Toyota Urban Cruiser vs Nissan Magnite vs Honda Amaze vs Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo: Comparison

By Divyank Kushagra Bansal | on February 20, 2021

The Nissan Magnite’s arrival has made life difficult for many of its sub-10-lakh brethren. But is it the best vehicle in this range, or is there a better proposition available?

Nissan has been in the headlines ever since it launched the all-new Magnite – its first-ever sub-4m compact SUV offering – in India. Now, given the time of its launch, some might deem it an unintelligent move by Nissan. Why? Well, because the Magnite was really late to the party, which makes it quite unlikely that it’ll be able to snatch a sizeable market share, especially with rivals like the Kia Sonet still growing in popularity.

Nissan Magnite Static Side View

So, to turn things in its favour, Nissan has launched the Magnite at immensely attractive prices. And by immensely attractive, I mean a starting price of just ₹5.49 lakh and a top-end price of under ₹10 lakhs (all prices are ex-showroom) for the top-spec turbo automatic variant. Within this price, this compact SUV offers segment-first features like a 360-degree surround-view camera, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Not to mention that it looks stellar and is powered by a very potent 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol motor.

Wide Playing Field

However, let’s not forget that this price bracket offers an array of options to choose from, and these options are not just limited to the compact SUV segment. And this makes things a bit complicated for those who are considering the Nissan Magnite but are willing to explore other options under ₹10 lakh as well. To put it simply, such a buyer is likely to confront the following question – is there a better machine on offer than the Nissan Magnite? Now, to answer that question, we’ve pitched it against some similarly priced contenders, regardless of body style.

Hyundai Grand i10 NIOS Front Quarter Motion

Representing the hatchback in this automotive battle royale is the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios. More specifically, the top-spec 99bhp turbo petrol version – it offers a super-engaging drive and the best performance in the entire variant line-up. Now, before we go ahead, let me add that there are some more worthy hatchback contenders, like the Maruti Suzuki Swift, but the Grand i10 Nios has become the segment benchmark, which makes it an obvious choice for this comparison.

It’s time to meet our next contender – the Toyota Urban Cruiser, which is hardly a surprise, for it also happens to be a direct rival to the Magnite. Interestingly, the inclusion of the Urban Cruiser in this comparison also allows the Magnite to be compared to the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza as well – for the Urban Cruiser and Vitara Brezza are essentially the same car.

The fourth contender of this showdown is the Honda Amaze, which represents the compact sedan segment. Once again, we could just as easily have picked the better-selling Maruti Suzuki Dzire, but the Amaze just has a more plush and premium feel to it.

So, let the test begin. 

What Meets the Eye

Let’s talk about the visual appeal each car has – after all, the design is the very first aspect of a vehicle that grabs our attention. Starting with the Magnite, it has a fresh, clean, and very well-balanced design, which intends to target younger buyers. An imposing face, combined with attractive L-shaped DRLs, make the Magnite quite a head-turner. No wonder, then, that every third person stopped to check out the car as I drove through the city.

Similarly, the boyish Grand i10 Nios, especially in the fiery red colour, grabs a lot of eyeballs. Now, the design of the car has already been much loved and appreciated by customers, however, I do think that if Hyundai had done a bit more to distinguish the Turbo version from the standard variants, it would have made things more interesting. Nevertheless, the Grand i10 Nios looks chic and balances its boyish appeal with a sense of maturity.

Honda Amaze Front Quarter

The Honda Amaze’s design, on the other hand, makes it conspicuously clear that it has older, more mature customers in its crosshair. Despite its squarish front- and rear-end design, the Amaze still manages to impress with its balanced proportions. On the road, it doesn’t look out of place. 

Of the four cars on our list, the Toyota Urban Cruiser is, perhaps, the most disappointing in terms of styling. It’s not that it looks bad, but that it lacks a distinctive character, for the simple reason that it’s all too similar to its Suzuki doppelganger – the Vitara Brezza.

The Inside Story

Unfortunately, the interior of the Nissan Magnite is as disappointing as its exterior is impressive. The interior design and layout are just too basic, and the use of poor-quality plastic and flawed ergonomics make matters worse. Apart from the comfortable seats and spacious nature of the cabin, the Magnite’s interior doesn’t have a single redeeming feature. 

The Grand i10 Nios, on the other hand, blows you away with the amount of space it has to offer. Its big, comfortable, and supportive seats, combined with an attractive dashboard layout and much better plastic and switchgear quality, make the cabin of the Grand i10 more desirable than the Magnite. 

Now, the Honda Amaze’s interior can be best described as staid – it has a decent build quality and good ergonomics, but the lack of exciting features and the beige and grey colour theme make it a bit too bland for my taste.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Interior

Talking of lack of excitement, the Toyota Urban Cruiser’s cabin also seems to be marked by this astonishingly ubiquitous feature. It’s very utilitarian, no doubt, but there’s hardly any styling highlights. But the Urban Cruiser’s cabin does feel quite airy and spacious, primarily because the car is taller, wider than the Magnite and even offers a generous 328-litre boot. So, the Urban Cruiser does score some points for offering appreciable practicality. On the downside though, the Urban Cruiser does not get rear AC vents, a feature that is available on the Magnite.

