Taking a cue from Tata’s Nano, each and every manufacturer seems to be going bonkers for bringing in low cost cars. We had an inkling of what Hyundai Motors India Limited would be doing to stack up against the competition with only their Santro being the low cost option for entry level models. The preview of their vehicle, then codenamed as HA800 was done on our website approximately a year back while the name change as Eon resulted in another preview, this time a detailed one. We managed a coup of sorts by getting a new Hyundai Eon in India on the date of its launch, for a test drive. This test drive was arranged by Hyundai Motors but credit should also be given to Pinky Sharma, the Sales Manager and Bhavesh Mehta, the Sales Head of Shreenath Hyundai Chembur. They meticulously arranged the test drive car and also provided us with all the details of the car and its variants. Without further ado, this is the test drive or review of the Hyundai Eon, the most awaited small car from Hyundai.
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It can be safely said now that Hyundai Motors have taken their designing skills to the next level and imagine all this happening in house for the Korean company. This is the same company which was blamed earlier for stealing designs from other companies. We never imagined this highly spoken “Fluidic Concept” to make its presence felt lower down in the segment. First look of the Hyundai Eon and dare anyone say that this is a low cost. Far from that, it even looks one step above the i10. A wide chrome bar supports the Hyundai logo on the grille. The headlamps also stand at a real attractive proposition and rightfully fit international standards. Some daytime running elements also wouldn’t be out of place in this car. The fog lamp insert also look decent. Somewhere down the line, even this one seems familiar to the Maruti A-star. The pop out head lamps look is something which may not be digestible to some. The Magna (O) variant that we tested had 155/70 R13 rubber section while the lower variants like the D-Lite, D-Lite(O) and also Era get 145/80 R12 rubber boots. From the sides, the A-star look is very much evident in here. The wheel covers mimic alloy wheels and look nice as well. The tail lamps sort of resemble the crescent moon. It seems that the designers lost interest towards the rear of the car and concentrated their might only on the front profile. A Estilo looks better rounded off at the rear.
We would say that we were bowled over by the quality of the interiors. This one doesn’t look like a bare basic no frills car by any chance. The quality of materials used is a tad lower than that in the i10 but definitely is lot better than its competition. There are no wires jutting out from any nook or cranny and nor are there uneven panel gaps. The steering wheel stands as a 2 spoke unit on lower variants while the higher Sportz variant gets a 3 piece unit with metallic inserts. The meter console boasts of having a gear shift indicator with a graphic band fuel gauge as well. There is no tachometer here, just like the way the Santro doesn’t have one. The tripmeter as also the odometer are digital in nature. By way of space, there isn’t much and 6 foot frames would find it hard to contend with the space in front or for that matter, the driver’s seat. The swooping dashboard design also ensures that rubbing knees on the dashboard is inevitable. The rear can seat three easily, however the leg room is one thing which is lacking. The shoulder room is good but this one is no Chevy Spark. The interior ambience due to the use of two tone color schemes is very nice. The rear seat splits completely and without the split, the boot space ranks in at 215 liters, with shallowness playing a good role in enhancing the capacity it can hold.
A McPherson strut with coil spring and anti-roll bar acts as the front suspension while the rear one gets a torsion beam with coil springs. The ride quality is just like the Santro, nervous at low speeds with higher speeds bringing about some sort of greater endurance for the shocks. The handling is also akin to the Santro with a bit more of confidence dialed in. The steering wheel acted like a typical Hyundai unit, nervous but well suited for the city wherein the car would be duty most of its life. The NVH character of this car is of the low types. The visibility all around the car is fantastic and even while reversing, the sort of good rearward view means that first time drivers wouldn’t feel nervous.
A single overhead cam overlooking 3 cylinders and 9 valves is what makes the swept volume of 814 cc in the Hyundai Eon in India. This small powerplant is derived from the Epsilon series of motors from Hyundai and manages to pump in 54 Bhp of power at 5,500 rpm and torque of 74 Nm at 4000 rpm. A 5 speed manual transmission helps transfer all this power to the front wheels. The 5 speed manual is a necessarily smooth unit as we have come to expect from all Hyundai transmissions and has shorter ratios as well. The kerb weight of the Eon is around 725 kgs and this makes it one of the lightest cars in its category. The pickup in traffic is excellent and most of the times we settled for 3rd gear wherein which in other cars, we would have chosen the 2nd or even 1st gear. The ground clearance of 170 mm is just about average and during the test drive, we reasonably managed to clear some of the nasty speed breakers in Ghatkopar. The engine didn’t seem much eager to rev and this may be done to the fact that it was a specimen which had done only 12kms before being handed over to us. During the test drive, many a times, we could see the speedometer climbing upto 120 clicks without any effort. Braking efforts are a bit more reassuring that the one in the Santro. The comparison with the Santro happens coz we happened to have a Santro with us at the time of testing the Hyundai Eon. No other braking aids except for the front discs and rear drums are available. On the Sportz variant, the driver gets an airbag, something which the competition doesn’t even offer.
Whilst the ARAI certified fuel efficiency is 21.1 kmpl, we regularly saw 14.8 kmpl flashing on the digital display. The Hyundai Eon should safely return 17 kmpl overall figures even with the right foot working overtime. The airconditioner also has its work cut out since there wasn’t much of flow from the vents and even with the blower at its highest position, the rear seat passengers seemed to be sweating it out. The Eon comes in 6 variants and that is a big line up for any manufacturer. The base version comes sans power steering and AC even though it has got a heater. The top two end versions come with USB and AUX port on the music system. The sound in the original music system was a bit of the disappointing types and an upgrade to a better head unit or even speakers would be recommended.
The different variants of the Eon are D-Lite, D-Lite (O), Era, Magna, Magna (O) and Sportz. The Hyundai Eon price in India starts from Rs 2.69 lakhs and goes all the way to Rs 3.71 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Delhi.