Premium hatchbacks are all the rage in the Indian automobile market. It’s easy to see what all the fuss is about. They’re practical for manoeuvring through busy streets and are packed with nifty creature comforts that offer you maximum bang for your buck. Let’s take a closer look at some of this year’s hottest players in this automotive segment.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
This new kid on the block from Maruti crossed 1 lakh bookings in March 2016, making it a worthy contender against the Hyundai Elite i20. This feature-packed car has all it takes to make it a premium hatchback including projector headlamps, chrome accents, and LED tail lamps. While the interiors of the car are very similar to Maruti’s Swift, the all-new dashboard makes it quite impressive. Safety has been given due importance as airbags and the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) are standards across all Baleno variants. The cabin of the car is very spacious – in fact, more spacious looking than the Jazz and i20. It could be compared to that of compact sedans under 4 metres. Both the petrol and diesel engines are Maruti’s gold standards. The suspension and the steering have been worked on carefully to make rides very smooth, especially in case of the diesel version. The car comes with a TFT display screen. This 4-inch screen provides you with information such as mileage (in real time!), distance, analogue clock and a gear-change indicator. There is also a torque and power display that will make every ride a thrill.
- Rad feature: Apple CarPlay System – You can sync your iPhone to the car and make calls, send messages and listen to music. You can even use it for voice commands.
- Price – You can buy the basic version of Maruti’s Baleno for Rs. 5.15 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The higher-end diesel variant could set you back by as much as Rs. 8.4 lakh.
- Best EMI: If you opt for a loan of Rs. 7 lakh for 5 years, your EMI would be around Rs. 14,800 at an interest rate of 9.8%.
Hyundai Elite i20
The new Fluidic 2.0 Elite i20 was designed just to give the other premium hatchbacks a tough run for their money. With its sleek fog lamps and headlamps that are swept back, style is something that is written all over this car. The dual-tone interiors that are black and beige add to the sporty look of the car, as do the matte-black C-pillars. Steering-mounted controls are one of the best in this segment and the steering wheel, which is 3 spoke, looks very classy. Ride comfort is supreme with keyless entry, electronic ORVMs, rear AC vents and climate control in the top-end variants. The 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels are impressive, but are again only available in the top-end versions. In a bid to keep up with the competition, Hyundai has now upgraded its 2016 Elite i20 with dual airbags, while the top-end Asta variant sports projector headlamps with cornering lamps, LED daytime-running lights and a touchscreen AVN system.
- Rad feature: 8 speaker Stereo – With top rivals having just about four or at the maximum, six speakers, the Elite i20 comes with eight speakers. The previous i20 had six speakers.
- Price – The base version of Hyundai Elite i20 will cost you Rs. 5.5 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The top-end diesel version is one of the highest in the segment being pegged at Rs. 8.8 lakh.
- Best EMI: If you opt for a loan of Rs. 8 lakh for 6 years, your EMI will be around Rs. 14,700 at an interest rate of 9.8%.
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Ford All-New Figo
Everybody seems to love the Aston Martin-style front grille on the all-new Ford Figo. With angular headlamps in the front and wraparound ones tail lamps, the Figo is one stylish car. The interiors are all black, with audio and telephone controls mounted on the steering wheel. Ford is providing standard airbags – that’s two in front, across variants. The top variant will have six airbags. Auto climate control and keyless entry are also a part of most variants. Other notable features include hill assist and traction control. The 1.5-litre diesel engine, which is powerful and efficient, might provide a better riding experience than the petrol one.
- Rad feature: Ford Sync – Using Sync, you can make voice-activated phone calls as well as listen to music through voice command. Other cool features include auto locking of doors when the car is in motion and power-driven mirrors.
- Price – You can buy the all-new Ford Figo for Rs. 4.5 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) if you are going for the basic version. The higher-end variant would cost you close to Rs. 7.7 lakh.
- EMI: If you opt for a loan of Rs. 6 lakh for 6 years, your EMI will be just about Rs. 11,000 at an interest rate of 9.8%.
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All-New Honda Jazz
The new Jazz is bigger than the old one in a number of ways including its length, height and wheel base (that means more interior space and more ride comfort). The angular headlights in the front and 3D taillights make this car a good-looking one. The tail lamps also have reflectors which make it even more attractive. The vehicle has good suspension, thanks to the McPherson Strut front. The dashboard for the Jazz is similar to the one in Honda City with cup-holders and cubbyholes aplenty. While the top variant comes with all-black interiors, others have beige cabins. The head and legroom at the back are good and the back rest is adjustable. The 1.2-litre petrol engine is said to be near silent while idling and is city friendly. The 1.5-litre diesel engine has been taken from the Honda City and cruises well at high speeds even though the cabin noise might be on the higher side. Experts say the diesel variant clocks 0 to 100 in an impressive 12 seconds.
- Rad feature: Seat Split, Recliner – You can split the back seat, fold it flat and also flip it upwards for more space. The front seat can be pushed back (till the base of the rear seat) to make it a recliner.
- Price – The All-New Honda Jazz is available for Rs. 5.5 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The top-end diesel variant would cost you close to Rs. 9 lakh, which is quite high, given that you can get a sedan for the same price.
- EMI: If you opt for a loan of Rs. 9 lakh for 7 years, your EMI will be about Rs. 14,800 at an interest rate of 9.8%.
Volkswagen Polo GT
Despite all the negative news around Volkswagen, Volkswagen’s Polo GT was welcomed by many car lovers. Even though the Polo GT looks like any other Polo on the road, the petrol as well as diesel engines are more powerful and the suspensions have been improved greatly. The car moves from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour within 10 seconds according to experts. The 103 BHP power is something that needs to be experienced. The Polo also flaunts the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) which is a technology that helps stabilise a vehicle by identifying when the car loses traction. Ground clearance of 168mm ensures that you have a smooth ride over the worst of potholes.
- Rad feature: 7-Speed Gearbox – Polo GT comes with a 7-speed gearbox that is dual shift while rivals have stuck to 5. You can shift gears in the blink of an eye.
- Price – The Volkswagen Polo GT will you cost anywhere between Rs. 8-9 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
- EMI: If you opt for a loan of Rs. 8 lakh for 7 years, your EMI will be just Rs.13,100 at an interest rate of 9.8%.
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