Hyundai i20 Active's AC is best among Indian hatchbacks!

Rahul Richard  /
12 May 2017 19:57:27 IST

It's the hottest time of the year and we, at OVERDRIVE, haven't been taking it easy and cooling off in the shade. If fact, we've been doing just the opposite. Over the past week, we've been out, busy testing the air conditioners of several of the newest cars in the Indian market. We've covered a bunch of segments and vehicles from different manufacturers. But first, head to this link to read about the parameters of this test.

Air-conditioning-Test-Hatchbacks

Done reading the parameters? If not, go back now and read them first! Alright, now here's how the eight hatchbacks in our test fared. The car which came out on top is the one which managed to get the lowest temperature in the cabin. We've also rated six major factors for every car's air-conditioning unit and here's what the ratings mean:

5/5: Very Good

4/5: Good

3/5: Average

2/5: Poor

1/5: Very poor

1. Hyundai i20 Active

Hyundai i20 Active Travelogue

Min cabin temperature achieved: 24.7°C - 5/5
Rate of cooling: 5/5
Circulation: 1/5
Vent temperature: 5/5
Blower speed: 3/5
Noise: 2/5

The Hyundai i20 Active's automatic climate control system turned out to be one of the best units in the test. It managed to achieve the lowest cabin temperature and it did so very quickly too with an excellent rate of cooling. Within two minutes of starting the test, the temperature of the air from the AC vents went from 56°C to a chill 19.6°C. By the end of it, the vent temperature had dropped further down to a chilling 10.9°C. While the rear vent temperature was around five degrees more, that's still pretty chill. The difference in temperature between the front and the rear of the cabin was more than in the other hatchbacks despite having a rear vent, which is why it scored quite poorly in terms of circulation. The blower speed wasn't too impressive either, with the wind emerging from the vent at around 30kmph. Despite that, the AC was quite noisy.

Hyundai i20 Active (6)

2. Mini Cooper S

VW Polo GTI vs Mini Cooper S (8)

Min cabin temperature achieved: 29.2°C - 3/5
Rate of cooling: 5/5
Circulation: 3/5
Vent temperature: 4/5
Blower speed: 1/5
Noise: 2/5

The benchmark set by the i20 Active in this test is quite high. And that's quite apparent when you compare the difference in temperatures between the i20 Active and the number two car here, the Mini Cooper S. The biggest advantages that the Mini Cooper S has in this test are the comparatively small cabin and small windows. The car might be a touch under four-metres in length, but a lot of that is occupied by the engine bay. So even though the circulation was just decent and the blower speed poor, the rate at which the cabin cooled was very good. Also playing to its advantage is the vent temperature – it dropped from 54.1°C to 14.9°C within two minutes. The vent temperature had dropped further to 12.2°C by the end of the test run. What was surprising was that despite the low wind speeds from vents, the amount of noise inside the cabin with the blower set at full blast was quite a bit.

Mini Cooper Clubman 2017-18

3. Maruti Suzuki Baleno

Maruti Suzuki Baleno_Helpdesk Jan 16

Min cabin temperature achieved: 29.4°C - 3/5
Rate of cooling: 5/5
Circulation: 3/5
Vent temperature: 2/5
Blower speed: 4/5
Noise: 3/5

The Maruti Suzuki Baleno falls short of the Mini Cooper S by just 0.2°C in terms of how cool the cabin got at the end of the test run. Like in the top two cars, the rate of cooling is very impressive with vent temperatures seeing a 34.5°C drop within the first two minutes. The Baleno doesn't get rear AC vents, but despite that the circulation is better than in the i20 Active. That said, the temperature at the rear passenger's location was a bit higher than in the i20 Active's. Another plus point for the Baleno is the impressive blower speed, with the wind from the vent hitting around 31kmph at the vent. Despite that, the amount of noise inside the cabin was lower than in the i20 Active and the Mini Cooper S.

2017 Baleno RS vs Polo GT TSI Comparo (30)

4. Mahindra KUV100

LED DRLs are offered only in the top end K8 trim

Min cabin temperature achieved: 30.8°C - 2/5
Rate of cooling: 3/5
Circulation: 5/5
Vent temperature: 2/5
Blower speed: 5/5
Noise: 3/5

The Mahindra KUV100 might be just fourth in this list, but its manual air-conditioning system managed to do a better job than the automatic climate control units on some of the other hatchbacks. Compared to the benchmark set by the Hyundai i20 Active, the lowest temperature achieved by the KUV100 isn't very impressive. The rate of cooling is decent, with vent temperatures dropping by 28.6°C within the first two minutes. The lowest temperature we recorded at the vent was just 18.1°C. However, the KUV's strongholds are circulation and its blower speed. The KUV managed to set one of the highest blower speeds in the test with wind from the vents hitting around 36kmph, and without being one of the loudest either. Additionally, there was just a 0.2 degree difference in the temperature between the front and rear of the cabin.

