In India, hatchback cars are very popular because they are budget friendly and are perfect for commuting in heavily congested city traffic. It is also easy to find parking for these cars and at the same time, they are big enough for the entire family as well as their luggage.
Body style is one of the most crucial factors in buying a new car and in India we have a lot of options. Still the hatchback reigns supreme as one of the most popular body styles after the compact SUV. With such a side variety of hatchbacks to choose from, it gets quite difficult to find one that suits your pocket.
Some of the most popular hatchbacks are Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Grand i10, Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Hyundai i20, Tata Altroz, and Toyota Glanza. All are priced below the 7-lakh price mark which makes them affordable to the new car buyer.
The Best Hatchback Cars in India
Some may say that SUVs are the most popular kind of body style that the Indian car buyer looks for, yet, 48% of the market share is still dominated by the hatchback body style.
Manufacturers deem the hatchback an important model in terms of sales. Over the last few decades, hatchback cars have been surging in sales from all manufacturers. One of the reasons behind the demand for hatchbacks is, first of all, the large number of options for buyers. Almost every manufacturer in India has a hatchback in their portfolio, and car maker Maruti Suzuki has both budget friendly hatchbacks as well as premium cars that fit every price range the buyer is looking for.
Secondly, hatchbacks offer compact dimensions which make them easy to manoeuvre in city traffic and congested parking areas. They also offer excellent fuel mileage and today’s hatchbacks offer a host of safety and convenience features like airbags, automatic climate control, ABS and disc brakes.
Hatchbacks have therefore become the preferred choice for the Indian car buyer. No best-selling hatchback discussion can be complete without mentioning the Maruti Suzuki Alto which has been the highest selling car in India for well over two decades.
How Do You Select the Best Hatchback?
Hatchbacks are available in a range of sizes, shapes and styles. First on the list are entry level hatchbacks that offer a suitable number of features for the price you pay, and come equipped with frugal engines that provide good fuel economy.
Mid-range hatchbacks are slightly more expensive but offer a larger space for occupants and luggage area. They have more features than entry level hatchbacks and provide a good balance between price and equipment levels.
Finally, you have premium hatchbacks that offer large interior space, loads of features for both safety and convenience, bigger engines that provide better performance while still returning decent fuel economy.
Transmission options that car buyers can choose from are varied. First you get a completely manual gearbox, next on offer is an AMT, which is a semi-automatic transmission based on the manual but with electronic shifting of gears. Then come CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) and fully automatic torque converters which end up being quite expensive.
Hatchbacks in India are also offered in petrol and diesel variants depending on the characteristics the new car buyer is looking for, such as fuel economy, smoothness, torque specifications and refinement. All in all, you will find stylish, reliable and value for money vehicles across all segments of this category.
Let’s Have a Look at Some Entry Level Hatchbacks Available for the Indian Buyer
Maruti Suzuki Alto 800
This car was released by Maruti at a very affordable price tag, in fact one of the least expensive entry level hatchbacks you can buy in India. The seating capacity is limited to 4 passengers, although 5 can fit, but it will be a tight squeeze. Boot space is a decent 177 litres.
Some of the comfort features on the Alto 800 include an infotainment system, keyless entry, two front airbags, and modern looking body style features. The hatchback comes in petrol or CNG engine options.
The engine is a 796 cc, BS6 compliant powerplant capable of 47 bhp @ 6000 rpm and a maximum torque specification of 69 Nm @ 3500 rpm. Tubeless tires are an added feature for smooth driving coupled with the silky, refined engine performance.
Launched in the year 2015 as a budget, entry level hatchback to rival the likes of Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 in this segment, the Renault Kwid has been doing the rounds as a great alternative to small Japanese hatchbacks. It also gives competition to the likes of the Datsun Go, Datsun Redi Go and the new Hyundai Santro, all budget friendly small hatchbacks that offer superb value for money.
The Kwid is offered in petrol only engine variants and has a large boot space of 300 litres, which is quite impressive for such a small car. It is the ideal car for the city, having smooth and comfortable ride and handling.
The engine options are either 800 cc or 1 litre and both are refined units that provide good performance. Transmission options of both manual and automatic are smooth and the Kwid offers excellent fuel economy.
