GRAND I10 NIOS V SWIFT

The Nios has im­proved by leaps and bounds over the Grand i10, but has it done enough to take on the Swift?

Evo India - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy: Sachin S Khot

CARS ARE GET­TING BIG­GER and hatch­backs, es­pe­cially, are climb­ing up the lad­der and of­fer­ing much more when it comes to prac­ti­cal­ity and fea­tures. One such in­ter­est­ing car in ques­tion is the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios. Sure, the Grand i10 Nios has grown in leaps and bounds when com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sor, the Grand i10. But what's sur­pris­ing is that the lit­tle hatch­back is now punch­ing above its weight and we think it could pose a cred­i­ble chal­lenge to hatch­backs from a seg­ment above. To put these thoughts to the test, we pit­ted it against the seg­ment leader, the Maruti Suzuki Swift. We tested the Asta diesel vari­ant of the i10 Nios against the VDi (we couldn't get our hands on the ZDi+) AMT vari­ant of the Swift as the diesel vari­ants are ar­guably the most prac­ti­cal with their much higher fuel ef­fi­ciency.

The Swift has dom­i­nated its seg­ment when it comes to sheer sales num­bers for close to a decade now. But, on pa­per the cars are closely matched – 74bhp for the Swift as against ex­actly 74bhp when it comes to the Grand i10 Nios. Torque too stands at an iden­ti­cal 190Nm. Were Hyundai aim­ing for the Swift all along? The pric­ing that puts it tan­ta­lis­ingly close only points to that di­rec­tion. Things get even more in­ter­est­ing as you spend more time with the spec sheets. They have an iden­ti­cal wheel­base of 2450mm and the other dimensions, too, are very sim­i­lar, ex­cept for the width and height, with the Grand i10 Nios be­ing a lit­tle nar­rower and shorter.

The sim­i­lar­i­ties how­ever, end the mo­ment you step foot in to ei­ther of the two. The Hyundai Grand i10 Nios is stylish and mod­ern on the in­side while the Swift sticks to a more tra­di­tional ap­proach. The all-black lay­out of the Swift is some­thing that I did ad­mire. But frankly, it doesn't get the host of giz­mos and tech that the Grand i10 Nios gets. Nor, does it match the sheer qual­ity of ma­te­ri­als in the Nios. The front row seats in the Swift are how­ever, more com­fort­able, although over­all qual­ity and ma­te­ri­als of the Grand i10 Nios' seats are def­i­nitely bet­ter. In the back, the Swift's cabin is wider and can seat three abreast eas­ily. The bump in the cen­tre, how­ever, makes for an un­com­fort­able mid­dle pas­sen­ger. Sur­pris­ingly, knee­room is just a lit­tle bet­ter in the Grand i10 Nios. How­ever, what re­ally sets the Nios' cabin apart is how airy the cabin feels when com­pared to the Swift's which feels hemmed in. The choices to use brighter colours in the cabin as well as the larger glass area (as com­pared to the Swift) cer­tainly helps matters.

The Grand i10 Nios is in tune with 2019 when it comes to the equip­ment it of­fers and prospec­tive buy­ers will like the neat lit­tle touches like the tex­tured sur­faces on the dash and on the doors, the Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto en­abled in­fo­tain­ment screen, cooled glove­box, rear AC vents, rear charg­ing ports and the wire­less charg­ing pad.

The en­gine and trans­mis­sion combo on the Swift has al­ways been a high point and it con­tin­ues to impress in its third gen­er­a­tion too. But now the Swift's en­gine is matched closely by the Grand i10 Nios'. It revs eas­ily all the way upto its red­line and you can ride the gen­er­ous torque curve as you over­take slow­er­mov­ing cars. The five–speed man­ual gear­box on the Grand i10 Nios too is just as good as that on the Swift, and its short throws al­low for a rather ef­fort­less time be­hind the wheel. There is one small grouse I have with the Grand i10 Nios' en­gine and gear­box though, and that's the amount of vi­bra­tions that can be felt at speeds of upto 12kmph in sec­ond gear. Mind you, it doesn't have a ten­dency to stall eas­ily at those speeds (which is some­thing first-time car buy­ers will ap­pre­ci­ate) but the vi­bra­tions

The Nios has grown in leaps and bounds when com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sor

that are felt through the clutch pedal are a tad un­pleas­ant.

Both the Swift and the Grand i10 Nios have a McPher­son strut at the front and a tor­sion beam at the back. But what they achieve us­ing that setup couldn't be more dif­fer­ent. Among the two, the Swift is clearly the driver's car, mostly as a re­sult of the steer­ing that feels a lot more di­rect than the overly-as­sisted one in the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios. The wider track must cer­tainly be help­ing matters, as the Swift def­i­nitely feels more planted go­ing through cor­ners. How­ever, the ride has a harder edge to it and a fair share of bumps and un­du­la­tions are felt in the cabin.

The Grand i10 Nios takes an ap­proach that finds the mid­dle ground be­tween good ride and han­dling. The steer­ing wheel is vague and of­fers no real feed­back but it is ac­cu­rate and is ac­cept­able enough in most driv­ing sce­nar­ios. How­ever, what re­ally sets it apart is how the sus­pen­sion deals with bumps and pot­holes. The Grand i10 Nios takes the edge off most un­du­la­tions and there is very lit­tle that ac­tu­ally makes its way to the cabin. And more im­por­tantly for us driv­ing en­thu­si­asts, the body roll is well con­tained too. The han­dling too, is ex­tremely pre­dictable and it man­ages to keep the car com­posed even while sprint­ing down a bumpy back road. As speeds go up, the

What re­ally sets the Nios apart is how the sus­pen­sion

deals with bumps and pot­holes

Grand i10 Nios con­tin­ues to ride and han­dle well but the Swift's steer­ing loses its di­rect feel and is ex­ces­sively light, mak­ing you take a step back once at high­way speeds. On the brak­ing front, both the Swift and the Nios have brakes with good bite and feed­back but the Grand i10 Nios holds the edge with slightly bet­ter per­for­mance.

Over­all, the Nios out­per­forms the Swift in a num­ber of key ar­eas and comes across as a bet­ter over­all pack­age. The Swift re­mains the en­thu­si­ast's car but in most other ar­eas the Nios outscores the bench­mark and that makes it the win­ner of this com­par­i­son. ⌧

Top to bot­tom, Nios: 8-inch touch­screen on the NIOS is fast and re­spon­sive; both diesel and petrol get the op­tion of AMT; wire­less charg­ing pad is un­heard of in this seg­ment

Top to bot­tom: Swift's cabin looks dated in com­par­i­son; the Nios gets bright and peppy colours on the in­side; the 15-inch al­loys on the Nios look much smarter. Fac­ing page, bot­tom: 1.2-litre diesel en­gine in the Nios is bor­rowed from the Grand i10, but is more re­spon­sive

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