The Innards

Now, it’s time to talk about the performance and drivability of each car. And here, the battle takes an interesting turn. The Nissan Magnite comes equipped with a very capable and potent three-cylinder petrol engine, which, in turbo guise, develops 99bhp and 160Nm of torque. The engine is responsive, smooth, and offers good performance. There’s ample acceleration in each gear, but it’s not explosive by any stretch. Sadly, though, the gearbox is clunky, and the steering is heavy – which makes it feel clumsy at low speeds and when making three-point turns. Also, you can feel strong vibrations through the gear lever. And while the suspension absorbs bumps well, the ride is quite firm at low speeds.

Nissan Magnite Front Quarter Motion

I also drove the CVT automatic version of the car, and I must say that it was much more refined than the manual we had on test. 

The Grand i10 Nios, on the other hand, offers the most sorted driving dynamics of the lot. It’s the only car on the list that I stepped out of with a smile on my face. The 1.0-litre turbo motor is supremely peppy, and the gear changes are as slick as they can be. The suspension setup is perfectly tuned to hit that sweet spot between sporty and comfortable, which further adds to the overall driving experience. The steering is direct and precise, and it’s been beautifully weighted and urges you to push harder. Barring a few things that can be improved in terms of ergonomics, the Grand i10 Nios is the nicest car to drive in this lot. 

Hyundai Grand i10 NIOS and Honda Amaze

The Honda Amaze is well-built, but it’s seriously let down by its 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol motor. The 88bhp and 110Nm of torque don’t do justice to the car’s weight, and, as a result, it’s fairly dreary to drive, even with the five-speed manual gearbox that our test car had. 

Similarly, the Toyota Urban Cruiser loses out in terms of driving appeal due to its four-speed automatic gearbox. Although it has the biggest engine of the lot – a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit, which is quite refined – the gearbox lets it down, as the four-speed box shows its age. You’re better off with a manual gearbox in the Urban Cruiser.

Is there a clear winner, then?

The Nissan Magnite, on its own, is a decent product, especially given its price range. The car drives well and is comfortable. Also, it’s packed with a lot of features and offers enough space. I think that it’s an ideal choice for those who need a manageable compact SUV to travel around town in with their families. Now, if you’re young and like to travel solo or with a couple of friends in a car that is exciting to drive, looks good, and is quite practical, I think, the Grand i10 Nios is the best option for you. 

The Honda Amaze is by no means a driver’s car, which makes it best suited for those who like to be chauffeured around or those who don’t care much about the performance of a machine. It is very comfortable, feels premium, and offers an appreciable amount of space inside. Plus, it’s big enough for multiple occupants and yet small and manageable enough to be a daily driver. Not to mention its fuel efficiency and the reliability that comes with the Honda badge. 

Nissan Magnite and Toyota Urban Cruiser

Likewise, the Toyota Urban Cruiser is also a very practical option, owing to its fuel-efficient petrol motor and the trustworthy Toyota badge. But because it fails to distinguish itself from the Vitara Brezza, it doesn’t offer you any reason to get excited. Plus, the Urban Cruiser’s top-spec automatic variant is priced at ₹11.30 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), which makes it overpriced when compared with the Magnite. And that’s where the Magnite shines. In terms of style and road presence, at its price point, there’s simply no touching the Nissan!   

  • Toyota Urban Cruiser Premium AT
  • Nissan Magnite XV Premium Turbo MT
  • Honda Amaze VX MT
  • Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo

Engine: 1,462cc / 4-Cylinder

Fuel: Petrol

Transmission: 4-Speed Automatic / Front-Wheel Drive

Power: 103bhp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 138Nm @ 4,400rpm

Price: ₹11.35 Lakh (Ex-showroom)

X-factor: You can’t really go wrong with the Urban Cruiser – it’s a perfect example of the principle of ‘form follows function.’

Pros           
• Space & comfort
• Refined & efficient engine
Cons
• Lacks personality
• High price

Engine: 999cc / 3-Cylinder / Turbocharged

Fuel: Petrol

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual / Front-Wheel Drive

Power: 99bhp @ 5,000rpm

Torque: 160Nm @ 2,800 – 3,600rpm

Price: ₹8.45 Lakh (Ex-showroom)

X-factor: The Magnite looks appealing and offers a combination of good features and an appreciable driving experience.

Pros         
• Fresh design
• Comfortable & spacious

Cons
• Fit and finish
• Heavy steering

Engine: 1,199cc / 4-Cylinder / SOHC

Fuel: Petrol

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual / Front-Wheel Drive

Power: 88bhp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 110Nm @ 4,800rpm

Price: ₹8 Lakh (Ex-showroom)

X-factor: The Amaze is a good combination of comfort, mature design, and comes with signature Honda reliability.

Pros           
• Feels premium
• Ride & overall comfort

Cons
• Dismal performance
• Limited features

Engine: 998cc / 3-Cylinder / Turbocharged

Fuel: Petrol

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual / Front-Wheel Drive

Power: 99bhp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 172Nm @ 1,500 – 4,000rpm

Price: ₹7.86 lakh (Ex-showroom)

X-factor: With its sorted design and fun-to-drive nature, the i10 Nios Turbo is a formidable performance hatchback.

Pros           
• Driving dynamics
• Space & comfort

Cons
• No armrest
• A bit pricey

Check out more content below:

Toyota Urban Cruiser vs Nissan Magnite vs Honda Amaze vs Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo – Photos

Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo, Track Test

Tags: Toyota Urban Cruiser Nissan Magnite Honda Amaze Hyundai Grand i10 NIOS Turbo

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