It was inevitable, after all how long could have Hyundai waited for been a part of bottom end of the Indian Car market. With Eon Hyundai seems to have outdone Maruti Suzuki’s alto in terms of design and tactile feel in a small car. Obviously for Hyundai it is and will be a frontier to reach if they were to continue being a dominant No.2 car manufacturer in India. Eon has the potential to leap frog Hyundai and help them realise there ambition. As always, ecardlr gets behind the wheels of the Eon to get you the first hand feel of the car and our unbiased take on it.
STYLE & SUBSTANCE
Eon beyond doubt is much more contemporary and almost futuristic in nature. Skinning is tight & the lines flow seamlessly. Fluidic sculpture design theme is very much evident from the outset. Hexagonal shape grille is flanked by the wrap-around head-lamps, with recessed fog lamps adding an air of sophistication to the front facia of the car.
Clear well defined shoulder lines extending all the way up-to rear reminds one of the i20. Wheel arches are quite prominent & tyres fill them substantially. Large windscreens seem to be the flavour of the month and Hyundai EON with its largish (definitely not as pronounced as the Honda Brio) rear screen seems to be propagating the same. Pronounced bumper, almost vertical rear tail-lights, with well-defined tweaks, give Eon a self defined personality.
Hyundai Eon is capable of scoring a perfect 10 on the styling front without any fussy details. This achievement is particularly astonishing considering the price range of the car. Eon looks like a proper hatchback with benchmark fit & finish with no signs of brutal cost cutting. It’s certainly more stylish than the Alto & will give even bigger cars a chase for their money on styling front.
INTERIORS, SPACE & ERGONOMICS
Interior matches the exterior in terms of fit and finish (wish Toyota Etios Liva learns something from Hyundai Eon) the quality of plastic and fabric are above any complaints. Two-tone beige & brown interior colour scheme is welcome change from the routine grey or monochromatic colour schemes inside the car. Most manufacturers forget the fact that the car owner spends most of his time inside the car, a fact that Hyundai seems to have understood quite well which is obvious even in the interiors of their i20, Fluidic Verna etc.
To start with, dash is well laid-out & sculpted to liberate more space at the front. Centre console has the 2-din music system as the standard fitment with the convenience of aux-in & USB portability. A/C controls works exceptionally well. Glove box is deep & large with car wrapping a lots of clever storage spaces inside. Steering unit is a straight lift the I20 & complements the overall design.
Front seats are big & large hugs its passengers nicely. Bolstering as well as thigh support provides teh extra comfort. Ingress-egress is not very comfortable & head-room is a bit of concern, especially at the front. Same story dominates the rear bench. Though its wheel base is 20 mm more than the Alto, rear space doesn’t feel as good as one would have liked. Knee-room is tight with the front seat pushed all the way back and so is the legroom. In order to give large capacity of boot, some of these compromises have been made.
Boot space with a capacity of 215 litres is big & well laid-out. High loading lip however makes it inconvenient to load-unload.
POWER-PLANT & TRANSMISSION
Eon heart displaces 814 cc with 3 cylinder configuration breathing through 9 valves (3 valves per cylinder) projected over single overhead cam. Power unit is good for 56 PS of power & 75 Nm of rotating force. In-fact it is same unit as of Santro’s 1.1 litre capacity with one cylinder chopped off.
Eon engine makes no bones about its small capacity (an area where teh Alto K10 scores hugely over it) and one does not have to be a car expert to decipher the same. Switch on the motor & refinement level is not very impressive one. Vibration emanating from the 3 cylinder unit can be felt straight into the cabin. We therefore feel that it would be unfair to compare it the heart of Eon with brilliant K-Series unit powering the Maruti Alto.
City drive is quite comfortable and the Eon engine seems to be tailor made for the same. Low-down torque is just about average but motor becoming sweeter as it crosses 2000 rpm mark. Eon’s engine does not like to be revved hard as it feels feels strained & sounds hoarse towards the top-end.
Engine is mated with 5-speed manual transmission. Though clutch action is light and has a short-travel, shifting feels rubbery. Gear lever vibrations are prominent, wish Hyundai takes care of it sooner than later.
Eon uses McPherson strut with coil spring & anti roll bar in the front, rear uses the torsion beam axle coil spring with all-around gas shock absorbers. Dynamically Eon is well sorted out with predictable ride & handling characteristics. Suspension setting is on softer side & ride is pliant. Car shows good shock absorbing capacity but once you hit the pothole, jolt can be straightaway felt inside the cabin. Also there is excessive bobbing as a result of the undulations of road.
Sedate style of driving poses no problem for the Eon. Car promises good ability to take on the curves & does fairly well in a controlled manner. Steering is electrically assisted and this along with small turning radius makes Hyundai Eon a delight in bumper to bumper urban traffic. Add to it 13 inch heels shod with 155 mm wide rubber Eon setting a new benchmark for the class.
SAFETY & EQUIPMENTS
One more of Hyundai’s strength and it always plays quite well to the gallery. Top variant of Eon comes fully loaded; making other small cars belonging to this segment seem like a compromise in terms of safety. This is the first car in sub 3-lakh price range to have provided with driver side air-bag (intelligent thinking on behalf of Hyundai as most of these class cars are self driven) & gear-shift indicator as standard fitment another category first. It’s fun trying to drive according to the gear shift indicator, feels almost like a challenge. Icing on the cake is class leading mileage of 21.1 km/l, thanks to low-kerb weight i.e. 715 kg & small fuel-efficient motor.
Priced between 2.6 to 3.7 lakh (ex-show room Delhi), Eon positions itself squarely against the Alto, uber- cool look & classy interiors, it is sure to steal some thunder from the present reigning king of the small car segment – The Maruti Alto.
Style & Substance : 4/5 Ride & Handling : 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: : 3.5/5 Safety & Equipments : 4/ 5
Power Plant & Transmission : 3/5 Fuel Efficiency : 4/5
Value for Money : 4/5