In my search for a small automatic car I test drove the Hyundai i10 and Micra CVT. My test drive was back-to-back - Drove the i10 at 10:30 am and drove the Micra CVT at 11:40 am.
Being an owner of Automatic Santro and an ex-owner of Automatic i20, I felt that the i10 was not powerful enough and not smooth enough in acceleration. I was also not happy with the feel of the steering wheel while driving. The "feel good" factor was clearly missing. What did impress me was the list of features. It's loaded with all the features you can think of including sun roof. When asked about the mileage the sales person mentioned to me that i10 would give about 10 km per liter. No wonder there was one feature missing in i10 and that is mileage display (km/per liter).
The Micra is the first CVT car I've driven. It was a totally different experience. The car moves so smoothly that you feel like it's an electric car. You can't feel the gears. As you floor it gradually it moves faster and faster without that typical rpm surge that you see in automatic cars with a predefined set of gears. The engine is much quieter than the i10. The driving experience is amazing. At 90km/hr the Micra was lot more stable than the i10. It was well planted, balanced and provided much more confidence than the i10. And I would definitely attribute the steering to be Micra's strength especially at higher speeds (in comparison with i10's steering feel). Well the steering feels good at all speeds. I see that the general feedback from Micra CVT reviewers indicate that this car may not be able to overtake other cars (especially while cutting thru other vehicles on our highways). I tried overtaking and cutting thru other cars during my test drive. And I am happy to report that I didn't have any issues. Yes, I would check (feel) the torque/power/distance/etc., before I make highly adventurous moves. But I would do that even while driving an i10. In fact when I used to drive the Auto i20, I'd to prepare before committing to adventurous overtaking. And I do the same with my Santro. I won't be too bothered about the Micra CVT's inability to overtake or zip on demand and real-time (like you could with a manual transmission). In fact, I won't be surprised if I see a Micra CVT zip-overtaking other cars of the same size with manual transmission. Btw
, it's got the sports mode which does make a bit of a difference.
If you've ruled out the CVT because of the pick-up issue, I strongly suggest you take a long test drive (perhaps covering all driving conditions).
Positives: Good old i10, fairly good hyundai service (many service stations), reliable, proven, loaded loaded ...!!
Negatives: Does not offer you a great feeling - basically no WOW factor! Not economical price and mileage wise, No alloy wheels, Much smaller tires compared to Micra.
Positives: Pretty much everything is great about this car. High quality feel. WOW factor!! Fully loaded with quality stuff but no fog lamps (can you believe that?), Good fuel economy - thanks to CVT the mileage is more than the manual Micra!!, Big tires with good looking alloys. Nissan's proven petrol engine (fyi
: in Micra diesel it's Renault's proven engine).
Negatives: Low ground clearance (yes there was a bump that i10 cleared but Micra scratched), No fog lamps, Only 2 service stations in Bangalore, Pricey (thanks to imported CVT and perhaps the engine).
After the test drive:
Booked Micra CVT!! Expecting delivery in 1/1.5 months.
P.S. I talk about mileage, ground clearance without mentioning the specs. Sorry about that. I request readers to see the official i10 and Micra sites for detailed information on the specifications. Thanks.