Mahindra KUV100 interiors

4. Honda WR-V

Honda WR-V (13)

Min cabin temperature achieved: 30.8°C - 2/5
Rate of cooling: 3/5
Circulation: 5/5
Vent temperature: 3/5
Blower speed: 5/5
Noise: 2/5

Like in the KUV100, we recorded a lowest temperature of 30.8°C in the Honda WR-V, making it a tie for fourth place. The vent temperatures were better than in the KUV100, with a drop of 32 degrees in the first two minutes, and a lowest temperature of 15.4°C. However, the larger cabin and the larger glass area meant the rate of cooling was quite similar. Circulation was much better than in the i20 Active too, with a difference of 0.45 degrees between the front and the rear of the cabin. However, we recorded a temperature of 29.5°C at the rear, which is still a couple of degrees warmer than in the i20 Active. The Honda WR-V also managed to score very well in terms of blower speeds with the anemometer reading speeds of around 35kmph. However, it was comparatively noisy inside the cabin.

Honda WR-V vs Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza vs Hyundai i20 Active (21)

6. Hyundai Grand i10

2017 Hyundai Grand i10 Petrol (48)

Min cabin temperature achieved: 31.2°C - 2/5
Rate of cooling: 1/5
Circulation: 1/5
Vent temperature: 2/5
Blower speed: 3/5
Noise: 4/5

After the impressive results achieved by the i20 Active, we were quite surprised by how the Grand i10 performed in this test. The updated car, which now gets automatic climate control, just wouldn't go below the 31.2°C mark by the end of our test run. The vent temperature went down a minimum of 18.8 degrees which, compared to the i20 Active, isn't very good. Circulation was quite poor too with a difference of around 3.5 degrees between the front of the cabin and the rear, despite the car having a rear AC vent. What do work in its favour are the decent blower speeds (around 27kmph) and a significantly quiet cabin.

2017 Hyundai Grand i10 Petrol (14)

7. Renault Kwid

Alto 800 vs Renault Kwid vs Datsun redi-Go (16)

Min cabin temperature achieved: 31.4°C - 2/5
Rate of cooling: 3/5
Circulation: 4/5
Vent temperature: 2/5
Blower speed: 3/5
Noise: 2/5

The Renault Kwid missed sixth place by just 0.2°C. While the lowest cabin temperature it could achieve isn't great, it does score pretty well in other areas. For instance, vent temperature dropped by 40.4 degrees within the first two minutes. At 18.4°C, the lowest vent temperature isn't really impressive, but the rate of cooling is quite good since the cabin is pretty small and the glass area isn't a lot. Circulation is pretty good too with a difference of 0.95°C between the front and the rear of the cabin. While we did record a good blower speed of around 29kmph, it does get quite noisy inside the cabin.

Alto 800 vs Renault Kwid vs Datsun redi-Go (1)

8. Maruti Suzuki Ignis

Suzuki Ignis (27)

Min cabin temperature achieved: 35.6°C - 1/5
Rate of cooling: 2/5
Circulation: 3/5
Vent temperature: 1/5
Blower speed: 3/5
Noise: 4/5

The Maruti Suzuki Ignis sits last among the hatchbacks in our ultimate AC test, and by quite a margin. Compared to the lowest temperature achieved by the i20 Active, the Ignis was hotter by over 10°C! The Ignis we tested is the one from our long-term fleet, and doesn't feature automatic climate control since it isn't the top-spec variant. While the front vent temperature dropped a fair amount from 51.7 degrees to 24.8 degrees in the first two minutes, it didn't go very far from there. The lowest temperature we recorded at the vent was 22.2°C, which is quite off the mark compared to the other hatchbacks in this test. However, the Ignis does score fairly well in terms of circulation, with a difference of around 1°C between the front and rear of the cabin. The blower speed is decent too, and the cabin is comparatively quite when the blower is at full blast.

Suzuki Ignis (17)

Also from OVERDRIVE:

Hyundai Creta's AC scores highest among SUVs and MUVs in India

Hyundai Elantra's AC rated highest among sedans in India

Ultimate Indian automobile AC test: The testing parameters

Then and now: When ACs were not common in cars

Simple Tech: Air conditioning and ozone explained

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