Conceived for the Indian market, the Eon hatchback is built to compete head-to-head with the Suzuki/Maruti Alto. While it’s based on the i10 platform, it’s slimmer, more tightly-packaged, and equipped with a smaller 800 cc engine. Clever nip-and-tuck work cuts weight to an amazingly light 750 kilograms. That’s 175 kilograms less than the base i10. Despite this, the Eon doesn’t feel significantly smaller. While there’s less headroom and elbow-room, legroom is just as good, and cargo capacity is incredible. Hyundai claims 215 liters of cargo space under that diminutive hatch, more than any other mini-car except the i10. And it still manages to fit a full-sized spare tire well underneath that deep boot.
800 cc and three cylinders might not sound like an exciting prospect, but there’s a lot of thought that went into the Eon’s engine. Plastic intake runners and valve covers help save weight. The engine’s compact size allows for a smaller engine compartment, saving even more weight. Specially shaped intake ports and low-friction internals result in headline figures of 54 horsepower and fuel economy of 21 km/l. The Eon has even achieved 26.3 km/l in Hyundai testing, something I can’t wait to try matching or even beating when test units become available.
The Eon isn’t just about saving money, however, it’s also a stylish alternative to other basic mini-cars. It’s certainly curvier than most, though the wheels are tiny, even by the small standards of this market segment. The interior is pretty well built, as well. To further promote the Eon’s image as a lifestyle car, Hyundai is offering it in an unprecedented variety of colors (10 total), including intriguingly named shades such as Electrix Red and Mushroom.
Perhaps it’s not the sexiest debut at MIAS, but it could well be one of the most important. With prices starting at P438,000 and P498,000 for the top-of-the-line model, the Eon is likely to become a big seller for Hyundai in the months to come.