There is always a hysterical amount of interest that a new, affordable small car generates. How could we forget the Tata Nano? So there was in case of Hyundai Motors’ latest model in small car (in fact, latest by any in long time) named Hyundai EON. The Eon has been pitted squarely against the Maruti (Suzuki) Alto, the Chevrolet Spark and possibly even proves in-house competition for the Hyundai Santro Xing.
Pitched as a low cost car to attract vast Indian middle class, it was predicted to be at the price of even lower than alto. But albeit it’s assumed prices, it turned out almost the same price as Hyundai Santro and has disappointed lot of people. Though its end variants are cheaper but they come with hardly any luxury.
So, how does it look anyways? The Eon stays very much within the ‘Fluidic’ design philosophy that Hyundai has adopted of late, with the characteristic hexagonal ‘mouth’ and the swept back headlamps. The ‘kick-up’ lines down its flanks give it a sporty look, as do the creases on its bonnet; the triangular fog lamps look cool as well. Comma-shaped taillights and an integrated rear spoiler round off the fresh, funky look – this is a car that will appeal to a broad cross-section of people, if not its price.
Eon boast off a three-cylinder, 814cc engine. In essence, this is the 1.1-litre motor that powers the i10, with one cylinder less. The engine does, however, get a counter balance to keep vibrations in check. Bore and stroke measure 67 x 77mm while the engine features a 3-valves-per-cylinder SOHC arrangement. Peak power output is 55bhp. The Eon shares its 5-speed transmission with the Santro and features a mechanical linkage.
Generating a peak power of 56PS at 5,500 rpm and a peak torque of 7.65 KgM at 4,000 rpm, the Eon's engine manages to beat the current benchmark – Alto – convincingly. The Alto's 800cc engine manages 47 PS of peak power at 6,200 rpm and a peak torque of 6.3 KgM at 3,000 rpm. For a 3-cylinder unit, the Eon's engine manages to be fairly refined under steady acceleration and gets a bit gruffy and audible only at high revs.
What you may not like is its “Gears” which tend to vibrate a lot along with its external body and could prove a turn off for many buyers. Also, the steering lacks self-centering action and this can be a concern at highway speeds. Power delivery at slow speeds is slightly jerky. The engine does not have the pep of the Alto K-series' larger motor. Power is adequate to keep up with city traffic but you do need to pre-plan when overtaking bigger vehicles.
The single-piece front seats provide fair back support but their tapering shape means your shoulders are literally unsupported. Under-thigh support is not impressive and the fixed headrests a tad short. The rear doors open wide enough but the flat seat with built-in headrests feels too reclined and taller passengers will be short on shoulder support in the back as well. Under-thigh support could be better and headroom is limited.
To lower down costs and to keep the price competitive, some parts from the Santro and i10 have been carried over into the Eon. Hyundai has also decided to offer a variant with a driver's airbag and a front passenger airbag will also be available, though that might be offered later.
This new car may not have the space of the Tata Nano or the power of the Alto K10, but it tempts you with its combination of eye-catching styling, well-built interiors and promises of great fuel economy. Santro may eventually turn out its main competitor because of the Eon's price being very close, if not overlapping with the Santro.