Hot Hatchbacks is the segment that most people think of when they want to buy a new car or buy a car for the first time. I will be sharing information about some of the best hot hatchbacks that are currently being sold in India and why I consider them to put in this list. Also will be talking about their engine specs and Average Ex-Showroom prices.
The top budget hot hatchbacks in India includes Maruti Suzuki Swift
Volkswagen Polo TSI (₹7.89 Lakh), Hyundai Elite i20 (₹ 6.49 Lakh),
Hyundai Grand i10 Nios(₹ 5.08 lakh), Honda Jazz BS 6 (₹ 7.65 Lakh),
Toyota Glanza (₹ 7.08 Lakh), Ford Figo (₹ 5.39 Lakh), Ford Freestyle
(₹ 5.89 Lakh).
[The prices mentioned above are average Ex-Showroom prices and of Delhi,
to know more about the actual prices of these cars visit your nearest dealearships].
When it comes to sports cars or performance vehicles, the thinking of a buyer is power, acceleration, handling and exciting design in most cases. Cars like the Ford Mustang GT, Audi RS Sportback, Nissan GT-R and BMW 1-Series have established performance vehicles but only a select few can afford them due to their expensive price and maintenance. However, people with smaller budgets need not be disheartened as there are affordable cars too in the country that offer good performance at an affordable price. Below are the cars that are best known for their performance at the price point.
Maruti Suzuki Swift Hot Hatchback
One of the most popular hot hatchbacks that dominate the hot hatch segment in India is the Suzuki Swift which was launched way back in the year 2005 by Maruti Suzuki and as they say, the rest is history. The Swift proved to be a game-changer for Maruti Suzuki in our thriving market back then. It looked quirky and showed us that a hatchback can be practical and fun at the same time. It also won the coveted Indian Car of the Year Award (ICOTY) in 2012 and 2018. Now the Swift is in its third generation and still is the segment leader selling twice the number of units each month compared to its direct rivals in the B-segment. With the new-gen Swift, Maruti Suzuki has addressed all the issues from the previous-gen model. The new car looks stylish, has a spacious cabin, is feature-packed and provides great driving pleasure too. There’s also a choice of a manual or an AMT gearbox. Overall the Swift is better than ever before and is easy to recommend. It is powered by a 1.2 litre NA multijet tried and tested petrol motor mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox or an AMT option. Since the same engine is used across all variants that are available in India the power figures produced by the peppy engine are 81.80 Bhp @6000 RPM and 113 NM @4200 RPM. To know more about all the variants in details visit your nearest dealer or here Maruti Suzuki.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno Hot Hatchback
The Baleno is yet another winner from Maruti and deservedly so. But before it took the hatchback avatar it was actually a sedan when it was 1st introduced in India back in 2000. Now in its new hatch form, it has good performance, drives well, the cabin has ample space and is feature-packed. The cherry on the cake is the pricing and wide service backing from Maruti’s Nexa dealerships. Overall, the Baleno is the most affordable and sensible premium hatchback you can buy today. Maruti Suzuki Baleno gets a mid-life update with a fresh set of cosmetic and added features inside the cabin. The vehicle is available in four trims – Sigma, Delta, Zeta and Alpha. The vehicle is available in petrol and diesel engine options. The vehicle is available in six colour options – pearl artic white, premium silver, nexa blue, autumn orange, phoenix red and magma grey.The Baleno hatchback now features a revised bumper which sports a wider centre air-dam and air ducts on either side which are surrounded by the C-shaped profile. The new grille features a three-dimensional detailing and has been slightly tweaked to make the face look wider. The vehicle now gets precision cut two-tone 16-inch alloy wheels. For freshness, the Baleno now gets black interiors with premium blue detailing. The hatchback gets a dual-tone seat fabric design and an upgraded next-generation Smartplay Studio connected infotainment system with
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The device also gives out vehicle information and alerts on low fuel, parking brake etc. Standard safety features includes dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, ISOFIX child seat mounts and rear parking sensors are standard.
Under the hood, the Baleno is powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine that generates 84bhp of power and 140Nm of torque. The diesel on the other hand gets a 1.3-litre engine that generates 75bhp of power and 190Nm of torque. Both the engines get a five-speed manual as standard, while the petrol offers a CVT option. There was also a sportier version called the Baleno RS with more power figures over the regular Baleno. It featured a 1-litre 3 cylinder Booster jet petrol engine producing 102PS of max power and 150 Nm of Max torque. Also came in a diesel variant but Turbo Petrol motor is what matters more. It also featured Bigger 16″ Allow wheels with disc brakes on all 4 wheels unlike the regular Baleno. Sadly due to a bit higher pricing and low sales number the Baleno RS got discontinued also the BS6 emission norms came to play. But if you want to go for a performance-oriented hatchback with after-sales service of Maruti Suzuki then Baleno RS is a great choice for a pre-owned car. To know more in details visit nearest Nexa Dealer or Nexa Experience .
Tata Altroz Hot Hatchback
With the recent trend of segment-shift, car buyers are moving up to the premium B+ segment hatchbacks as they offer more bang for the money. The likes of the Hyundai Elite i20 and Maruti Suzuki Baleno have dominated this space for years. And the all-new Altroz is Tata’s take on this lucrative segment.
