Exclusive: Hyundai Eon 1.0 litre Kappa engine First Drive Review
Hyundai has plopped a new 1.0 litre Kappa engine into its Eon hatchback to make it more peppy and fun to drive. We just drove the new Eon 1.0 L and the 0.8 L variant back to back to compare their drivability in city traffic.
Hyundai Eon was first launched back in October 2011 by the South Korean manufacturer to compete with A-segment ruler Maruti Suzuki’s Alto. It has been a well received entry level hatch since then, especially because of trendy looks coming from Hyundai’s fluidic design theme and practical interiors. But it suffered from not having a sporty engine to compliment the vehicle’s visual appeal. Still, the 3-cylinder 814cc petrol engine (derived from 4 cylinder 1.1 litre iRDE motor from Santro and i10, having one cylinder chopped off) manages to do well in dense city traffic, until a sudden overtaking maneuver is warranted.
First Impression - New 1.0 litre Eon looks basically the same with no changes in exterior or interiors, but the 1.0 litre Kappa engine comes only in Magna+ variant and misses out some cool features available in top-end Sportz version. Hence, on first look, one can see that it lacks front fog lamps, body coloured adjustable ORVMs & door handles.
To say in general about Eon‚Äôs appearance, it carries Hyundai’s fluidic tailoring very well offering finesse in the entry level hatch space. Now, in looks department, Datsun’s Go seems to be the only corrival while Maruti stays behind with Alto models. As Hyundai just gave Eon a bigger engine to let it brawl better against its contenders, it invites Celerio too in the match, and we think Eon clearly took it down despite having a 2+ year old design.
Interiors too give a bold statement. Upon very first peek, you will notice that it offers a much premium finish than its rivals. Plastic quality is simply the best in segment, dashboard design as well is very sophisticated.
Take a loot at our detailed comparison of Eon vs rivals here.
Interiors - Dashboard and door panels are finished with dual tone black and beige trims with silver-esque motifs bordering the centre console. Interior design also looks fluidic like pouring dark chocolate and caramel side by side. Lines, cuts and edges look trendy, while Hyundai has managed to add a cubby hole on top for the shotgun to use, which is sizeable enough for a pigeon to take luxurious bath.
As for us humans, a water bottle, cellphones and a clutch can easily rest in it, without having to fear that it may jump out easily during bumpy ride. Glovebox is deep and offers impressive utility space for a small car. Not to mention generous bottle and map pocket in front doors. Gearshift lever does not come out of central console like in i10, but feels comfortable to reach and slot. Hence, ahead of floor mounted gear rod, there is yet another tidy utility pocket which has the standard 12V charging port peeping out of.
AC vents are smaller in the centre, but offers decent throw. Controls are big and ergonomic. Tilt-able three-spoke steering wheel gives good grip and feels like that of a pricier car. Looking into instrument console, it has a good looking three-pot layout with silvered circumference. Big analog speedo sits between smaller temperature and fuel gauge on either sides, which look like standard analog instruments before turning the key, but after, appears blocks of green lights for readings, that look simple yet refreshing. Digital odo/trip readings are displayed in green backlit LCD below speedo in same pot, which also shows which gear to shift when the car thinks its needed, for improving fuel economy.
All above interior features are shared by 1.0 litre and 0.8 litre Eon’s, except for seat fabric the former, which has received a new tone. One glitch in Eon is that seats may be comfortable for drivers with lean body structure, but for people falling on stouter side of chart, those side support flaps extending from the seats may not allow to rest their backs comfortably. On the rear, legroom is adequate and should not receive much complaint. Boot space has sufficient 215 litres of capacity, which can be multiplied by folding the rear seat.
Features of new Kappa Eon Magna+ include:
Power assisted steering with tilt
Full wheel cover
Front power windows
Features you will miss by choosing more powerful engine as opposed to top-end Sportz variant of smaller engine:
Front fog lamps
Driver side Airbag
Body coloured ORVMs & door handles
Matte finish inside door handles
Pristine Blue and
Driving Experience – This is where there is much to compare. For starters, the DOHC (Dual Over Head Camshaft) 998cc Kappa engine produces 65 bhp of max. power at 6,200 rpm and 94.14 Nm of peak torque at 3,500 rpm, as opposed to older engine option of SOHC (Single Over Head Camshaft) 814cc mill giving out 55.2 bhp of max. power at 5,500 rpm and 74.5 Nm of peak torque at 4,000 rpm. This extra power and torque adds to responsiveness of 1 litre Eon, showing highly noticeable difference while pedalling the throttle.
Kappa featured Eon seems very enthusiastic to rev and is also far less noisier and much more refined, giving the feel of a car sitting a segment above. Not only limited to powertrain, the difference on better side is seen while braking as well. Gearshift quality also seems to have improved a lot over 0.8 litre variant, as new one slots easily with right amount of resistance.
Tilt steering option helps a lot in getting steering position right for drivers of different physique. However, steering feels numb with no scope for enjoyment in both cars. It does spin effortlessly and manoeuvres with ease, but younger enthusiasts seek some feedback, which lacks from steering.
Ride quality is fair in both models as suspension seems stiff and transmits from minor to heavy bumps directly to the passengers with thuds.
Fuel economy as claimed by ARAI is 21.1 kmpl on 814cc variant and 20.3 kmpl on Kappa engine model.
Verdict - Hyundai Eon brought vogue of higher budget cars to entry level space to feast everyone’s eyes but delivered low on driving spirit. Now that 1.0 litre Kappa is plonked the Eon, it has gotten one step closer to being an ideal small car. But we expect something to be done to steering system to make all that power and peppiness be enjoyable when not going straight. Otherwise, for people not sensitive to steering resistance and just want to drive effortlessly, the 1.0 litre Eon Magna+ will satisfy them most in all fronts.
Eon 0.8 litre starts at Rs. 3,33,933 and ends at Rs.4,52,518 (on-road Pune) through many variants. However, LPG option does not extend to 1.0 litre Kappa model.
Eon 0.8 litre Magna+ is priced at Rs. 4,18,926 and 1.0 litre Kappa Magna+ costs Rs. 4,52,518 (on-road Pune), slightly more expensive than high-end Sportz variant with 814cc engine.
PS- Some dealers may offer free insurance, so you may get around 10 to 15 thousand rupees discount from above mentioned prices.
Why would you buy Hyundai Eon:
Best in class looks
Impressive interior looks and quality
Very good fit and finish
Enthusiastic engine (Kappa)
Features list longer than that of competing cars (not Kappa)
Why would you not buy Hyundai Eon:
Poor handling (for enthusiasts)
Underpowered engine (not Kappa)
No Airbag (Kappa)