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The sub-four meter compact sedan segment is heating up and we drive the latest entrant, the Hyundai Aura
The latest entrant into the crowded sub four meter compact sedan segment, the Hyundai Aura uses the same tried-and-tested formula, but attempts to dial up the luxury quotient a bit. Based on the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios, the Aura picks up a lot of similar styling details and interior updates. Big news for the Aura is the addition of a new drivetrain: a 1-litre turbo-petrol, that should make things very interesting. Does the Aura bring anything new to the segment? We spent time with it in Indore to find out.
Right at the outset, it's easy to see the Grand i10 Nios similarities. In fact the Hyundai Aura is actually looks very similar to the Nios especially when viewed head on. The wraparound headlamps, unique DRLs (twin boomerangs compared to single ones on the Nios) and matte finish grill (glossy in the Turbo variant) come together to create a face that is rather attractive. Coming to the side, the 15-inch diamond cut alloy wheels fill the wheel wells nicely and with the shoulder line that runs all the way from the headlights to the tail, make for a well proportionate profile. Towards the rear, however, opinions will be split. The Aura is based on the same platform that the Grand i10 Nios is. In terms of dimensions, it obviously sits under the four metre mark at 3995mm, with a width and height of 1680mm (20mm more than the Xcent) and 1520mm respectively. The wheelbase is 2450mm, which makes it 25mm more than the Xcent and on par with the Nios.
Hyundai Aura vs Rivals: click here for comparo
On the inside, the similarities with the Nios continue. And frankly, they lead to a cabin quality that's much better than anything else in the segment. Materials throughout the cabin are good quality and touches like the textured fabric on the seats, the textured finish on doors and dash will be appreciated by anyone setting foot in the cabin of the Aura. Creature comforts are in abundance and the Aura easily has the most well equipped cabin in its class with features like wireless charging (a bit of a novelty in the segment). Interior space is comparable with the segment, although the rear row is a little tight both on legroom as well as shoulder room and seating three abreast is a bit of a squeeze.
The Aura gets three engine options – a 1.2-litre diesel, a 1.2-litre petrol (from the Nios) and a 1-litre turbo petrol that also does duty on the Venue. We sampled the 1.2-litre petrol engine that was paired to an AMT. The four-cylinder unit produces 82bhp and 114Nm of torque. Out on the narrow roads just outside Indore, the engine seemed to have enough grunt and overtaking slower moving vehicles wasn't much of problem. The defining characteristic is however the refinement of the motor. It is among the quieter petrol motors in the segment. The AMT, albeit slow, does get the job done and more importantly, it is smooth and jerk free in operation. The petrol can also be had with the option of a manual.
The 1-litre turbo petrol variant has been a talking point and understandably so. It gets 99bhp and 172Nm of torque making it an enthusiast's delight. We could not get ourselves a go in it but are looking forward to driving soon.
The ride is where the Aura shines through and it is undeniably much improved over the Xcent in that regard. Small bumps and undulations are dealt with easily and very little actually makes its way into the cabin. The handling too complements the ride and the Aura feels eager to move into a corner. As a result it handles well at moderate speeds. However, as the speed picks up, the excessive lightness and no feedback of the steering wheel stick out as sore thumbs.
In conclusion, the Aura comes across as a great package as it offers a host of features, good ride and handling and the option of a peppy, performance oriented drivetrain. The design is fresh, though whether it appeals to you or not depends on your sensibilities. However, it finds itself in a crowded segment with the Maruti Suzuki Dzire leading the pack as far as sales numbers go. The Hyundai Aura does come heavily equipped though and presents itself as a worthy challenger.