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Hyundai Eon : Road test and full review

  • Feb 20, 2012
  • 10497 Views
Introduction

The Santro at one point of time was the largest selling Hyundai model in India. It made Hyundai what it is today. However, better rivals meant that over the years, its sales have come down a lot. Infact, in Jan 2012, Hyundai sold less than 5000 units of the Santro!
To cope up with the pressure from other companies, Hyundai decided to change the rules of the small car segment - something it did years back with the Santro. And thus was born the Eon. It looks stylish, has modern interiors and an efficient engine. So, it should be burning the sales charts right? Well, 7344 units in Jan 2012 isnt exactly that. So, what exactly is this car about? Are there any major down-falls? Somnath Chatterjee has the answer right here!


Design
A car's looks are an important consideration today. Futuristic and youthful styling is something that everyone wants. No one wants a car to look cheap even if it’s cheap to buy. The Eon does a brilliant job in this matter. The car looks way more expensive than it really is. Credit for that goes to Hyundai's 'Fluidic Sculpture' design. The new design theme of Hyundai is reaping great rewards with the new Verna and this, the new Eon- we certainly approve of these designs! The Eon has an aggressive look with some great detailing thrown in. I loved the swept back headlamps and the half-moon shaped tail-lamps that give it a mini i10 look. And the side profile of the car is pretty well designed as well with a flowing rear and no tall boy like design. Park the i10 and the Eon side by side and it is the Eon that has a more futuristic design. The whole car does not have a hint of boxy-ness but it is certainly the best looking entry level hatchback out there.


The Eon is pretty compact and has an overall length of 3495 mm and a width of 1550 mm. The overall height is 1500 mm which is good also. Build quality wise the Eon is impressive as well as the panel gaps are tight and the overall feel is of a higher class. The colours available on the Eon are Sleek silver, Mushroom, Dark grey metallic, Pristine blue and Maharaja red. Overall in the looks department the Eon score great from our side. It will no doubt attract the youth and it gives a feeling of a much bigger car and looks like a car that was not designed to look cheap in the first place. Good job Hyundai! Arrive somewhere in a rival car and arrive at the same place in a Eon and you will see the way people look at you in both the cases - you get what we mean?
Interiors



Get inside and Hyundai seems to have worked on the 'feel-good' factor here also. The interior is cheerful and airy and pretty well made. What I liked was the use of nice materials and plastic quality was good as well. There is nothing here that is crude and feels built to a price. Hyundai have used beige in the cabin that brings in the luxury factor automatically as well. The design of the dashboard is curvy and the layout is simple. The steering wheel is not too big or small and feels good to hold. The instrument panel is a very simple three dial affair. What we didn't like on the Eon were some of the shiny bits on the centre console like the buttons for the CD player and FM. Storage is well looked after in the Eon with plenty of spaces to store your knick knacks.

 

In terms of equipment, the Eon has a CD MP3 audio system plus Aux-in-port and USB. Now these features are mostly seen on more expensive cars and here it is a welcome touch. These features worked well when we used them, the music system was average though. Other features include ilt steering, gear shift indicator and front power windows.
Space on the Eon is average. The headroom is good but legroom is again on the average side. In the back three would be a squeeze. The seats themselves are good on the comfort factor but some more legroom would be appreciated. The rear seats don't have the kind of legroom that the even the Tata Nano offers and the narrowness of the cabin makes it even more apparent. In terms of space the Eon is near the Alto and behind the likes of the Nano. No problems on the issue of getting in and out, it’s easy and elderly people in your family would have no problems whatsoever. Boot space at 215 litres is decent.
In the end, the interiors never let you feel that you invested into an 'entry level' car - never!
Engine, performance and fuel economy



Powering the Eon is an 814 cc petrol engine. It has three cylinders/9 valves and makes 56 PS. Now 56 PS on paper does feel less as compared to say the Alto K10 and indeed, we weren't expecting the Eon to be quick at all. But in the city, the performance of the engine is adequate and you do not feel it is underpowered. In traffic you have to keep in the right gear to extract the full performance and if you do that there won't be many issues about driving the Eon in the city. But if you apply more speed, things go a bit downward in the Eon. The engine feels strained and noisy which is characteristic of a three cylinder. The stability at high speeds is good but it’s a car that does not like high speeds. The 0-100 is about 19 seconds which is average at best. The braking performance is good with disc at front and drum at the back
The Eon has a 5-speed manual gearbox and we felt the shift action could have been better. The throws are light but the gearshift feels rubbery and is not as smooth as the i10 or even the Santro! Then there are the noticeable vibrations coming from the gearbox.
These days when fuel prices are going up every now and then, fuel economy is of paramount importance and crucially the Eon delivers regarding this aspect. The Eon has a fuel economy of 21.1 kmpl, as certified by ARAI. In the city if you keep it in the right gear and drive sedately the Eon will deliver fuel economy in the region of 17-18kmpl easily.
The performance of the Eon is acceptable since it has a three cylinder engine and you cannot expect more from that. However a bigger engine in the future would be a great addition.
Ride and handling


The Eon is primarily designed as a city slicker and it works wonders in the city. The clutch is easy to use and you have good visibility all around the car. Thanks to its compact dimensions, it’s very easy to park and you can squeeze the Eon into gaps, which is very handy these days! The steering of the Eon is light and does not require much effort thus improving its city car credentials even more. However the steering is a bit too light for our liking and could have been a little more direct. That leads to the handling, which again thanks to its relatively small wheelbase, makes for quick getting in and out of the traffic and there are no major amounts of body-roll present.
The suspension in the Eon comprises of a Torsion Beam Axle with Coil spring at the rear and a McPherson Strut with Coil spring and anti-roll bar at the front and a Gas type shock absorber. After driving it in the city and going over some rough and even doing some mini off-roading, we have to say that the Eon rides very well. The suspension does a good job of filtering out many of the potholes despite the car having puny tyres!
Refinement on the Eon is average at best as there is some noise getting in the cabin. As you drive there is a fair amount of road noise that filters through. The braking performance is good with disc at front and drum at the back and there is no sense of panic in the Eon on hard braking again despite having small tyres.

Verdict


After driving the Hyundai Eon we are definitely impressed. Hyundai have managed to do what they originally planned with the Eon. The Eon shows that budget small cars need not to be just cheap and economical, they can be stylish also. The Eon is definitely the best looking car in its class beating the Nano, Spark and the Alto in this department. However the Eon is not perfect – for example, the interiors are really very roomy – the half priced Nano is more spacious. The engine loses steam with a full load of passengers with the air-con working. The gear-shift quality is something we didn’t expect from a Hyundai! That said, the interior design and quality is miles ahead of the competition.
But with the pricing, Hyundai seems to have got it absolutely right. In our opinion the best bet is the Eon D-Lite+ variant at Rs 2.98 lakh ex-showroom as it has got most of the basic features like air-conditioning, power steering, gift shift indicator and body coloured bumpers.
The Era + will further offer front power windows and central locking, it is priced at Rs 3.12 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi ). The Magna+ comes with a 2-Din audio system with USB, Aux, it is priced Rs 3.42 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). These variants offer great value, though the top model is the Sportz variant at Rs 4.07 lakh which has features like front fog lamps, driver airbag. Hyundai is also offering an LPG variant at an extra cost of Rs 27,000 – now this is a good thing.
As we said, no car is perfect, even the Eon isn’t. However, it plays most key roles very well – looks, quality, economy and the price tag. As for the sales figures, let’s just give this little angle from Hyundai some more time to gel into the market and we are sure the sales charts will soon be on fire!
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