The SUV market in India is ever booming, so much of demand that there are multiple segments inside the SUV segment itself. One such super hit sub segment Is the Micro SUV segment which is currently ruled by the Tata Punch and also has the Renault KIGER, Nissan Magnite, Maruti Suzuki FRONX battling it out. Now Hyundai has got its player into this segment with the EXTER SUV which was launched just a week back and here we are in the driver’s seat of the SUV getting you our first hand drive review of what could be the disrupter of the segment and the New King on the block.
Food for Thought
The Exter is uses Hyundai’s K1 platform that is also used by the Aura and the Grand i10 NIOS but has an all new body, suspension setup, engine tune and cabin bits. Made in INDIA Made for the World is built at Hyundai’s Sriperumbudur facility outside Chennai. The Exter also has a CNG variant and becomes the 1st car model to sport paddle shifters on an AMT transmission.
The Hyundai Exter stands at 3815mm in length, 1710mm wide, 1631mm in height and a class best 2450mm of overall wheelbase. The ground clearance for the SUV is a good 185mm and the overall boot space stands at 391 Liters. Speaking of exterior styling the Exter comes with a typical boxy SUV like body panels, the front gets a closed face like styling with a broad jewel parametric wide grille finished in glossy black, H design LED DRL and projector headlamps.
Finishing the SUV face is the faux skid plate on the front bumper. Highlight of the face is the EXTER branding placed on the bumper. The flat bonnet gets sharp character lines that add to the SUV drama. The new flat Hyundai logo looks smart on the Ranger Khaki Exter we drove that came finished in dual-tone body color.
The side profile is highlighted with the squarish faux inserts on the wheel cladding that mates with the running board cladding again finished in unpainted black, 15 inch wheels mounted on dualtone multi spoke alloys. The door handles finished in body color are large in size and easy to hold. Wing mirrors get electric fold and adjust and also LED turn lights on them.
What gives the Exter more height is the roof-rails finished in glossy black and also a parametric design insert on the C pillar behind the fixed quarter glass. Also on the list is glossy black finished shark fin antenna, segment 1st electric sun-roof. The sides of the Exter gets some sharp character lines that define its SUV profile and also give it that muscular butch look. Glass area is large and the dualtone trim we got looks further mean and brute.
The rear profile is flat in design with smart looking H design LED stop lamps along with a thick parametric design insert defining the profile. The rear bumper also houses a faux skid plate in silver that completes the SUV styling. The rear also comes with a unique into your face types spoiler along with a stop lamp LED strip .
Step inside and firstly you are impressed with the large aperture of the door openings that help you step inside the dark theme cabin area of the Exter. The dashboard finished in all black gets a insert panel on the crash-pad area. The key highlight here are the twin 10.25 inch displays that do their duty of the digital cluster that is from the Venue and Aura which is again well laid out and crisp to read. The AVN touch-screen gets loads of connectivity features with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, FM Radio, Navigation and Hyundai Blulink connectivity. You can also use the Hyundai connectivity app to the Exter to add to the connected car feature.
The steering is a three spoke design with leather wrapping and MFD buttons on it. Height adjust is available and the AMT automatic gets paddle shifters placed on the steering. The Climate control is a single zone unit with rotary dials. The AC vents on the edges gets cool inserts on them too. You also get wireless mobile charging, USB and USB C type charge posts along with power outlets. The glove box gets cooling vents while the foot-well gets cool blue glow too.
The seats come with unified headrests and also faux leather on the sides while the main area gets black fabric upholstery with white piping inserts. Drivers seat gets height adjust with seating being pretty comforting and commanding position behind the steering wheel. The AMT shifter is well designed and feels chunky to grip. Missing here is an foldable arm rest which would have extended the drive comfort levels.
Rear seats get two adjustable head rests and offer excellent seating angle, under thigh support and knee room with head room also being good for my height. Missing here is an foldable centre arm rest and split seats. Rear passengers also get segment first rear AC vents along with a mobile charging source.
The unique gadget included on the Exter is a dual lens Dashcam which can record upfront and also inside the cabin. This is a very handy and needed feature too when it comes to document evidence in case of a crash or an legal issue.
Powering the Hyundai Exter is the 4-cylinder 1.2L KAPPA Petrol engine that makes 83PS of power and 114Nm of torque mated to either a 5-speed manual tranamission or in our case a 5-speed AMT Automatic transmission. There also is a CNG variant available for the Exter with 69PS of power and 95Nm of torque with a 5-speed MT.
We drove the AMT automatic and we are sure you would be eying this trim for your purchase. This is the same engine powering the Grand i10 NIOS and the Aura. The engine is high on refinement and when you take off on the AMT version leaps ahead pretty neatly. The AMT shifts are good and the lag though evident is a lot less as compared to the older AMT’s mostly because the Hyundai unit uses an electrical actuators making this more refined and reliable too. The power delivery is good and the 4-cylinder engine supports the transmission very nicely. You wont need to rethink or worry during overtaking on the highways nor would you feel out of breath during your city commutes as the 1.2L motor is peppy across all the power bands.
The paddle shifters are also fun to shift through though there is some amount of lag on them but never the less it is a added drive feature which the owner would use surely. The suspension on the Exter is its surprise factor which is flawless and with the 185mm of ground clearance the Micro SUV drove over any road conditions that we put it through. The ride quality is plush and at high speeds the SUV feels planted. Brakes get ABS and EBD support which makes them offer some good braking power. Overall the drive feel is very good and the vibe is positive.
The Hyundai Exter will get you six airbags, ABS with EBD, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill hold assist even on the Base trim making it the most safety feature loaded car in its class.
If you plan to get a hatchback but somewhere in your mind you always wanted a SUV which didn’t fit in your budget well Hyundai just has the answer for you with the Exter which comes in at only Rs. 5.99 Lakh bang into the hatchback segment with SUV traits and styling. The Exter drives well and does everything it is asked to do with a smile.
You get AMT automatic with paddle shifter and even a CNG model if you need one. Nothing much against the Hyundai Exter making it a perfect entry level SUV which is loaded till the brim with features in typical Hyundai fashion. Does it get better than the Tata Punch? Yes it very well does so in terms of specifications, space, drive and features.
Words – Ritesh Madhok
Videography – Arya Borhade
Video Edits – Bhushan Joshi