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Hyundai Aura review

S. Muralidhar | Updated on January 28, 2020 Published on January 28, 2020

The new compact sedan has a genetic advantage. To boost its chances the Aura also tries hard to please back benchers. But can it unseat the Dzire?

The sub-four-metre sedan which honestly is a ridiculous allowance in regulation has been worked to the advantage of car makers, and over the years has become one of the fastest growing segments. The customer response to this segment has also been so overwhelming that it has now become a staple in most mass-market car maker’s portfolios.

Hyundai’s Xcent, the Korean brand’s sub-four-metre sedan built on the Grand i10 has brought it considerable volumes. But it has slowly come to be identified as a taxi segment vehicle. It was time to change that, and bring in some fresh meat to take on the might of the Maruti Suzuki Dzire. Enter the Aura, the sedan version of the Grand i10 Nios, which will be sold only to individual buyers, while the Xcent continues in parallel for institutional sales.

Design

 

The Aura is easy to identify as the compact sedan version of the Grand i10 Nios; the hatch is only a few months old since introduction. Viewed from the front the lineage is obvious, with the same basic design of the headlamps, grille and bonnet being carried forward. There some differentiators in the boomerang shaped LED DRLs that have been tucked into either side of the bonnet grille. Some changes to the front fender and headlamp configuration. Step to the side and the front three-quarter angle catches the coupe-like design of this compact sedan. The Aura’s alloy wheels are new and there are few chrome bits like the door handles to boost perceived value.

While it looks narrow when viewed from the front, from the side, the Aura looks bigger than it actually is.

At the rear, the Z-shaped tail-lamps sport LED tubes and a chrome garnish that runs across the face of the bootlid giving the Aura a very differentiated design compared to the Nios. The raised lip on the boot lid meant to replicate a rear spoiler adds some sportiness to the design. The spaced out brand name ‘Aura’ in chrome capital lettering gives it a touch of premiumness. But the blacked out C-pillar is a bit of a love it or hate it feature and combined with the design of the rear elements makes this one of the more difficult-to-like angles for the Aura.

WATCH

 

Cabin

 

Like the similarities in the exterior design, many of the cabin’s features are also carried forward from the Nios. The entire dashboard, its design and layout is a lift from the hatch. But by tweaking the colour and material quality, Hyundai has brought in some premiumness to the Aura. The copper/ rose-gold finish to the dual tone dashboard is one of the changes, as is the leather-wrapped gear knob and rear centre armrest. Aura also gets some segment first features like the wireless phone charger at the base of the dashboard centre stack, an emergency stop signal in the tail-lamps, a driver rear view camera monitor and cruise control are some of the other additions.

To please rear passengers, the backrest for the rear bench seat is also a bit more inclined and there is a touch more thigh support. The seat upholstery in the SX(O) trim variant I was driving featured a suave cream and grey fabric cover that elevated the cabin’s ambience. The one-litre turbo petrol engine version gets a black upholstery with red contrast piping. Auto climate control, rear aircon vents and a cooled glovebox are some of the convenience features that the Aura gets from the Nios.

Performance

The powertrain options in the Aura include the 1.2-litre Kappa Dual VTVT petrol engine in the same state of tune as in the Nios - delivering 83PS of power and 114Nm of torque. The diesel engine option is also the same 1.2-litre Eco TORQ (U2 CRDi) from the Nios which delivers 75PS of power and 190Nm of torque. Both these engines are available with the same 5-speed manual and AMT (automated manual) gearboxes that were also available in the Nios.

There is a third engine option in the one-litre turbo GDi petrol from the Venue, though in the Aura this engine produces a lower 100PS of power and 172Nm of torque. This is peppiest engine, paired with the 5-speed manual transmission (no AMT). With a lot of mid-range torque and power available in the 2,000-4,000rpm band, this powertrain feels very sporty and seems like the one I’d choose. Hyundai claims a ARAI rated mileage of 20.5kmpl for the 1.0-L turbo and the 1.2L Kappa petrol engines, and a mileage of 25.35kmpl for the 1.2L diesel. The powertrains carried forward from the Nios feel similar in terms of on-road performance too. The Aura weighs about 40-50 kgs more than the Grand i10 Nios and that doesn’t impact powertrain performance significantly.

However, the ride quality is more pliant for the Aura compared to Nios, maybe to please rear passengers. This does lead to a bit more body roll and a mild increase in lateral movement while going over bad roads. Electric motor driven power steering is great to use in the city, but didn’t weigh up enough on the highway. The diesel engine version that I tested, however, seemed a bit more planted at speed and had some semblance of feedback at the wheel.

Bottom Line

Overall, Hyundai has packed the Aura with more value to take on competitors like the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Ford Aspire and Honda Amaze. Thanks to the good looks of the Grand i10 Nios, the Aura also feels more special compared to the competition, though it is also a point to note that the current Dzire is still fresh in terms of its design appeal.

Prices for the Aura start at Rs 5.8 lakh and go up to Rs 9.23 lakh. There is wide choice for buyers to choose from with four trim levels, three engines and two transmissions available. There is also a factory-fitted CNG variant now. The ones with good value compared to the competitors are all the top trim variants.

Published on January 28, 2020
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