Hyundai's Grand i10 is a direct challenge to the Swift in the premium compact segment. Is it capable of dislodging the long-reigning Maruti Suzuki car from the top perch?
In the summer of 2005, a whirlwind changed the hatchback segment in the Indian market. We all know it today as Maruti Suzuki's Swift. This premium compact car made buyers believe that a car could make a style statement and still be affordable. The Swift continues to rule the roost. There have been some serious challengers like the Nissan Micra, Toyota Liva and the Ford Figo, but the Swift has been winning all duels. Now, Maurti's arch-rival Hyundai has unleashed its new weapon, the Grand i10. The Korean challenger comes with a potent armoury, but will it prove to be Swift's kryptonite?
The Grand i10 is not a reworked i10 sans the bug eyes. Apart from the name i10, there is nothing similar between the two cars. For starters, the Grand has a new wheel base. The edgy, futuristic looks might not be a crowd puller, but it definitely raises eyebrows, specially with its hexagonal front grill. Though the meaty wrapround front bumper tries to be in line with the standard Hyundai Fluidic design, the straighter, wedge-like rear lines set it apart. The beautiful 14-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels add to the Grand's style.
The Swift has always been gorgeous, age no bar. It has radical looks, and we confess the Grand has very little chance in beating the Swift in this department.
Comfort with aplomb
The Grand is a class apart once you open the doors. It is almost a mini Verna, the hot-selling sedan from Hyundai, as it comes with many modern features. The beige-black palette gives it an airy feel. The plastic is of high quality, and the black doesn't have the cheap shine of an inferior material. The seats are big and comfortable, and since this car was especially made for India, it has enough legroom space for rear passengers to ensure that one doesn't feel one is in detention. Among the attractive features are the rear AC vents. The top variants get a music system with 1GB memory and Bluetooth connectivity. They also have steering-mounted controls and button ignition.
The Swift, in comparison, has all-black interiors that go well with its sporty image. Even though the cabin dimensions have improved, it still offers less legroom space. With the fit and finish and improved plastic qualities, you don't get to hear much rattle and hum now. This hatch does have an edge over the Grand in safety features as it comes with ABS in the top variant. In terms of comfort, the Swift has climate control, which the Grand lacks.
The Grand's 1.1-litre diesel engine is a gem. Acceleration is smooth, and there is no rush of power. It doesn't do much beyond 2000 rpm, but the great thing about the engine is that you don't need to change gears on a regular basis when you are driving bumper-to-bumper.
The Swift has always been known as being fun to drive. The strength of the 1.3-litre diesel engine is its mid-range power. The initial pick up might face some resistance, but once the motor is rolling there is no stopping this hatch. The Swift is great to drive in the city but you need to go in for a couple of short throws to pick up speed. On highways, as its name suggests, this car is simply unbeatable.
What say you?
The Hyundai Grand i10 is a well-planned sensible car and its cabin material is the best in the segment. It has loads of little cubby holes for storage too. The car is designed to provide more space and better visibility for the rear passengers, and in this aspect, the Swift is no match. And don't forget the Grand's excellent ride quality.
The Swift is a lot more driver focused, with an engine happy to breach the rpm red line. It holds the aces in handling and looks. It might lack the snazzy interiors and features, but the race still favours the Swift. Yes, the Grand is almost there, but not quite.
Power: 70bhp @ 4,000rpm
Torque: 160Nm @ 1,500 rpm
Economy: 24 kmpl (ARAI)
Price: Rs 5.23 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi)
MARUTI SUZUKI SWIFT (DIESEL)
Power: 74bhp @ 4,000rpm
Torque: 190Nm @ 2,000 rpm
Economy: 22.9 kmpl (ARAI)
Price: Rs 5.65 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi)