SCOOP: Exclusive India drive: Hyundai I10 CRDi LHD prototype
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(Disclaimer: Due to obvious security reasons, no photographs were allowed and the model that I drove was one of the export models.
The price may be on the higher side, but is still competitive for what it offers, that is, the overall feel expected from a pint sized kei-car.
The only thing that was missing was the newly developed 1.1 diesel that Hyundai uses on its models intended for exports. Hyundai has been planning to launch this varient in India for sometime now, but thanks to a combination of high price (engine is imported from Ulsan, Korea) and fuel quality (the engine has a high compression ratio of 17.8:1) the company as of now, put its launch on hold.
The small diesel segment (lower B) is still untapped. Only the Indica sells in decent numbers. The ritz diesel is a sales flop. The swift is priced higher, so do the grande punto and Hyundai's own I20. So, what we actually need is a small city diesel car which can be priced at about 4,25-4,99 lakh (according to Hyundai's India product planners that were targeting the price band-unbelievable but true) that caters to all these needs.
The only answer-localization of the engine but Hyundai needs to bild a plant to do this and that still is a long way off. Whether Hyundai will launch the I10 diesel or not is anyone's guess, maybe its a matter of time before Hyundai decides to take a plunge and launches it, if at all, by mid 2010 but expect the car to be slightly expensive than the ritz diesel, not necessarily a good thing.
Hyundai I10 CRDi specifications:
(Test prototype belongs to company, covered 9,000 km, as well maintained as a showroom car)
List price of that configured car:
The I10 has always been a good looking car and this model keeps the tradition of one of the more modern mini car designs from Hyundai, done at its Namyang design studio where the car was designed. Keeping European and Asian tastes in minds, the styling is both simple (side and rear) and aggressive (front and front quarters).
The interior, too feels durable especially the combination of charcoal black and steel finish which looks distinctly sporty and durable, easy to clean as compared to our I 10 which sports beige interiors.A request to Hyundai-can we have this interiors in the "sportz" model please? It will appeal to youngsters and will gel with the sporting pretensions that the car wants to convey.
On the other hand, Interior space could be a tad better as the car falls short on legroom and only feels marginally more spacious than its predecessor, the Santro.
The heart of the matter:
The I10 CRDi is powered by one of the smallest common rail diesels on earth with a 1.1 litre 3 cylinder 12V DOHC design, extremely light (engine weighs a claimed 110 kg, lighter than the MJD) and all aluminum design for cylinder block and heads, aimed at improving bottom end performance, efficiency and mid range, crucial fo urban driving that this car is targeted at.
The tacho is ca liberated at max 6000 rpms with the redline at about 5700-5800. Producing max power of 75 ps @4000 rpm and a torque of 15.6 kg-m at a low 1900-2700 rpm power band.
Start the engine and for sure it is one of the quietest diesels around in its class, more so than the famous 1.3 MJD. This engine is specifically designed for the I10 and shares nothing with another small CRDi unit that powers the KIA picanto, which has a 3 cylinder design.
Figures on paper mean that the acceleration has to be strong and it is.On an empty stretch, the instant throttle response is simply the best ever seen on a diesel powered Hyundai and this time, turbo lag is barely noticeable even at 1500 rpm. The engine pulls cleanly at 3rd gear from 20 kmph without any jerk all the way upto 110 kmph.
Claimed acceleration time of 13.7 seconds is rightly to be believed but the way the power is delivered, especially at between 1500-3800 rpms, is simply stupendous. The car feels so much fun to drive, and you get addicted to the devastating wave of torque in its mid range, more so than the swift, despite the engine's smaller dimensions.
Mid range performance is even staggering, 20-80 kmph on 3rd gear is dispatched in 11.9 secs (manufacturers claim) and the close ratio gearbox is superbly calibrated with the engine's driving characteristic.
The only fly in the ointment: post 130 kmph, the engine tapers off its power band and the top end performance is nothing to write home about, simply because the inherent small volumetric efficiency of the engine does not suit it to do so. Keep between 1500-4000 rpm range and you will find no cause for complain. Bigger cars like i20 CRDi or verna do this job infinitely better, but lag in bottom end due to excessive turbo lag.
Riding in low pro 165/60 R14 tyres the I10 has decent low speed ride, on par in its class. Its only in the craters that the car crashes with suspension noise that can be felt inside the cabin. Surprisingly ride quality at the rear is slightly better at low to mid speeds, due to stiff suspension and passengers do not really get tossed around. But cross 80 kmph and the ride gets harsher on our roads. European roads are definitely better and there ride of course, is expected to be better.
Hyundai has also made changes to the front suspension spring and damper rates and the car again rides better while up front but its the same story at high speeds.