Some of the comfort features available on the Renault Kwid include remote keyless entry, a fully digital instrumentation cluster, macho styling with reasonable ground clearance, and a good viewing space from the front and rear windshield.
Best Premium Hatchback Cars in India
In the premium hatchback segment, we have cars that are slightly more expensive, but offer much larger interior space, better cargo room, more safety and comfort features and bigger and more powerful engines that offer good performance.
The premium hatchback segment includes cars like the Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Hyundai i20, Honda Jazz, Tata Altroz and the Toyota Glanza.
Out of these the highest selling premium hatchback in the country is the Maruti Suzuki Baleno which is priced at around 8 lakhs.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
The Baleno is popular because of its sporty styling, extremely smooth and refined engine, good interior space filled with lots of comfort features, and a price tag that is quite affordable to the Indian car buyer.
Interior technology has always been a plus point with the Baleno, and it sports a large and advanced 9-inch infotainment touchscreen, which has an all-new interface with better graphics and connective features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also has a built-in GPS navigation feature which is compatible with Google Maps. For safety it has a 360-degree viewing camera and six airbags making this a really safe car.
Under the hood sits a 1.2 litre petrol unit which is more than adequate in terms of performance and refinement. A 5-speed manual and a CVT option is available for the transmission options. The main rivals to the Maruti Suzuki Baleno are the Hyundai i20, Volkswagen Polo and the Honda Jazz.
The Tata Altroz is one of the hatchbacks that has been gaining popularity and even giving tough competition to the i20. This is the only car with a 5-star global NCAP rating in the segment. It comes with 3 engine options. A naturally aspirated petrol engine makes 86hp & 113Nm torque, while the turbo petrol engine churns out 110hp & 140Nm torque. There is also a 1.5-litre diesel making 90hp & 200Nm torque. While the 1.2-litre petrol engine might lack some refinement, the diesel can be a complete package. A new DCA transmission was also introduced this year to add to the convenience, and this car offers a mileage of up to 23kmpl.
It has excellent driving dynamics & a spacious interior as compared to the others. It offers a semi-digital instrument cluster with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with connected car tech through Tata’s iRA connect. Tata also offers customisation options and is available in a Dark version. Altroz is equipped with dual front airbags and auto park lock (DCA only) with a price range of ₹6.20-10.15 lakhs ex-showroom throughout 7 variants.
Hyundai i20 has been second after Baleno in the premium hatchback segment. Although Altroz overtook it for a bit, Hyundai has also introduced the performance version, i20 N-Line, in India. It has 3 engine options, including a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine making 83hp & 114Nm torque. A 1-litre turbo-petrol churning out 120hp & 172Nm mated to a 6-speed iMT or a 7-speed DCT transmission. While the 1.5-litre diesel makes 100hp & 240Nm torque. It has a fuel efficiency of up to 25kmpl.
I20 is equipped with premium features such as a sunroof, 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an air purifier and BlueLink connected car tech. Safety-wise it gets upto 6-airbags, ABS, EBD, ESC and a price range from ₹7.03-11.54 lakhs ex-showroom throughout 4 variants; Magna, Sportz, Asta, and Asta (O).
Jazz is the oldest car in the premium hatchback segment running since 2015. It only received a minor update in 2020 but still offers a decent package. It is powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine that makes 90hp & 110Nm torque with a fuel efficiency of up to 17kmpl. This engine is mated to a 5-speed manual with an optional 7-speed CVT gearbox which comes with paddle shifters.
It also gets a sunroof and other features like cruise control, automatic climate control, LED headlamps and fog lamps. It also gets a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It is equipped with dual front airbags, ABS, and EBD with a price range from ₹7.78-10.09 lakhs ex-showroom throughout 3 variants.
The last premium hatchback on our list is the rebadged version of the Baleno sold by Toyota as Glanza. It gets the same powertrain as the Baleno, a 1.2-litre DualJet petrol engine churning out 90hp & 113Nm torque with a fuel efficiency of up to 23kmpl, but the NVH & damping are slightly better.
It also offers a slightly better interior and a similar set of features such as connected car tech, a 9-inch touchscreen system with voice assistance, auto climate control with rear AC vents, and cruise control. Glanza has a price range from ₹6.53-9.91 lakhs ex-showroom throughout 4 variants.
