By : ARUP DAS
NEW DELHI :
The premium hatchback segment comprises a massive chunk of India’s automobile sales. The transition from BS-IV emission norms to BS-VI has severely limited this segment’s diesel engine options barring the Tata Altroz and the recently launched all-new Hyundai i20. With Hyundai squaring off to challenge Maruti Suzuki Baleno’s crown with multiple engine options, here’s a closer look at all the premium hatchback options in the Indian market.
The all-new third-generation i20, launched yesterday, has an aggressive stance with an all-black front grille. It comes with swept-back LED headlights with projector fog lamps and Z shaped LED lights. To add more flair to its exterior design, the window sill line gets a chrome finish that runs to the C-pillar. The new i20 is longer and wider than the outgoing model and according to Hyundai, it has the best in class rear space. The interiors are all-black and the dashboard gets an uncluttered design. The new i20 comes with a 10.25-inch touchscreen unit, the largest in the segment. As expected, it comes with plenty of features such as a Bose music system, smart connectivity, wireless phone charger, all-digital instrument cluster, six airbags and an air purifier.
The i20 offers multiple engine options starting from the tried-and-tested 1.2-litre Kappa naturally aspirated petrol engine, which is available in two trims — 87bhp CVT automatic and 82bhp mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. It also comes with a 118bhp 1-litre turbo petrol unit mated to a clutchless manual gearbox and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The i20 continues to offer a diesel option with a 99bhp 1.5-litre motor with a 6-speed clutchless manual. Hyundai i20 is offering an introductory pricing until the year end starting from INR 6.80 Lakhs up onto INR 11.18 Lakhs, ex showroom India.
One of the most spacious hatchbacks in the market, it received a facelift when Honda updated it to BS-VI. Now, it gets new LED headlights with DRLs, LED fog lamps and LED rear lights. The Jazz also comes with big windows and a sunroof. Plus, the dual-colour black and beige interiors, make the cabin feel even more spacious and there is also 354 litres of boot space! Besides, the Jazz also gets a 7-inch infotainment system with mobile connectivity options via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with a navigation system.
The Jazz is only available in petrol and is powered by a 1.2-litre motor that churns out 89bhp with 110Nm of torque. Available as a 5-speed manual transmission and as a 7-speed CVT automatic, you can have your pick. Jazz is the only CVT car in its segment to sport steering mounted paddle shifters. Honda claims that while the manual transmission returns 16.6kmpl, the CVT offers a fuel economy of 17.1kmpl. The manual range starts from INR 7.50 Lakhs and goes all the way to INR 8.74 Lakhs while the automatic starts from INR 8.50 Lakhs and goes up to INR 9.74 Lakhs.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
The Baleno is one of the best-selling premium hatchbacks and is backed by the country’s most widespread service network. It looks sleek and sophisticated with powerful projector LED headlamps, bold grille and aggressive bumpers. The cabin comes with a unique blue-black dual-tone colour, a 7-inch SmartPlay Studio touchscreen unit, which offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, voice recognition function, in-built navigation and display for the reverse camera.
The Baleno is powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine and it’s available in two trims. While the standard version has a power output of 82bhp with 113Nm of torque, the Dualjet trim pumps out 88bhp with identical torque figures. The latter engine uses two fuel injectors per cylinder instead of one and is equipped with mild hybrid technology thereby making it more fuel-efficient and offering better performance. The standard powertrain is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and a CVT automatic while the Dualjet only comes with a 5-speed transmission. The Baleno’s price range starts from INR 5.63 Lakhs while the smart hybrid trim starts from INR 7.33 Lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi.
The Altroz is the safest hatchback in the country with Global NCAP awarding it a five-star rating for adult protection and a three-star rating for child occupant safety. The Altroz is easily one of the best-looking cars in the market with an aggressive stance along with muscular bumpers, prominent creases on the bonnet, running across the doors and roofline and the dual-tone rear. The cabin is spacious and offers plenty of legroom for three passengers in the rear, thanks to a flat floor. The Altroz’s interiors come in dual-tone colour with a floating touch screen infotainment system. The top variants come with a 7-inch unit, which supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also sports a semi-digital 7-instrument cluster with an analogue speedometer, which sits behind a flat-bottom steering wheel. The Altroz is the only hatchback in its class to offer two driving modes — Eco and City. In terms of practicality, it gets a 15-litre cooled glove box, umbrella holders on the door panels, 24 storage compartments and 345 litres of boot space.
The Altroz is available in both petrol and diesel engines. The former is an 85bhp, 1.2-litre petrol motor, while the latter is a 1.5-litre diesel, with an output of 89bhp and 200Nm of torque. Both are mated to a 5-speed transmission. There is no automatic option on offer at present. The Altroz petrol range starts from INR 5.44 Lakhs to INR 7.89 Lakhs while the diesel begins from INR 6.99 Lakhs to INR 9.09 Lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi.
The VW Polo made its debut in India 10 years back and remains a driver’s delight. With VW regularly updating the hatchback, it is also one of the safest cars in the segment. The Polo is powered by two 1.2-litre petrol engines. One, an MPI naturally aspirated 75bhp motor with 95Nm of torque, and the other, a turbocharged one that churns out a healthy 108bhp with 175Nm of torque. The Polo may have lost a bit of its zing by discontinuing the dual-clutch automatic transmission, but for the first time, the more powerful trim comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox and a 6-speed automatic torque convertor, while the standard variant is mated to a 5-speed manual stick.
The Polo’s all-black cabin looks robust, offers a host of features and now it even sports a flat-bottom steering wheel. The price range of the MPI starts from INR 5.87 Lakhs and goes up to INR 6.82 Lakhs, while the TSI manual starts from INR 8.08 Lakhs. The automatic starts from INR 9.19 Lakhs and goes up to INR 9.67 lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi.