It has perhaps been one of the best thought out drives of modern times. Amidst fears of declining sales in the auto industry Hyundai India recently chose to celebrate the success of one of its most popular small cars – the i10. Hyundai flagged off a cross country drive initiative called “i-Drive India”. The purpose was to celebrate their over twelve lakh happy customers who have bought this model globally. The participants experience a number of extra features while driving a special edition iTech i10 both within the city as well as on the highway.
The drive commenced from Delhi covering cities like Jaipur, Udaipur, Silvassa, Mumbai, Goa, Hubli, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kochi, Salem, Chennai, Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam, Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata, Gaya, Varanasi, Agra and Jammu. We participated in the drive on the route from the city of Varanasi to the National Capital via the scenic town of Agra.
In perspective, the special edition i10 carries forward Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture which now bears an enhanced exterior design. This is seen especially in the body graphics with an iTech sticker.
An exciting change can be noticed is in its spruced up interiors. The i10 now comes loaded with a whole lot of features that comprise of red and beige upholstery, a black front dash with red plastic insert, an audio system with Aux-in, USB and Bluetooth connectivity. For better functionality, a steering mounted Bluetooth control further enhances the in cabin experience. A rear view parking camera with ECM is a welcome addition as it comes in handy while parking in confined spaces.
It still sports the original features: pulled back headlamps, chrome highlighted grille, an integrated air vent within the front bumper, fog lamps, side view mirrors with inserted turn indicators, plastic wheel covers and pair of elegant looking tail lamps.
No technical changes have been made to the heart of the machine. Nevertheless just to refresh your memory, the i10 features a 1.2 Kappa 2, 4 cylinder, 16 valve DOHC engine with VTVT. The total power output of this 1197cc unit stands at 80 PS with 11.4 kgm of torque. Having specified that, our drive commencing from Varanasi was a bit chaotic due to the small town’s traffic but we were able to catch the sunrise on the banks of the Ganga. Within the city, the i10 excellently negotiates its way through congested city roads skimming over potholes and broken surface with ease.
Out on the highway, this small hatchback feels pretty nippy due to its compact size although overtaking at times requires one to downshift in order to get ahead. A good steering feel with precise input enhances user experience. However, the only aspect which goes against it is its high speed capability.
As experienced on our way from Varanasi to Agra and then to Delhi via the Yamuna Expressway managing the i10 is pretty nerve racking if you suddenly apply brakes. As for the ride, the McPherson Strut with Coil Spring in the front along with coupled torsion beam axle with coil springs at rear did a decent job in providing a comfortable ride.
On the whole, initiatives like the “i-Drive India” provide an entirely different perspective to experiencing a vehicle.
To be frank, I have not been a huge fan of the i10 but after having been on this trip it seems to have grown on me simply due to its practicality, affordability and the kind of features that this small hatchback has to offer.