Maruti Swift vs Mahindra KUV100 vs Hyundai Grand i10
The Mahindra KUV100 is the latest entry into the hatchback space

Shootout: Hyundai Grand i10 vs Mahindra KUV100 vs Maruti Swift

Shootout No. 152

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 5.34 – 8.41 lakhs (Mahindra KUV100), Rs. 5.70 – 8.37 lakhs (Hyundai Grand i10), Rs. 5.53 – 8.89 lakhs (Maruti Swift)

The Mahindra KUV100 is practical but the Swift and Grand i10 are much better engineered cars

Every successful car maker in India has a hatchback on sale, even if we consider the luxury segment. What this signifies is, hatchbacks are still the hottest segment for multiple reasons, they are easy to drive and also more affordable than other body styles. Mahindra has by and large been an SUV player and never managed to sell hatchbacks, their attempt with the Verito Vibe went futile. Now they have launched the KUV100 which is a hatchback positioned as a young SUV. Can the entry level Mahindra successfully take on the likes of the Maruti Swift and Hyundai Grand i10, two cars which the Kompact Utility Vehicle competes with?

Motor Quest: Known as the S101, the KUV100 has been long referred to with its codename. Mahindra’s second car to be based on a monocoque chassis and the first vehicle to not carry 7-seats, the KUV is a step in a different direction for the Indian automaker. Meanwhile the Maruti Swift just got a facelift in 2014 while the Hyundai Grand i10 was launched in 2013.

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The KUV100 isn’t exactly appealing in front of the other two cars

Styling – All these three cars are hatchbacks but the KUV100 tries to be an SUV with its tall height. Yes the Mahindra car is the tallest and also the widest but is also the shortest in length as both the Swift and Grand i10 are longer. The freshness of the KUV makes it stand out but the styling is a hit or a miss. That’s because the front end is nice looking with the segment unique daytime running lights but the side profile is weird in appearance and the rear just doesn’t seem to match the front. Uniformity of design is missing on the KUV100 while the Grand i10 and Swift are more cohesive in appearance.

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The Grand i10 still manages to look the best of the rest here

Both the Grand i10 and Swift look proportionate but the KUV100 doesn’t

In spite of being older cars, both the Maruti Swift and Hyundai Grand i10 look better than the Mahindra KUV100 as they lack the quirky appearance. Design is more in sync throughout the Japanese and Korean cars and nothing seems overdone or screaming for attention. The KUV’s small wheel size further makes it look even more pseudo SUV than one can imagine while the Grand i10, in spite of the small wheels compared to the Swift, does come across as the best looking car of this lot.

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The Swift’s all black interior looks the sportiest but cabin lacks space

Interiors – The Maruti Swift in spite of being the oldest car here, has a nice interior with the all black theme giving it a very sporty appeal. But in front of its rivals, the Swift is the least practical car here. That’s because the Maruti has the least room inside the cabin, it also has the least features and lacks storage in both cubbyholes and boot. Mahindra has given the most storage spaces in the KUV, there is also a secret under floor storage at the rear while in the 6-seater model, the front co-passenger seat opens up for added storage.

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The KUV100 has many practical touches and a ton of storage bins

The KUV doesn’t match its rivals in terms of quality & cabin space but has lots of storage spaces including hidden ones

The KUV comes with the option of 6-seats and has a wide cabin to fit three in each row easily but the front is best used by two. The Indian automaker has given the KUV100 some segment unique features like daytime running LED headlights, mood lighting, puddle lamps, micro-hybrid technology, standard ABS and the option of front airbags on all variants. But the Swift and Grand i10 get some useful features that the KUV lacks such as keyless go, push button start, electrically retracting outside mirrors, electromagnetic tail gate opener and reverse parking sensors.

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The Grand i10 has the best rear seat and also the highest quality

The Mahindra KUV100 can’t match the Hyundai Grand i10 in interior room as the Korean car has more legroom and headroom. Hyundai also offers the most features and the best quality here, followed closely by the Swift. The KUV also gets an armrest for both the rows, something lacking in the other two cars. The audio system on the KUV100 is too basic while the one on the Grand i10 offers the best sound output. Clearly, Mahindra has done a good job in giving the KUV unique equipment and seating flexibility but there isn’t even close to as much space as its rivals.

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Maruti Suzuki is still hard to beat when it comes to petrol engines

Performance – Mahindra has developed all new 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder, mFalcon engines for the KUV100. Now both the petrol and diesel engines offer good refinement but they just lack the punch which the Maruti Swift offers. The Swift without doubt has the best petrol engine on offer and it’s a unit which screams all the way to the redline, giving an exciting exhaust note near the rev limiter. The Grand i10 isn’t far behind as it too has an excellent petrol unit which is thoroughly refined and likes to redline.

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The KUV100 can’t match its competitors in outright acceleration

Although lacking in excitement, the diesel powered Mahindra KUV100 does post good in-gear acceleration numbers

There isn’t much to differentiate between the output numbers of the 1.2-litre petrol engines as all produce around 83 PS of power (84 PS in the Swift) and 115 Nm of torque (114 Nm in the Grand i10). The KUV’s petrol engine lacks mid-range punch while the Grand i10 has the best low-end and the Swift really shines in the top-end. The Swift and Grand i10 are much quicker than the KUV100 in both 0-100 km/hr and in-gear acceleration. The Swift is also the most frugal at 20.4 km/l while the Grand i10 comes in second at 18.9 km/l and the KUV100 is the least efficient at 18.15 km/l. The Grand i10 is also offered with an automatic gearbox (a 4-speed) that is rated at 16.95 km/l by ARAI.

