Hatchbacks enjoy more than 50% of the market share in the automobile industry in India. While the Maruti Swift is one of the most successful and long-running cars in this space, other auto brands are making serious efforts to grab their slice of the pie with new launches. One such recently launched car, touted as a challenger to the dominant Maruti, is the Hyundai Grand i10 by the South Korean giant.
The question is: can Hyundai's Grand i10 replace the Maruti Swift's formidable position or will it carve its own niche in the hatchback segment?
Launched in September 2013, the Grand i10 comes with a lighter engine that offers better mileage. Loaded with bells and the whistles, this car definitely has what it takes to take on some of the best hatchback cars in the market.
Not that the Swift is behind the times. With the changes made in the car recently, it too comes with some of the latest features like a start-stop engine button and rear parking sensors, but it does lack some of the drool-worthy features that the Grand i10 offers.
Maruti Swift: Power advantage
If you're looking for a punchy engine and want to own a hatchback that can drive well in both city and highway conditions the Swift is your car. With a powerful 1248cc diesel engine giving you 74bhp of power, the Swift steals the show.
The lighter 1120cc diesel engine of the Grand i10 may be adequate for a city drive where you do not feel the need for that extra punch. However, the moment you hit an open stretch on the road, the lack of power makes you rev the engine hard and meets with little response. Maruti Swift is just the right car for a driving enthusiast who enjoys a zip drive. The high seats make you feel in better control while driving.
Steer both cars around corners and you'll find yourself in better control with the Swift. The Swift's steering is lighter at low speeds but becomes heavier as you gain speed, giving you the much needed control and comfort.
The Swift scores major points with suspension as well. The Grand's light suspension is good for a city drive but as you gain speed, you start feeling the bumps in the road much harder.
Hyundai Grand i10: Style and space
The Hyundai Grand i10 can be best described as a classy set of wheels for today's comfort-seeking rider. The contemporary dual-tone interior looks smart and stylish when compared to the single-tone black interior of the Swift.
What's interesting is that even though the Grand i10 is smaller in size than Swift, it offers more cabin and boot space. Though the interiors of both the cars are ergonomically designed, the Grand uses premium materials.
However, a major feature missing in the otherwise loaded Grand i10 is the automatic climate controller that comes in the Swift.
A larger 256L boot space (as opposed to 204L in the Maruti Swift) makes the Grand i10 a better family car. The Grand i10 also provides better comfort for rear passengers with rear AC vents and a 12V charging socket at the back below the vents.
The beige interiors and larger windows in the Grand i10 give it a more airy look while the seating position of rear passengers is slightly higher in the Swift. This, in addition to the smaller windows in the Swift, may make a tall passenger in the rear feel a bit claustrophobic. Part of this ergonomic failing can be attributed to Maruti's stubbornness regarding design change.
The verdict is out because there's no absolute winner. While Hyundai lays greater emphasis on the comfort and luxury of passengers, Maruti focuses more on the driver, and is trying to attract a younger generation and first-time buyers by being a true driver's delight.
The Grand i10 is definitely giving tough competition to the Swift by ramping up its extra features, but are these enough to make up for what it lacks in the engine's power? With 159nm of torque, the Grand lags far behind the Swift's 190nm. Regardless, the Grand is steadily acquiring a larger market share, especially with urban dwellers.
So what works, finally? You decide for yourself. And let us know where your loyalties lie.