Hyundai i10 Sportz 1.2L Kappa2 road test

We review the recently refreshed Hyundai Next Gen i10

Since its launch in 2007, the Hyundai i10 has gradually taken over the Santro’s place as the carmaker’s flagship model. The Korean auto giant sold a combined 42,397 units of the Santro Xing, i10 and i20 models in December 2010 alone. However, if reports published early 2010 are any indication it is the i10 that has been driving up the sales, with average monthly sales of 12,000 units as against the Santro’s 7,000 units.

Of late, the i10’s supremacy was being challenged with several new models launched, including the Chevrolet Beat and Maruti A-Star. To counter the threat from upcoming cars and to maintain its leadership, Hyundai, in late September 2010, launched a facelifted i10. But with 21 new design changes, it is hard to describe the new i10 as just another facelift. Scroll to the bottom to see a video review.

hyundai i10 road test photo
Photo: Hyundai i10 gets a fresh new look and revised specifications

Fresh inclusions in the new Next Gen Hyundai i10 are foldable key with keyless entry, mirrors with integrated turn lamps, reverse parking sensors, body-coloured waistline moulding, full wheel cover, micro roof antenna, two-tone beige and brown colour, blue interior illumination, deluxe floor console with power outlet, metal grain-finish center fascia, chrome-finish inside door handles, chrome finish gear knob, gear shift indicator (in manual transmission), electric fuel indicator, height adjustable driver’s seat, electrically adjustable outside mirrors, heated wing mirrors, Aux and USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, and steering remote control (audio & Bluetooth).

hyundai i10 road test photo 2
Photo: The i10 profile is unchanged except for new badging and turn signals in the mirrors

The new Hyundai i10 is now offered in a vast array of trims, equipment and prices that, though great for buyers, can be confusing and complicating. Here’s an attempt to break through the maze.

The new Hyundai i10 comes in three variants: the 1.1 iRDE2 with manual transmission, the 1.2 Kappa2 VTVT with manual gearbox and the 1.2 Kappa2 with an automatic shift.

The 1.1-litre iRDE2 i10 is further available in three trims: D-Lite, Era and Magna while the 1.2-litre Kappa2 VTVT with manual transmission is offered in four trims: Magna, Sportz, Sportz Option and the top-of-the-line Asta. The Hyundai i10 automatic Kappa2 can be bought in only two trims: Sportz and Asta.

Of these, we road tested the 1.2-litre Hyundai i10 Kappa 2 Sportz variant. Here’s our report.

The looks: exterior and interior
Frankly, the old i10 was not much of a looker though some i10 owners and fans would disagree. The simple, conservative styling appealed to many (which explains its immense popularity) but with the streets teeming with them, the design had lost its freshness.

hyundai next gen i10 photo
Photo: Hyundai i10 gets a hexagonal refreshed grille and airdam
hyundai next gen i10 rear photo
The i10's tail lamps and rear bumper have been redesigned

On the exterior, the first thing you’d notice on the reworked Hyundai i10 is the signature hexagonal grille and the large headlamps, which add a menacing look to the front. The hexagonal grille, part of Hyundai’s new design language, will be a permanent fixture in future cars from the company. The huge airdam gets honeycomb mesh treatment and the triangular fog lamps (available only on the top-end Asta variant) are in line with the new i10’s sharp, angular styling.

hyundai i10 interior review pics
i10 gets integrated stereo with steering audio and Bluetooth phone controls. Note the microphone embedded in the roof

The side profile of the new i10 now comprises body-colored moldings; and electrically adjustable, heated wing mirrors with integrated turn lights—a first in the segment. Below the ORVMs are VTVT and Kappa2 badges that indicate the trim level. Wheels get full cover but alloys are glaringly absent even in the top i10 variant. The rear gets a new bumper with recessed reflectors, body-colored rub strip and a slightly refreshed tail lamp cluster.

hyundai i10 review pics
Sportz variant of i10 gets power windows and mirrors, with integrated turn signal, light in the boot, iPod, Aux and USB connectivity and separate 12V power point

Step inside the new i10 and you’d notice a relatively more upmarket interior.The dash now sports a light brown and beige color scheme instead of the black-beige on the older i10. The centre console gets a metal-grain finish; and seen with the dashboard tone, it gives off a classy European vibe.

The audio quality of the in-dash stereo system of the new Hyundai i10 —which now also plays MP3s—is truly awesome. It even sounded better than some units on higher-segment cars like the Nissan Micra. Hyundai really deserves a pat in the back for adding USB and iPod support, as well as Bluetooth connectivity—a necessity in today’s tech-savvy age. To top it off, there are also steering-mounted buttons to control the audio system and phone calls.

