Being regarded as one of the elite auto car producers, Hyundai has attracted customers ever since it has inaugurated its first ever showroom in the country. Popular among buyers for small and economical cars, the brand from South Korea has a microcar named, Eon, which has set unmatched standards in the small car segment. It has been purposefully designed and developed to target the first time car owners and for the ones who rate fuel economy at the highest priority above everything else. Sighting an extensive opportunity in the small car market, especially in the below 1.0-litre segment, the brand has wisely introduced Eon in the Philippines, which isn't hard on the wallet and also grants buyers a substantial feature list.
Keeping aside what the brand says, we decided to take the Eon on a drive to find out what’s good and what’s bad? Based on the following aspects, here is our take on the same, which could help you in taking your final call.
The stage was set, the clock was ticking as normal as we waited for the Eon to roll along the streets. It was the Pristine Blue Hyundai Eon that finally stopped in front of us, me and my partner, Peter. Although, the car looked small in size but was certainly big in style. The first glance at it was enough to conclude that it’s a typical Hyundai. It was the modern fluidic look of Hyundai that can be seen on other siblings as well. The first look was enough to make up my mind in terms of its styling, which looked subtle, stylish and upmarket. The blue Eon looked absolutely ravishing with body colored bumpers, ORVMs and door handles. We can expect the same pleasant feeling with other colors as well which are black, silver, red and gray.
Up front, it has a traditional hexagonal grille that is a family trait of every Hyundai car so as the swept back headlamps, which complements it perfectly. The top-end GLS variant gets nicely integrated fog lamps with body colored bumper that certainly defines its front. As I moved along its side, its sparkling character continued with a high waistline, which was raised further towards the end, body colored ORVMs and the door handles. And yes, how can you miss out on those 13-inch steel wheels, which add further shine to its splendor. You won’t get an option of alloys even on the topmost variant and you need to learn a chapter of life here, that is ‘satisfaction’, haha just kidding. The steel rims look wow while the cuts and swoops along the side and the sloping roofline are perfectly matched.
Talking about the rear, which might look fussy in the pictures but in real flesh it looks very attractive. The peculiar-styled tail lamps are striking while the rear spoiler has an integrated stop lamp, which adds to its sporty appeal.
Inside, everything looks in place and nicely laid up. As soon as I stepped inside, it was more of a sedan-like feel rather than a micro car especially when I looked at the supremely crafted dash that flaunts a swept down centre console, which nicely carves its way down to the bottom. In terms of fit and finish, Hyundai hasn’t left any stone unturned. Even the gear stalk has been finely wrapped. The cabin has been ergonomically designed with all the controls in absolutely right place.
Talking about the entertainment front, the built in audio system is good or probably just up to the mark. But, if you are one of those guys who like music on the go and sound quality holds a good weightage for you then you would surely have to go for an upgrade in terms of the speakers. The unit comes with a CD player and USB, AUX connectivity features as well.
Sitting on the driver’s seat doesn’t give me an unpleasant feel as the seat has been adequately designed with excellent front and lateral views. The 4-spoke steering wheel is big and easy to hold. Its tilt feature allows me to adjust it according to my comfort, which is a really good input from the company’s end. I’ll give a thumbs up to the head and legroom at the front. However, if the driver and co-passenger are muscular or heavily built, then there is a big chance or their elbows being brushed several times.
So, it was time for me to jump on to the rear seat to evaluate what the Eon has to offer for rear occupants and believe me Hyundai disappointed me. Regarded as a five-seater hatch, Eon doesn’t welcome the fifth passenger with a smile. The space behind is perfect for two but once the third passenger enters it becomes a bit crunchy. For me, it’s a four-seater car. The one thing that has impressed me sitting at the rear was the air conditioner, which cooled the entire car in just about 5 minutes that too when the sun was beating at its peak outside.
Storage is immense. You get a number of practically designed areas for the knick knacks including a deep glove box, a scooped out portion on the dash, door pockets, a square compartment in front of the gear lever and a bottle holder just behind the handbrake. A 215-litre cargo is good enough to fit in your long trip luggage or your weekly groceries. The cargo space can be enhanced at will by folding down the rear seat, which could come in quite handy too.
Under the hood, the Eon GLS is powered by a three-cylinder 814cc engine, with power rated at 55 hp and a peak torque of 75 Nm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. As soon as you switch on the ignition, you’d feel the vibration. The gear lever shakes at all times, even on the high speeds, which is certainly an annoying aspect of Eon. The vibration level is high enough to be felt on the clutch as well as on the accelerator. However, it isn’t prominent to rest of the occupants. The vibration smoothens out once in motion but the gear lever doesn’t come to rest. The engine is adaptable to hit around 120 Kmph and further 10-15 Kmph while the air conditioner doesn’t load the engine and won’t make you feel to switch off the compressor at any instant.
The first gear is really tall, which helps you to maneuver through city roads with ease while the second gear ratio is a little small and you’ll be forced to switch to the third in no time. The clutch and steering are very light, which in combination with small turning radius makes it a perfect city commuter. You can swiftly carve your way through crowded city streets. However, the light steering wheel isn’t nice on the expressways but serves excellent in city conditions.
Fitted with MacPherson strut suspension at the front and torsion axle beam at the rear, it helps in optimum cushioning inside the car. It offers a considerable ride quality when driven on good roads or on mildly uneven ones, but once the terrains get worse the real picture comes out. Your spine might get a tough time on the bumps and expect a series of vertical movements on uneven terrains. The overall ride for front occupants is up to the mark while if you are a back bencher then it won’t be a joyride for sure unless the roads are bump free. The suspension is soft, which is pretty good for city roads while the body roll is on a higher side.
Summing up, the Eon is a city oriented drive and judging it on performance factor won’t be a wise decision. It has been designed to satisfy the needs of a medium class buyer or a first-time car owner who’ll drive it daily to his office via traffic city roads or would occasionally hit the highway for a trip, vacation or stuff like that. Hence, its compact structure, excellent fuel economy and the ability to move swiftly serve well for your daily needs.
In the Philippines, Hyundai Eon is offered in three variants - 0.8 GL, 0.8 GLS, and 0.8 GLX.
Considering Eon as your first ever car is definitely a wise choice especially with the features, styling, storage and interiors it comes loaded with. Terrific fuel economy of around 21 Kmpl makes it stand above all the competitors in its segment and is certainly a value for money choice for the first time car owners.