Hyundai Eon a worthy Alto competitor? A launch preview

Updated October 12:

Hyundai will likely launch the much-expected Eon small car on October 13. Bookings for the Eon small car have already started, and buyers seem excited about this potential Alto-competitor.

Will the Eon redefine things in terms of looks and comfort?

The Eon will have an aggressively-styled ‘fluidic’ exterior.  Going by pictures of the Hyundai Eon revealed so far, expect the car’s front to have a hexagonal grille and headlamps like the i10’s. Even the side profiles of the Eon resemble the i10. The rear is likely to have a large chunky bumper, curvy hatch door and radically styled tall tail lamp cluster. Read more: Eon bookings during October

hyundai eon photo india
Photo: The production version of the Hyundai Eon looks identical to this initial rendering

The Eon measuring 3495 x 1550 x 1500 mm will be slightly longer and wider than the Alto (3495 x 1475 x 1460 mm). It will also have a 20 mm longer wheelbase (2380 mm) than the Alto (2360 mm), which means it’s likely to have better ride stability and more legroom for passengers.

Being a tall boy design, headroom is also likely to be adequate for taller people in the Eon. Boot space is estimated to be 215 litres, which is good enough in this segment (Alto has 170 litres only).

Maruti Suzuki Alto Photo

Based on the spy photos, the interior of the Eon too will be upmarket. Expect a symmetrical dashboard, attractively sculpted spoke steering wheel and plenty of cubby holes, bottle holders and good quality plastics.

The Eon will likely redefine the entry-level small car segment since Maruti Alto, Chevrolet Spark and Hyundai Santro are quite old-looking today.

Will Eon deliver better than the Alto?

To start with, the Eon is powered by an 814 cc engine that makes 55.23 bhp (56 PS) of power and 75 Nm of torque. This little engine will thus be more powerful than the regular Alto which is powered by a 796 cc, three pot motor that makes 47 PS of power and 62 Nm of torque.

hyundai eon spy photo1

The fuel economy of the Eon is expected to be about 21 kmpl which is slightly more than the claimed mileage of 19.73 kmpl of the Alto. So, we can safely assume the Eon with more power and torque will perform slightly better than the Alto and will also be frugal.

The interior of the Alto is minimalistic with a utilitarian dashboard slightly cramped cabin space and limited head room. On the other hand, the upcoming Eon, with its promising interiors, may likely raise the interior standards in small cars to a new level and thus offer a better and more ergonomic cabin than the Alto.

Summing up, the upcoming Eon seems to be capable of beating the Alto in engine performance, mileage and cabin space. However, pricing of the Eon will be the most important factor that will decide whether the Eon is a worthy alternative to the segment leader, Maruti Alto, which continues to sell about 25,000 vehicles a month.

Features and accessories

Hyundai has always been wise in offering buyers with a wide range of variants in all its cars, especially the i10 and Verna. There are chances that the same approach will be followed in the case of the Eon. Hyundai will likely launch the Eon in six trim levels, i.e. the D-Lite, D-Lite (O), Era, Magna, Magna (O) and Sportz.

The base variant will likely have bare-minimal equipment levels at par with the Alto base variant i.e., no AC and no power steering. The second variant of Eon may likely be offered with AC, the third variant with power steering and so on.

Hyundai will likely offer more comfort and convenience features such as central locking, power windows, music system, USB/Aux-in ports, speakers and parcel tray in the higher trim levels. The top-end variant may likely feature a driver airbag, keyless entry, fog lamps and chromes bits on the interior/exterior.

Expected price

Take a quick look at the Maruti Alto and Maruti Alto K10 pricing to estimate the prices of the upcoming Eon. The base variant, Alto STD is priced at Rs. 2.32 lakh, the mid trim, Alto LX is priced at Rs. 2.63 lakh while the top-end LXI is priced at Rs. 2.81 lakh. Note that the first two variants of Alto (STD and LX) lack power steering. Also, the LX comes with AC but no power steering and only the LXI has both AC and power steering.

We expect a similar variant-pricing strategy for the Eon. Hence, the Eon base variant (without AC and power steering) could be priced at about Rs. 2.5 lakh, the next variant (with AC but no power steering) could be priced at Rs. 2.7 lakh, and the next higher variant (with AC and power steering) could be priced at Rs. 2.9 lakh.

The higher variants of the Eon will likely compete with the Alto K10 (Rs. 3.04 lakh – Rs. 3.17 lakh). In this case, the Alto K10, powered by a 1-litre K-series engine making 67 bhp and 90 Nm will most likely be peppier to drive than the 814 cc Eon. Also read: Alto K10 review

If Hyundai offers the top-end variants of Eon at prices more than Rs. 3.3 lakh, it may likely enter into the Maruti Wagon-R (Rs. 3.35 lakh – Rs. 4.20 lakh), MarutiEstilo (Rs 3.27 – Rs. 4.14 lakh) and it’s own stable mate, the Hyundai Santro territory thereby losing its proposition.

Conclusion

The upcoming Hyundai Eon will definitely be an attractive car if priced in the Rs. 2.5 lakh – Rs. 3.3 lakh range. We feel that the Eon may not drastically dent the sales of Alto, as Maruti’s low running cost and great after sales service will be hard to resist. Cars such as Chevrolet Spark and Hyundai’s own Santro may feel more heat from the Eon as the latter will likely be kitted with better features. However, when Maruti Suzuki launches the new M800 in mid-2012 (estimated launch period) to take on the Eon, expect a whole new rivalry to begin!

*All prices are ex-showroom, Delhi