These days, hatchbacks are becoming increasingly uncommon as subcompact crossovers start taking over the landscape. However, there are still enough takers for India’s hatchback for automakers to continue investing in them. Being the second-largest carmaker in the country, Hyundai has got more than enough market share and financial might to continue churning out cars across segments. Among the many, the Grand i10 Nios is one of its latest. Launched in just late 2019, the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios is a pretty new car in its segment. It also sports Hyundai’s latest design theme and comes pretty well-equipped with modern features.
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However, none of that has helped the India-spec Grand i10 Nios score well at the Global NCAP’s crash test. Despite being fitted with dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, and a front seatbelt with pre-tensioners, this hatchback performed rather miserably. For context, the previous-gen Hyundai Grand i10 sold in Europe scored a respectable 4-star Euro NCAP safety rating. While the new model hasn’t been tested in Europe, this Global NCAP (GNCAP) demonstration clearly shows the Indian version being sub-par. In accordance with GNCAP’s guidelines, the Grand i10 Nios had a front-offset collision against a deformable barrier at 64 kmph. The result was a 2-star rating for adult occupant protection and a similar 2-star rating for child occupant protection.
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Global NCAP awarded the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios just 7.05 points out of 17 points for its adult occupant protection. But it only earned a mere 15 points out of 49 points for child occupant protection. All of these figures mean that this new-generation i10 isn’t really all that safe. The crash report showed that the front-seat passenger would fare considerably better than the less-fortunate driver. Positives here include adequate protection for the chest and tibia (shinbone), while protection for the neck and head were rated ‘good.’ However, knee protection here was only marginal.
On the other hand, the driver would likely suffer from injuries to the chest, knees, tibia, and feet. GNCAP noted that the bodyshell integrity of the Grand i10 Nios was unstable, and so was its front footwell area. The latter explains the injuries to the front occupants’ legs. As for its child-occupant protection, things weren’t that great. The Grand i10 Nios didn’t provide enough safety for the 3-year-old, meaning there was an excessive forward movement during an impact. While this led to poor head protection, the dummy’s chest was rated ‘fair.’
In a similar scenario, the 18-month-old child’s protection was rated as ‘good’ for the head and ‘fair’ for the chest. Hyundai hasn’t fitted the India-spec Grand i10 Nios with either ISOFIX anchor points or 3-point seatbelts all around. These only further hurt its overall safety score. For a hatchback that can cost up to Rs 7.24 lakh (ex-showroom), such poor safety ratings simply cannot be ignored.
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Then again, safety should be of paramount importance irrespective of a car’s price point. At least in my humble opinion. But don’t think that all hatchbacks are the same when it comes to their safety standards. For example, the Tata Tiago – a rival to the Grand i10 Nios – earned a commendable 4-star safety rating from Global NCAP. Furthermore, the Tiago also costs less than the Grand i10 Nios.
And when it comes to a carmaker as large and celebrated as Hyundai, they should be the ones setting the standard. It is rather unfortunate to see such safety ratings in 2020. Don’t get me wrong. The Grand i10 Nios is still a pretty decent hatchback and looks stylish, too. It isn’t all that safe, is all. So if you are in the market for a good family hatchback, take a thorough look at all aspects that make a car wholesome. Take a test-drive of other cars in this segment as well. Finally, remember that a car’s styling and convenience features shouldn’t be the only things to wow you when you go through the brochure.