The instrument cluster has been redesigned and features a digital fuel gauge, odometer, trip meter, etc. It also gets a cool blue illumination in place of the green in earlier Hyundais. The i10 is also equipped with reverse parking sensors, which could be useful in cities, though we doubt its utility in smaller towns.

 

i10 kappa2 engine photo
The 1.2 L Kappa engine in the i10 now gets variable valve timing technology

The engine…

Facelift aside, the new Next Gen Hyundai i10 also has a new heart under the hood—the 1,197 cc, 4-cylinder, 16 valves Kappa2 engine. Essentially, it’s the same unit as the Kappa on the previous i10, with power and torque figures, too, unchanged at 80 bhp @ 6,000 rpm and 11.4 kgm @ 4,000 rpm respectively. What’s new about the mill is the variable valve-timing technology (or what Hyundai calls VTVT) that helps enhance low-end torque and fuel economy by controlling the opening of intake valves and lifts based on engine speed and load. The i10 is currently the only hatchback in India to boast this technology, not taking into account the Honda Jazz, which falls in a higher segment.

i10 kappa2 rear seat picture
Photo: The i10's rear seats are comfortable for two, but cramped for three
next gen i10 boot photo
Hyundai i10's boot can hold a couple of bags, enough for a weekend trip out of town

The drive…

The older Hyundai i10 Kappa was already a peppy performer and the Kappa2 just gets better. During the course of the road test, we noted that straight line stability has improved. Noise, vibration, harshness (NVH) levels have been further refined but the engine feels a bit strained over 100 kmph. Feedback from the heavy steering is responsive and darting in and out of traffic is as easy as on the older i10. The brakes are sharp, in fact, a tad too sharp, and take time adjusting to.

The five-speed gearbox is slick and placed close to the dashboard, the same convenient spot as on the previous i10. What also aids driveability is a gearshift indicator that suggests when to change gears for optimum fuel efficiency.

The mileage…

According to ARAI, the new Hyundai i10 Kappa2 delivers 20.36 kmpl, a notch higher than the older i10 with the Kappa engine as well as the new Maruti Alto K10. It also beats the Chevy Beat, which gives 18.6 kmpl. Overall, the i10 is just second to the Tata Nano, which offers a mileage of 23.6 kmpl.

What to expect…

The new Hyundai i10 starts at Rs 3.48 lakhs and goes all the way up to Rs 5.90 lakhs for the top-of-the-line Asta variant. The Sportz variant we tested is priced at Rs 4.45 lakhs and offers the best balance of features and price.

With a host of first-in-class features such as indicator-integrated heated mirrors, and Bluetooth connectivity, the new i10 does up the ante. However, most of the new features are available only on the top-end trims, hanging a question mark on the value offered by the base variants.

The VTVT engine while giving the i10 bragging rights, adds to the frugality. It could do with some more bhp, though, to give it the character of a hot hatch. On to the Kappa3 then!

Hyundai i10 Kappa2 road test video:

Technical Specifications

Model 1.1iRDE2 1.2 Kappa2
Variant Manual Manual Automatic
Length (mm) 3,585 3,585 3,585
Width (mm) 1,595 1,595 1,595
Height (mm) 1,550 1,550 1,550
Wheelbase (mm) 2,380 2,380 2,380
Ground Clearance 165 165 165
Fuel Tank Capacity 35 35 35
Engine Configuration 4-cyl, 12 valve 4-cyl 16 valve 4-cyl, 16 valve
Engine Capacity (cc) 1,086 1,197 1,197
Max. Power  (ps/rpm) 69/5,500 80/6,000 80/6,000
Max. Torque (kgm/rpm) 10.1/4,500 11.4/4,000 11.4/4,000
Transmission 5-speed 5-speed 4-speed
Suspension McPherson strut with coil spring (front)
Coupled torsion beam axle with coil spring (rear)
Brakes Ventilated disc (front)
Drums (rear)

Prices

Model Ex-Showroom Delhi
i10 1.1 iRDE2
D-Lite Rs. 3.48 lakh
Era Rs. 3.84 lakh
Magna Rs. 3.99 lakh
i10 1.2 Kappa2 VTVT
Magna 1.2 Rs. 4.15 lakh
Sportz Rs. 4.45 lakh
Sportz (O) Rs. 4.75 lakh
Sportz AT Rs. 5 lakh
Asta Rs. 5.18 lakh
Asta Rs. 5.90 lakh