering and hence parking at tight spaces and trying to squeeze through gaps in city traffic will be difficult.
The light clutch and easy-to-shift gearbox is a relief though. The Eon’s engine has a strong mid range that can tackle daily commuting chores without breaking sweat. On the highway, like the Alto, the Eon runs out of breath, but can cope up with other fast moving cars on hard acceleration and shifting gears at higher rpm.
Handling wise, both the Eon and Alto are good at low (city) speeds while at highways, you can feel slight vertical movements especially when taking fast corners while the Alto feels planted. Both cars tend to bounce a bit as their suspension is tuned more for plush riding in slow speeds.
Overall, there is no clear winner, but since Alto Lxi gets power steering in the Lxi variant, it has an edge over the Eon.
Space and comfort
This is one department where Eon clearly has an edge over the Alto. To start with, Eon is taller and wider than the Alto thus offering better shoulder room and head room to both front & rear passengers. In particular, the Eon gets a 20 mm wider wheelbase (2380 mm) than the Alto (2360 mm), which means better ride stability and more legroom for passengers. Besides, the boot space is 215 litres, pretty large than Alto’s 170 litres boot space. The interiors of the Eon feel upmarket as against the old school design of Alto’s dashboard.
The front seats in the Eon offer good lateral and it’s under thigh support slightly better than in the Alto. At the rear too, the Eon offers slightly more comfort than the Alto, even when three adults occupy the seat. The Eon has a slight edge over Alto when it comes to space and overall comfort.
The Eon’s attractive fluidic design with its large headlamps, wide hexagonal grille and aerodynamic front bumper is appealing. The side profile of the Eon resembles Hyundai i10 while the rear has a unique high mounted tail lamps cluster that offers better and is eye-catchy too.
On the other hand, the conventional design of the Alto is quite familiar and dull looking. The practical design makes no room for any attractive curves.
Given a choice, we would prefer the Eon than the Alto in terms of looks.
The Eon D-Lite (O) comes with AC, front & rear seat belts, child safety rear door locks, engine immobilizer, inside rear view mirror, chrome tip radiator grille, integrated spoiler, full wheel cover (hub cap), 2-tone beige & brown key color, B&C pillar trims, bench folding rear seats, 2-spoke non-metallic steering wheel, dual trip meter, low fuel warning, digital fuel gauge, gear shift indicator, remote fuel lid opener and remote tailgate release.
The Alto Lxi comes with electronic power steering, AC with heater, stylish front bumper, stylish front grille, electronic trip meter, glove box, front door pockets, speedometer with digital fuel indicator, remote fuel lid opener, front & rear seat belts, integrated rear seat head restraints, high mount stop lamp, booster assisted brakes and iCATS security system.
Summing up, the Eon D-Lite (O) offers most of the features offered by the Alto Lxi but misses out one vital feature: power steering. Hence, the Alto Lxi is the winner here.
Price, mileage and overall VFM
The Alto Lxi is priced at Rs. 2.83 lakh while the Eon D-Lite (O) is priced at Rs. 2.91 lakh. It’s hard to beat any Maruti car when it comes to pricing and Alto is no exception. Price wise, the Alto Lxi still has an edge for it gets power steering not offered in the Eon D-Lite (O).
The fuel economy of Eon is claimed to be 21.4 kmpl which is slightly more than the claimed mileage of 19.73 kmpl of the Alto. So, we assume the Eon will likely be frugal than the Alto. However, we reserve our judgment as we are yet to see its actual mileage in real world conditions.
Overall, if space and comfort is the key criteria, the Eon D-Lite (O) will be the better choice, but the Alto Lxi is a proven car and comes with an overall good package thus having an edge over Eon when it comes to ‘value for money’ proposition.
Pros and Cons
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If exterior looks, aesthetic interiors, space and comfort are your priority, pick the Eon D-Lite (O). But if you are looking for practical, reliable, city hatchback, the Alto Lxi is the better option.