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Hyundai Eon review
Driven October 2011
It’s here. Sooner than expected. Hyundai’s new entry-level city car – codenamed Project HA, now known as Eon – has hit showrooms as you read this for an ex-showroom starting price of Rs 2.6 lakh. Super pricing, you may say. And you would be right but not for this base variant as it is a car without power steering and air con. Nevertheless, the Eon packs a lot of punch with features as you move up the ladder with more expensive variants and that’s where it begins to get exciting.
The Eon has anything but simple looks for a budget car. There’s a bit of i10/i20 front and Beat/A-star silhoutte to make sure the car can make the right first impressions with its design alone. It’s a bit over-the-top but most first-time Indian car buyers will like that as nothing ‘edgy’ is on offer in this segment anyways. The finish is good. Even inside with the higher variants which has a good mix of beige and dark brown plastic that doesn’t give any impression of being ‘cheap’. Hyundai has been audacious and even offered airbags and integrated music system on the top-line variants of the Eon – something that even the marginally more expensive Santro never had.
Under the hood, however is a three-cylinder 800cc engine, which sounds and feels coarse. At 55bhp max power and 74Nm of torque performance from standstill is pretty good for the Eon. The five-speed manual transmission also helps put the power to good use at most rpms. The chink in its armour is the rubbery feel of the shifts, which is not even as slick as the Santro’s.
On-road behaviour is typical of a budget hatchback. Straightline dynamics is pretty good. But it has its limitations at high-speed lane changes or cornering and even under heavy braking. Ride is quite bumpy on bad roads but the suspension does well of less smaller bits like road joints.
The Eon isn’t a showcase of small car technology. But it makes a strong case for itself on what can be possibly done when on a budget without making it obvious that corners have been cut. It looks edgy, has a fair amount of equipment for the price it commands, space for four full grown adults and a more than reasonable boot. There’s enough power for quick traffic overtaking in the city and 100kph cruising speed on the highway. It has its rough edges but if you can’t live with that, the i10 is always there. Else, the Eon works just as well.