The upside is the handling which is simply better than the I20 and I think, one of the best seen on a Hyundai car to date. Despite using lighter MDPS (motor driven power steering), Hyundai has calibrated to suit this engine with a quicker steering ratio at lower speeds for ease of parallel parking and the steering, though a bit heavier than the 1.2, feels perfectly weighted for a car this size. Women will simply love the car's easy to drive user friendly nature thanks to light ergonomic controls.
This is one of the kei-cars which feels stable at high speeds on the highway and the steering does not feel alarmingly artificial as in the I20 crdi. Even at 150, the car is planted on the road with no signs of shaking that plagues many cars of this size. A bit of weight increase up front helps matters but since the car that I drove was equipped with so many safety gadgets, obviously it weighed more than its petrol counterpart.
This car came equipped with 4-wheel discs (ventilated in front,solid at rear) with standard 4 channel ABS and EBD.
Braking is excellent with no signs of fading after a series of repeated stops but pedal feel could be better. As with cars of this size and class, the rear tends to bob a bit while braking hard from 90-0 kmph. No cause for worries though.
Hyundai claims a mileage of 26.5 kmpl in EU driving cycle but remember that there is a marked difference between their fuel quality and that of ours.
Expect between 15-16 kmpl in city limits and about 20 kmpl on highway with our branded diesel fuel, enough to make it one of the most efficient cars in India.
Buying and owning:
As with many Hyundais, service and maintenance is easily available with a widespread network of dealers and dealer workshops. But imported CRDi components will mean expensive mechanical repairs and maintenance costs, even for a small car like I10, again a deterrent in this price sensitive segment and of prime importance to owners.
This is again one of the main reasons that Hyundai has not launched the vehicle yet.
Recently the company's standards, so well known for its prompt and courteous staff and efficient dealer network is falling and Hyundai needs to improve on this aspect and train its staff accordingly.
This car is actually perfectly suited for India. A car that we need, it caters to the masses with its easy to drive nature, punchy and efficient diesel engine with ease of parking in congested city spaces and decent space and comfort, the I10 diesel has all the makings of the winner.
It all boils down to one factor-PRICE, one that Hyundai is finding hard to achieve at this level.The ritz diesel, similar in dimensions to I10-only marginally bigger, has simply not sold in the numbers that Maruti expected it to, simply because customers perceive it to be overpriced and under equipped, especially in front of Indica Vista which is bigger, roomier and more spacious an comfortable.
Only time will tell whether if at all this variant of I 10 will make it here but one thingís for sure: This country badly needs a small urban diesel car and Hyundai can have the first mover advantage if it prices the car at the quoted price of 4,25,000-4,99,000.
But donít expect good levels of standard equipment or else, the price will be more expensive then the ritz, another sign of lost opportunity from Hyundai.
Let the company take its own time to make sure that it listens to us and prices the car competitively. Over to you Hyundai!
Hmmm this sounds like some good sporty stuff for the city.
If only they bring out a base model with ABS, Airbags and Air conditioning... I would buy it. :P
Good stuff Sid!
Keep 'em coming.
not sure whats holding up Hyundai. This car has the potential to shake up the market! of course not at those prices - at prices comparable to Swift D, it can make serious dent in Maruti's diesel products.
Good one Sid. Hoping that Hyundai will launch this in Indian market in the near future.
Great scoop sid. Interesting to see that it's a 4 cylinder VGT. IIRC, earlier reports pointed to a 3 cylinder engine. 0-100 timings look really good.
It's certainly got the potential to be a hot seller, provided the pricing is right. Something the getz could never do to the swift.
Very Nice Information SID :) You doing what you best at - Getting us great automobile Scoops !
I am sure they are going to go and launch this in the next year. Auto Expo should show this.
The i10 is a hot seller from Day 1 and having a Diesel Variant should up their sales and perhaps even dent their current Petrol Model Sales - Just like what the Swift Diesel did to it's Petrol Sibling.
no features will be there if it is releasing in India - Bet.
coz, with all those cruise control, ABS-EBD, will do add plus while the PRICE will definitely make people shake their heads sideways...
This will just get a dream-car image for the common small car lovers (buyers), and will be a rich small car for ladies.. By that scenario, the number of sales will be ... he he, youcan imagine.
good info sid, but few queries comes out are current petrol i10 comes around 4.2L to 5.5L for automatics, so atleast base model for diesel would be premium of 50-70K's more to petrol ones so we can expect if diesel i10 comes out in the range of swift for sure, below that would be a good deal for buyers.
Great move by Hyundai..
But I cannot understand why they are taking so much time.. the i10 crdi should have been out years ago..
Nice scoop Sid. This is one good offering to the market if Hyundai launch it.
My question is how different it is from Getz ? Can it be cheaper than Getz!
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