Hyundai has only just revealed the all-new Grand i10 hatchback, which is set for launch in India on September 3.
But that’s not all Hyundai has been busy with. Hyundai is developing a saloon derivative of the Grand i10, which is likely to hit Indian roads in the first half of 2014. And it can’t come a moment too soon. The compact saloon segment is one that is witnessing tremendous growth and Hyundai is anxious to launch it own sub- 4 metre saloon to grab a slice of the action.
Hence, after the Hyundai Grand i10 hatchback, the next big thing for Korean car make will be the three-box or saloon derivative on the same BA platform to take on rivals like the like the Honda Amaze and Maruti Dzire. Also, the Grand i10 saloon will fill the large void in the lower end of Hyundai’s model line-up left by the Accent after it was finally phased out earlier this year. In fact, there is a possibility that the Grand i10 saloon which is an India-only product (and for a few other markets too) could wear the Accent moniker instead of the alpha-numerical ‘i’ nomenclature which is reserved for global products. The new saloon is unlikely to be called the i15 as the ‘5’ numeral, according to Hyundai’s badging policy is meant for crossover products. It is for this reason that the Grand i10 wasn’t christened the i15 either as was erroneously speculated.
To keep costs in check, the Grand i10 and the saloon derivative are likely to be common right up to the B-pillar but the rear section will be completely different with new rear doors and a boot section which, according to company sources, has been well integrated with the rest of the car and doesn’t look like its been glued to the back. Unlike the Amaze, which has a much longer wheelbase than its Brio sibling, the Grand i10 saloon is likely to share the same wheelbase as the hatchback, which is in essence a stretched version of a regular i10 with a wheelbase that is a substantial 100mm longer.
Hyundai’s new compact saloon or next-gen Accent will be powered by the same set of engines as the Grand i10. This includes the familiar 1.2 litre Kappa petrol motor and the all-new three-cylinder 1.1-litre VGT ‘U2’ diesel engine that will debut in the upcoming Grand i10. The compact engine bays rules out the possibility of offering the option of the bigger and more powerful 1.4, four-cylinder diesel motor that does duty in the i20. But, with just a 1.1 diesel, the Grand i10 saloon could have a performance disadvantage against the Amaze and Dzire that have stronger engines.
Where the Hyundai Grand i10 saloon will seriously score over its rivals is with equipment. We expect Hyundai to adopt its usual strategy of equipping its cars with best-in-class features, just as we have seen in the Grand i10 hatchback. And of course, given the economies of scale or sharing of costs the saloon will enjoy with the hatchback, we can expect it to be priced very competitively.