Under the skin, the new hatchback is the first product to be based on Tata’s new modular platform called the ALFA. In terms of styling, Tata has tried to carry forward most of the radical design elements from the 45X Concept into the Altroz and they have pretty much succeeded at it. What specifically catches attention are those swept-back headlamps integrated with a dark-chrome slate above the grille. This is a new signature from Tata and we could expect a similar design in all their future vehicles. Tata is currently offering the Altroz with two engine options. There’s a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel making 90bhp/200Nm and you can read about it over here. What we have here is a three-cylinder, 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated petrol putting out 85bhp at 6000rpm and 113Nm of peak torque at 3300rpm. Currently, it can only be had with a five-speed manual transmission. Upon starting, the noisy engine filters into the cabin but there are no vibrations that are usually associated with a three-cylinder engine on idle. The clutch is light and effortless to use and while the gearshifts are smooth and easy, it is not exactly slick.
Tata is also working on a Turbo petrol motor for some more added fun. It is also the 1st Indian manufactured premium hatchback that got
5 star GLOBAL NCAP Crash Rating To know more about it in details visit nearest Tata Dealer or Tata Motors.
Volkswagen Polo TSI
The Volkswagen Polo has a solid build quality and the TSI version is great to drive as well, this the only reason that polo is a strong contender in hot hatchbacks segment not just in India but around the world. The rest of the range, however, is quite mediocre and now is in dire need of replacement which isn’t coming anytime soon. Otherwise, for people who love to drive, there aren’t many cars which can rival the Polo.
Here I will be only talking about the top of the line latest Limited Edition Polo TSI and why it’s one of the best hot hatchbacks anyone can buy currently in India. with the GT line getting discontinued due to its low sales number and BS6 emission coming to play Volkwagen launched the BS6 Polo LImited Edition TSI. It’s good because Firstly its German origin speaks up for itself, like the pure driving experience it gives, the lag-free smooth power delivery from the small 1litre turbo petrol engine, slick manual transmission and well-weighted steering geometry and the subtle things that make this car an awesome daily driver also lets you have fun in tarmac.
Under the hood is a new 999cc 3 Cylinders Inline 4 Valves/Cylinder DOHC 1.0L TSI motor that produces healthy max 109 bhp @ 5000 rpm Max 175 Nm of torque @ 1750 rpm. Matted to a 6-speed manual transmission it rockets out in the highway.
To know more about Polo TSI visit nearest VW dealership or Volkswagen.
Hyundai Elite i20
The Elite i20 has always been a good all-rounder, with a well-balanced design, tons of features and a spacious cabin. After the midlife facelift in 2018, there are even more significant improvements such as the revised upholstery, updated infotainment system, and improved high-speed ride. Overall, the Elite i20 is a very capable and upmarket hatch. Yes, it has been five years since the last major update, but the Elite i20’s design has aged gracefully or let’s say stylishly.
The stylish headlights along with the family cascading grille give it a very European look. On the sides, the Elite i20 gets one of the best looking OEM alloys that are complimented by that stylish rising hipline. Overall, the Elite i20
is still one of the better-looking premium hatchbacks out there even amongst the newer competition. Under the hood is a 1400cc motor which is not the punchiest unlike other cars in its segment but Hyundai has tweaked this engine for better low-end response and upped the efficiency as well, now it has more than enough torque to dart into gaps in traffic or cruise at comfortable triple-digit speeds. A special mention here goes to the six-speed the manual which is incredibly precise, easy to use and supplements the linear torque delivery. So overall it’s a nice daily driver with lots of features and good driving dynamics looking at its price point and as for us enthusiasts…Hyundai can we please have the i20 N?
Hyundai Grand i10 Nios
The Grand i10 Nios, with its striking design, is now an able competitor against the Maruti Suzuki Swift in terms of looks. Sure, it isn’t exactly fun to drive and has a busy ride. But, it comes with premium interiors, is loaded with features and offers the convenience of an automatic (AMT) even with the diesel engine and an option of CNG as well. And if Hyundai’s service is anything to go by, it will be a fuss-free hatchback to own. Grand i10 Nios slots in between the existing Grand i10 and larger i20 in Hyundai’s India range. Key talking points include keen pricing, loads of features and the option of four engine-gearbox options. I will be talking about the latest Turbo Sports version of the Nios here and why it proved to be worthy to be in this list. Under the hood, the Nios Turbo features the same engine that Powers its compact SUV sibling the Venue. Talking about the engine itself the Grand i10 Nios is the most affordable car in India with a turbo-petrol engine. The engine in question is the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, turbo-petrol unit (same as the one in the Venue compact SUV) that produces 100hp and 172Nm of torque in the Nios and is paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The Hyundai Grand i10 Nios turbo’s fuel economy also compares well with that of the other turbo-petrol of interest, the updated Volkswagen Polo GT TSI. Powered by a new 1.0-litre, turbo-petrol TSI engine and offered with a 6-speed manual gearbox, the updated GT TSI delivers 18.24kpl – 2kpl less than the Hyundai. The Polo does have the edge in power and torque with the engine producing 110hp and 175Nm of torque. To know more in details about the Turbo NIOS visit nearest Hyundai Dealership or Hyundai Site.
