Home / Reviews / Hyundai Aura 1.2 CRDi Road Test Review


Hyundai Motor India move up in the compact sedan space with the feature-packed Hyundai Aura. Can it quench the ‘Dzires’ of the Indian car-buyers?

I’ve been driving the Hyundai Aura around town for a couple of days to see how much has it evolved from the old Xcent and, more importantly, from the Grand i10 Nios on which the new sedan is based. When it comes to the design of the Aura, I have to say that it surely looks better in the flesh than in the initial pictures that I had seen and, as you spend more time with it, the styling grows on you soon enough.

A major chunk of the Hyundai Aura looks a lot like the Grand i10 Nios, especially the face. The common bits include the smoked-out projector headlamps, the sweeping hood design, and the projector fog-lamps. The easiest way to tell them apart is that the Hyundai Aura sedan gets twin boomerang LED DRLs, instead of the single ones on the hatchback. Look closer and you’ll also notice the honeycomb grille on the Aura, as compared to the Nios’ horizontal slats. But the rear boot section and sloping roofline of the sedan set it apart.

There are a few things that don’t look as impressive on the Hyundai Aura. For instance, the black C-pillar and even the black-and-chrome strip between the tail-lamps. But up-close things such as the twin LED DRLs, the neat tail-lamp lighting, and the integrated boot-lid spoiler are good-looking elements. The chrome door-handles and the shark-fin antenna are a neat touch too. And I think the 15-inch alloy wheel design looks pretty cool and the size is fine for a sedan of this size. The Aura, in terms of its proportion and build quality, does impress us. And we’re sure buyers will concur.
New Hyundai Aura sedan dashboard

Not surprisingly, the cabin design of the Hyundai Aura is also very similar to that of the Nios. As you enter the car, it’s a familiar sight with an identical dashboard layout with the same ripple texturing above the glovebox and the same centre console. It’s the bronze treatment on the Hyundai Aura’s dashboard (Nios has a pale white insert) that’ll clear all doubts that you’re in the sedan. The seats are nice and comfortable for an average-build Indian and we like the breathable fabric, which is better suited to Indian summers. What’s also nice is the height-adjustable seat for the driver and tilt-adjust steering wheel. I just wish it had adjustable head-rests on the front seats and, perhaps, a front arm-rest.

Thankfully, the rear seats offer more comfort in the Hyundai Aura as compared to the Nios. The back-rests feel more relaxed and have a tad more support, which is good for long journeys. It surely could do with more knee-room which now is just about adequate for someone of my frame. But in carving out more room, Hyundai would have to compromise on the 402 litres of luggage space which is one of the best in the segment.

Hyundai’s baby sedan isn’t the widest in the segment and you notice the limited shoulder-room if you’re seated with two more adults in the rear seat. It’s better suited for two grown-ups and a kid. Although I was also worried about the head-room because of the sloping roof-line, thankfully it wasn’t a concern for my five-foot-eight-inch frame, as you can see in the picture below. The light colour treatment does give the interior an airy feel, which works in favour of this compact sedan.
The back seat legroom of Hyundai Aura compact Sedan

The other thing that works for this sedan is its impressive list of features. The Aura has everything that one could desire for in a car at this price. Our top-end SX (O) diesel manual Hyundai Aura test car is filled to the brim with creature comforts and retails at Rs 9.04 lakh (ex-showroom). It gets an easy-to-use infotainment system equipped with a responsive eight-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and the Arkamys music system really has a premium sound. You can control all of it via the steering-mounted buttons, through voice command or by Hyundai’s iBlue app. Talking of smartphones, you can charge a bunch of them using the three USB ports, not to forget the wireless charging dock.

The kit on the Hyundai Aura diesel manual top-end variant also includes automatic climate control, keyless entry, push-button start, reverse camera, and even cruise control. The driver gets all the info at the press of a button through a detailed 5.3-inch instrument cluster, including useful bits such as distance-to-empty, door-ajar warning, and average speed. Interestingly, almost all these are already available in the Nios. We were hoping to see a few additional features here to compel buyers to opt for the sedan, apart from its three-box design. In terms of safety, the Aura comes with dual airbags, ABS with EBD, and ISOFIX child seat mounts as standard. Most variants also get speed-sensing door lock and even impact-sensing door unlock.

Engine and Performance
We’re testing the Hyundai Aura 1.2-litre diesel with a five-speed manual transmission. This is among the few small diesel engine options remaining in the market post the implementation of the BS6 norms and one of our favourites. Compared to a petrol unit you’ll feel some minor vibrations and clatter, which is absolutely acceptable for an oil-burner. And compared to the diesel engine of the old Xcent, this one feels punchier to drive. It took us 14.48 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h and we even managed a true top speed of 169 km/h. Impressive, is it not?
test drive review of new Hyundai Aura sedan

There’s a surge of torque from as low as 1,800 rpm and soon enough turbo kicks in, bringing all the goodness that a diesel engine has to offer. The torquey motor is what gives the Hyundai Aura such an easy-to-drive nature. So, you can remain in third gear and jump from 40 km/h to 80 km/h in just over six seconds by simply pressing the accelerator. For a puny diesel, achieving the quarter-mile run in 19.51 seconds is a feat in itself. The oil-burner doesn’t demand frequent gear-changes in traffic and also feels at home on highways. It is quick and easy, making it one of the most versatile small diesel engines out there. (Also Read: Next Gen Hyundai i20 Spotted)

Like the Nios, the Hyundai Aura is a well-thought-out city car with a sleek A-pillar and large glasshouse, with a fairly high driving position. This not just gives an excellent view of the outside but is ideal to drive through congested roads and is easy to squeeze into tight parking spots. This is great news for skilled drivers and even better news for those are still honing their driving skills. The light steering action further adds to this virtue as it makes the drive pretty effortless. Like most modern Hyundai cars, you won’t be complaining about the steering being too light and lifeless, for the Hyundai Aura’s nicely weighs up as you drive it faster. The action around corners is also engaging with decent feedback and feel. And only if you’re used to European makes will you desire more communication from the steering department.

Ride and Handling
Similarly, the suspension is also tuned for city commuting and it does a fine job of isolating the cabin from broken roads and potholes. However, the set-up is more for comfort and is ideal for your daily commutes. Petrol-heads who drive it at three-digit speeds might feel it to be softly sprung as it tends to pitch while encountering rapidly changing road elevations. Nevertheless, it quickly settles and remains well composed. During regular driving, however, the occupants would remain relaxed and in good comfort. During hard braking, the car remains pretty stable as the ABS ensures that the wheels don’t lock up. This also helps to manage 80 km/h to standstill in an impressive 2.51 seconds.
road test of the Hyundai Aura driving through a tunnel in India

All these test results add up to conclude that the Hyundai Aura is a well-built and well-packaged offering for those seeking a compact sedan. To make it an even more compelling buy, Hyundai could have included a few exclusive features that are not offered in the Hyundai Gran i10 Nios. Having said that, the Hyundai Aura has one of the most exhaustive features in its segment, along with a decent-sized boot space and a versatile diesel engine. This definitely makes the Hyundai Aura a smart buy for a compact sedan model.
(Also Read: BS6 Maruti Suzuki Dzire Launched)


About the author: Sarmad Kadiri



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