We’ve already seen spy shots of Hyundai’s upcoming new small car, code-named the BA across the country. While we’re not at liberty to disclose when we’ll see the car and what it will be called until the 7th of August, there’s plenty to talk about. Here’s what we expect from Hyundai’s new small car:
We believe the Hyundai BA, or i15 as some are already calling it, will be positioned between the i10 and i20 hatchbacks in India. Internationally, however, this is the new i10, and will break cover officially at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The pictures we’ve seen seem to indicate a roomier interior, and we expect more room for rear passengers as well as cargo compared to the i10. The car is based on the Kia Picanto platform, which indicates a longer wheelbase and wider track than the current i10.
The hatchback space, from entry-level to premium, is seeing furious competition. With upcoming and current segment-busters like the Datsun GO and the Nissan Micra Active aggressively offering high-value, low-cost propositions, we believe the time is right for Hyundai to make a play in this space as well. Much like Nissan did with the new Micra and Micra Active, launching the BA in-between the i10 and i20 allows Hyundai to squeeze every bit of value from its older i10 platform while moving forward with a new one. It also helps Hyundai target a whole new audience looking at another price point in a manner similar to how Maruti approaches the same market.
Being below 4 metres in length and powered by small petrol and diesel engines, the BA will attract lower excise duty as well, contributing to its low cost.
Hyundai will launch the BA with a small-capacity diesel engine — likely the second-generation U2 1.1-l three-cylinder diesel engine — in addition to the 1.2 petrol Kappa 2 mill that currently does duty in the i10 and i20. This diesel engine is already available in stablemate Kia vehicles. The Euro-spec engine produces 75PS and, depending on the type of turbo used, between 152 and 180NM of torque. While we’re unsure of the state of tune for India, the power output and efficiency of this engine should be competitive for the segment.
Both engines, being under 1.2 litres, qualify for the low excise duty bracket. Since the i10 is only offered with petrol engines, the BA will be Hyundai’s smallest diesel offering, once launched.
Unique to this segment of vehicle, the Hyundai BA could come with idle start/stop technology and AC vents for the rear passengers. The car may also come with a push-button start feature on the higher variants; the Nissan Micra is the only other vehicle in this segment with this facility.
The i10 was almost universally applauded for moving the hatchback game forward in most respects. OVERDRIVE agreed with the rest of the motoring press when it was deemed Indian Car of the Year in 2008. Expect the BA/i15 to move a bit more upmarket in terms of materials and interior quality. Considering that the current i10 is available in a multitude of variants ranging from 3.75 to 6.21 lakh rupees, and the i20 starts at just under Rs 5 lakh, expect significant pricing overlap with both the i10 and i20. We would guess that petrol variants will start around the Rs 4.2 lakh mark, with diesels starting at Rs 5.2 lakh.
Stay tuned for Bert’s first drive report on August 7.
Special thanks to Mr Dorai M A Raj for contributing these spy shots via our Facebook page.