Diesel Hatchback cars in India
One of the best diesel hatchbacks available in India is the Hyundai i20 with a price tag of approximately 12 lakhs.
The diesel unit is a 1.5 litre that comes with the option of a manual or automatic transmission. The engine gives a mileage of around 25 kmpl which is quite frugal.
In terms of design, the i20 features an edgy styling which makes it look futuristic and unique. The i20 looks compact from the outside, but the interiors are roomy and make for comfortable rides. Huge grilles are very trendy these days, and the Hyundai i20 comes with an iconic trademark honeycomb grille that adds to the style factor of the car.
Hatchback Cars in India With Best Mileage
Fuel efficiency has become one of the most important criteria by which new car buyers decide on the set of wheels to drive home. If a car can provide good fuel economy, and have excellent features in terms of comfort and convenience while at the same time quote a budget friendly price, then the perfect car would be the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios.
The Grand i10 Nios is a frugal, user friendly and practical car to drive around. It comes with the option of a 1.2 litre petrol or diesel engine, as well as a CNG variant. Now, in its third generation, Hyundai is making sure it stays on top of its game, and is building on the strengths of its older siblings to bring new features and equipment to the new models.
New Hatchback Cars in India
Some of the new hatchback cars that are coming out in 2022 include the Citroen C3, Maruti Suzuki Swift Hybrid, Tata Altroz EV, MG 3, and the Volkswagen Polo 2022. All these cars will be launched with a price tag that is under 10 lakh which makes them quite affordable.
Maruti Suzuki Swift Hybrid
Maruti Suzuki plans to launch the Swift Hybrid in India and make use of this technology in their current line-up. The Swift Hybrid will get a 1.2 litre petrol engine coupled to an electric motor and a large battery pack. The petrol engine of the Swift Hybrid makes 91 bhp and 118 Nm of torque, while the electric motor adds on an extra 13.5 bhp of power and 30 Nm of torque.
The Swift Hybrid gets an AMT transmission with paddle shifter for the driver. For comfort the Suzuki Swift Hybrid gets ventilated front seats, cruise control and a snazzy infotainment touchscreen.
The Citroen C3 is expected to be launched by June 2022 and it will be priced at around 6 lakhs. For engine options, the C3 will get a 1.2 litre naturally aspirated engine as well as a turbocharged petrol unit with both automatic and manual gearboxes on offer.
The interiors of the C3 get a touchscreen 10-inch infotainment screen that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a digital instrument cluster and steering mounted controls.
Safety features for the C3 include dual front airbags, ABS brakes equipped with EBD and rear parking sensors to add to the convenience of the driver.
Some of the main competitors for the Citroen C3 include the Nissan Magnite, Renault Kiger, Tata Punch, Hyundai Grand i10 and Maruti Suzuki Swift and Baleno.
The hatchback segment in India has grown from strength to strength in the past years because of their clever pricing options, interior space, foldable rear seats to carry luggage, and their stylish looks and convenience features.
Manufacturers have been producing hatchbacks to cater to all the needs of the Indian new car buyer. There are a host of hatchbacks available with AMT and automatic transmissions to increase the ease with which to drive these cars in the crowded city streets. Cars like the Renault Kwid, Tata Tiago, and Maruti Suzuki WagonR all come with AMT transmissions for ease of driving.
AMT transmissions come with some added electronic driver assistance features like hill-climb assist and hill-hold assist which comes in use when driving in hilly areas. These features make the driving experience easier and more enjoyable for the driver.
The only disadvantage of having an AMT or automatic transmission is that fuel efficiency will go down which really makes a difference given the price of fuel these days.
When it comes to fuel efficiency, almost all these small hatchbacks have frugal petrol engines, some being offered with fuel efficient diesel engines and CNG options. Maruti Suzuki offers CNG on their WagonR car and Hyundai has a CNG option for the Grand i10 and Santro models.
Hatchbacks are compact in size which makes them very easy to drive in narrow streets or roads with a lot of traffic. However, being compact on the outside still means they come with a lot of excess space on the inside for the comfort of passengers.
If buyers are looking for a luxury hatchback, where there are no limits on the price of the car, buyers can look into hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Polo GTi, Audi A1, and the BMW 3 series.
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