Hyundai Aura Long Term Review – First Report
The newest entrant to the MotorBeam long term fleet is the Hyundai Aura diesel.
The Aura’s feature-loaded cabin, AMT gearbox and frugal diesel engine make it a great choice for a daily runabout
The Hyundai Aura couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. With the lockdown restrictions easing up, and with people still being wary of using public transport like before, the number of private vehicles on the roads has increased and the pothole-laden roads of Mumbai just worsened the situation. The Aura is a compact sedan based on the Grand i10 NIOS, it is decently feature-loaded but most importantly, our long term test vehicle is the diesel AMT variant which I think is a huge plus point these days.
The Aura’s diesel engine is a 1.2-litre unit delivering 75 PS and 190 Nm. Being a 3-cylinder unit there are vibrations which you feel inside but otherwise, the NVH levels are decent and the engine isn’t very loud, in fact, it is much quieter than the diesel engines that are offered on rival cars in the same segment. The engine offers tractable driveability and while it is a bit slow off the mark, it does offer a punchy mid-range. The CRDI mill can be called a workhorse because of its no-nonsense nature. It scores high on driveability and fuel economy. While the claimed figure is 25 km/l, I managed to extract around 17-18 km/l in my daily commute and this also included a fair bit of spirited driving.
Now, the 5-speed AMT cannot match a conventional automatic in terms of speed and even smoothness but this is one of the better AMTs around. Gear shifts tend to feel a bit slow when you’re driving fast and pinning the throttle but go easy on the accelerator and the AMT won’t disappoint you as much. Sure, you do feel the typical head nod movement but you also get unparalleled ease of driving in traffic and it doesn’t gulp more fuel than the MT. The Aura is a good car to drive if you like taking it easy and aren’t in a rush every time and the diesel-AMT combo makes this car a great runabout.
The AMT gearbox combined with the frugality of the diesel engine and the light steering made the Aura a superb choice for commuting
My building’s lane is full of potholes bigger than craters. When I drove the Aura for the first time in my lane, I did find the ride to be a bit stiff at low speeds. You can’t really call the suspension setup soft and sharper undulations are felt inside. The ride feels better at higher speeds though. Adjusted the tyre pressures a bit and found a good balance quickly. When we took the Aura out for a shoot with the boot crammed with video equipment and 3 people on-board, I was actually expecting the car to scrape its underbelly at some places but surprisingly that never happened. The steering also, in typical Hyundai fashion, is tuned to be very light and thus the Aura makes for a very easy car to manoeuvre. The steering is devoid of feedback at high speeds even though it weighs up a bit.
The cabin quality of this compact sedan is a revelation. Hyundai has used some really nice materials and even the bronze coloured inserts on the dashboard look quite nice and tasteful. The equipment list is generous and there are some niceties like wireless charging, keyless-go with push-button start, projector headlamps, driver rearview monitor and a large touchscreen infotainment system. The screen is fluid and easy to use but the stock speakers are just about satisfactory and get the job done.
Being a compact sedan, the dimensions of the car are, err, compact so driving and parking it is a very easy affair. The cabin isn’t very wide and I still haven’t travelled in the rear seat so can’t really comment on the rear seat experience yet but you do get adjustable headrests at the back while the front seats make do with fixed headrests. The front seats are well-shaped but taller and wider people might find themselves looking for a bit more support. The off-white coloured upholstery looks cool and is a nice break from the usual beige coloured interiors that we usually see. However, the Aura Turbo gets a nice black+red colour theme on the inside.
The compact sedan segment has a good number of offerings and the Aura actually gets a lot of things right. It has good quality inside out, has some really nice features, is easy to drive, is extremely fuel-efficient and the general nature of the car is that of a no-nonsense one. Makes a lot of sense for people who commute in city traffic and I’ve realised how the compact dimensions are actually helpful while parking because I’ve now handed over the car to Dhanil while I’m driving a much longer MPV which means I cannot just shove it into any parking space that I spot, something that’s important in a city where parking spaces are already limited. The fact that the Aura is one of two compact sedans to offer a diesel automatic (the other one is the Honda Amaze) means that it is a vehicle worth considering if you want to enjoy the convenience of an automatic and the efficiency of a diesel mill.
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