Honda Jazz BS6
Honda Jazz is the only offering by the Japanese carmaker in the premium hatchback segment. The compact car resembles its larger sedan sibling, the Honda City. Measuring 3,955 mm in length, 1,694 mm in width and 1,544 mm in height, the Honda Jazz is one of the longest hatchbacks in its segment also one of the most expensive car in its segment no wonder why it has a
low sales number compared to other premium hatchbacks.
But with the BS6 emissions norms coming to play Honda has discontinued BS4 version of it and was about to launch the BS6 specs Jazz but the Covid-19 and lockdown further delaying its launch. But it’s expected to launch soon as Honda has launched BS6 versions of some of its most selling cars like City and WR-V recently. With the new Jazz it’s expected that the car will get revised front end like new grill design and full LED headlamps with auto on-off
features that the outgoing model missed. Also, the engine will be a BS6 complied unit with not much changes in its power figures but will have to wait till the car get launched and Honda gives out the official numbers. More or less its will be equipped with the same unit as the BS6 Honda City that was launched recently.
Etios Liva was the 1st sports hatchback by Toyota in India but things didn’t worked well with that car. With the Glanza, Toyota now entered the premium hatchback space and finding some positive response. As its the same car like the Suzuki Baleno it offers good space, is well-built and offers a good amount of features as standard. What’s more, the mild-hybrid petrol is efficient too. And it is backed with Toyota’s extensive aftersales service as well. Under the skin, it’s basically the rebadged Suzuki Baleno with the same engine specs and gearbox options. But Toyota revised its front end and interior with Toyota’s own touch. So its also a good option to go for. Interestingly, the 90hp Glanza mild-hybrid is significantly cheaper than the equivalent Baleno. The hybrid version’s promise of enhanced performance and economy should be a big draw for buyers. Like the Baleno, the Glanza’s ride and handling are fine. The controls are light but the steering’s lack of adequate self-centring takes getting used to. To know more about its details visit the nearest dealership or Toyotabharat.
With the new Figo, Ford has addressed the problem of the old car with the new petrol engine which is more powerful and the dashboard now looks modern and up to date. When you combine that with the core Figo strengths like comfortable ride and fun handling it makes for a very competitive hatchback. Competitive pricing, great ride and handling balance, strong diesel engine are the reason to buy it. Under the hood, the Ford Figo range starts with the new 96hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine that comes mated to a new 5-speed gearbox.
The petrol engine is a bit slow and the acceleration is linear but once it gets into that sweet spot, it is quite enjoyable. Diesel buyers will take keenly to
the 100hp, 1.5-litre Figo diesel. The engine is likeable for its linear power delivery even if it’s not the quietest of diesel around. Ford’s new 5-speed manual gearbox has also done its bit to enhance the driving experience in both versions.
A well-tuned steering and plush suspension make the updated Ford Figo among the best driving cars in the class.
Another sportier version of Figo is also given by Ford namely the Ford Freestyle which I will be discussing below.
Among all the above-mentioned hot hatchbacks the Freestyle gives you a bit more then others and here’s why. The Ford Freestyle is a great-looking crossover with rugged styling and ground clearance like no other hatchbacks offer in this range. The car is packed with lots of creature comfort, fun to drive with a peppy engine, and offers an excellent ride quality. But there are cons like the quality of plastics is average and the rear headroom not much to talk about. With Ford working mostly on SUVs and crossovers, not just at the global market but in India too. It has seen success with the EcoSport and the Endeavour and here is its third contender. It’s a crossover called the Freestyle and as the name suggests, it’s an SUV like model added to expand the range of Ford’s entry-level models.
The Freestyle incorporates an updated design language that will also be used for newer versions of the Figo and Aspire. The most noticeable element on the car is at the front, the blacked-out version of the brand’s signature trapezoid grille. There’s a hint of the Fiesta when you look at the car headlamps which is nice considering that the current Fiesta (hatch and sedan) is quite a looker.
Under the hood, the Freestyle is powered by a new 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit producing 94bhp/120Nm and is mated to a new Getrag five-speed manual gearbox. You can also have the Freestyle with a diesel engine. It is Ford’s trusted 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit producing 99bhp/215Nm with power going to the front wheels via a five-speed manual. The other things that make it different from regular Figo are its revised suspension setup that gives
Freestyle more ground clearance and commanding driving experience which lets it to take out for some mild off-road fun in weekends. To know more about Figo and Freestyle in details visit nearest Ford Showroom or India Ford.
So in my view, these are some of the best available budget hot hatchbacks that are currently being sold in India.
In my upcoming post I will be giving out info about some of the other best hot hatchbacks that were being sold in India but due to poor sales and with the BS6 norms coming to play they got discontinued but are a huge value for money budget performance car if someone thinking to buy one without getting a hit in their pockets going for a pre-owned unit. Hint- VW POLO GT Line, Punto Abarth, Baleno RS are some of the cars will be considering.