Mahindra KUV100 vs Maruti Swift vs Hyundai Grand i10

We have got 1.1-litre, 1.2-litre and 1.3-litre diesel engines with the Grand i10 and KUV100 being 3-cylinder units, the Swift having an extra cylinder. In terms of output, the KUV is right there with 78 PS and 190 Nm while the Swift belts out 75 PS and 190 Nm. The Grand i10 is the least powerful here with 71 PS and 160 Nm. Power delivery is linear in the KUV and it’s quite drivable, having better low-end performance than the Swift but the additional cylinder on the Maruti, shines on the highway. Thus the Swift is the fastest in 0-100 km/hr but the KUV100 has the best in-gear acceleration.

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Although both diesels use 3-cylinders, the Grand i10 is more refined

The Grand i10 has the best NVH here which is shocking as the 4-cylinder engined Swift should have been smoother and less vocal. The Hyundai is also very much at home in the city with turbo lag being almost negligible but neither the KUV, nor the i10 have a strong top-end where the Swift shines. The Maruti is also having the best mid-range but isn’t drivable in the city due to the low-end lag. The KUV is the most frugal here with a claimed mileage of 25.32 km/l, the Swift being close at 25.2 km/l while the Grand i10 isn’t far behind at 24 km/l. All cars have smooth shifting gearboxes with a light clutch.

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The Grand i10 and KUV aren’t engaging to drive while the Swift is fab

Driving Dynamics – The Mahindra KUV100’s tall height and lack of feel from the steering makes it the worst handling car here, body roll being quite pronounced around corners. The KUV isn’t a car for spirited driving but neither is the Grand i10 which also has a lifeless steering, the size of the wheel itself being too big for fast turns. Meanwhile, the Maruti Swift is still the best in both handling and steering feel, pasting a big smile on the face of the driver every time a set of corners are encountered.

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The KUV doesn’t lead in ride either, nor does it have the best brakes

The Grand i10 has the best ride quality while the Swift has the best handling

Ride quality is the best on the Grand i10 as it does a far better job in absorbing bad tarmac without getting affected. Mahindra’s soft rear suspension set-up makes the KUV100 a bit bouncy, a trait we have seen on many Mahindra cars. The Grand i10 and Swift do offer a better ride quality than the KUV, these vehicles also being more stabile with better noise insulation. Braking performance is the best in the Grand i10, followed by the Swift while the KUV100 could do with better stopping power.

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Maruti Suzuki rules in service while Hyundai comes in second

Safety and After Sales Service – The Mahindra KUV100 comes with the option of airbags on all variants while ABS is standard on every trim. ABS and airbags are also optional on all trims of the Maruti Swift while a driver side airbag is available on all trims of the Hyundai Grand i10 but dual airbags are available on the top two trims only. ABS is only offered on the top spec Asta (O) variant of the Grand i10. In terms of service, Maruti is by far number one while Hyundai comes in second and Mahindra offers decent service but not as good as its rivals.

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The Hyundai Grand i10 offers the best balance of everything

Verdict – The KUV100 is no doubt a very good attempt by Mahindra at making a car and it will definitely appeal to a large section of buyers. The new 1.2-litre engines offer good refinement but where they really lack is the performance which the Maruti Swift offers in abundance. Overall, it’s the Grand i10 which offers good engines on one side and loads of practicality on the other side, making it our winner of this shootout.

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All these hatches have something to offer the demanding Indian buyer

Testers’ Note:

“The KUV100 certainly feels like a good option for those looking for a practical hatchback with some SUV elements in it. While there isn’t anything SUV about the KUV as such, not even the ground clearance, the tall boy design, drivable engines, plethora of storage bins and some unique features really stand out on the car when compared to competition. But the Swift and Grand i10 are better engineered and the Hyundai continues to be the pick of the segment.” – Faisal Khan, Editor, MotorBeam.
“It’s good to be different and the KUV looks quite funky amongst the three here. Mahindra has tried to capitalise on its SUV lineage and the current craze for this body-type but it looks nothing more than a tall-boy hatchback to me. In my opinion, it is the Grand i10 which offers the best practicality while the Swift offers the best experience behind the wheel. The KUV fits in the middle somewhere, more like jack of all trades but master of none.” – Javeid Khan, Deputy Editor, MotorBeam.
“I kind of liked the looks of the KUV100 except for the side profile. However, it is in no way an SUV and is just a butch looking hatchback. The driving mannerisms of the Mahindra aren’t too impressive and the Swift definitely feels more engaging to drive. The Swift’s negative is the fact that it feels a bit old now. The Grand i10 is also very impressive and we really liked it when we had it in our long term fleet.” – Parth Gohil, Road Tester, MotorBeam.
“When I first saw the images of the KUV100, it looked very quirky to me. And the feeling was the same when I saw it in person as well. Although it is taller and wider than the other two cars, the shorter length makes it look a bit odd. There isn’t much space inside too. My pick out of the three would easily be the Hyundai Grand i10 as it is the best all rounder here. A close second would be the Maruti Swift as it offers good driving fell especially with the petrol engine.” – Aman Sancheti, Road Tester, MotorBeam.

Hyundai Grand i10 Maruti Swift KUV100 Scorecard

Picture Editing – Sri Manikanta Achanta

Further Reading

Maruti Swift vs Mahindra KUV100 vs Hyundai Grand i10
Mahindra KUV100 Review
Hyundai Grand i10 Diesel Review
Hyundai Grand i10 Petrol Review
Maruti Swift Review
Tata Bolt vs Maruti Swift
Hyundai Grand i10 vs Tata Bolt vs Maruti Swift
Hyundai Grand i10 vs Tata Bolt vs Maruti Swift – Video