Last Updated at
- 04:31 pm, March 23, 2013
In diesel cars-biased era, we pick the top five hatchbacks that stand out in the crowded segment.
Rev-happy (and thirsty) petrol-powered cars have had their time under the spotlight in the Indian market. However with the petrol prices heading the wrong way every other week, it seems natural then, to say that we have now officially entered into the ‘diesel era’.
Today, huge chunk of potential car buyers not only look for a car that pleases the eye or the list of toys it comes with, but also how economical the car is to run – the latter sadly, being the deciding factor in these difficult times. A seemingly natural solution then, is to go the diesel way.
And luckily for us, there are plenty of options in the Indian market today to pick a practical diesel-powered hatch that will get the most bang for your hard-earned buck.
To ease things out for you, we have settled on five diesel-powered hatchbacks that are currently on sale in India.
Renault’s first and only hatchback for the Indian market is nothing but a re-badged Nissan Micra, albeit with a few changes to the design to make it look French. Renault really is not fooling anyone here. On the inside, things are even more drastic. The interior has been left completely unchanged, be it design, layout of switchgear or the seats.
However, it also retains Micra’s cleverly designed interior layout that allows for good amount of space and easily accommodates four adults. The Pulse comes with quite an impressive list of features as well such as an engine start/stop button, smart key, couple of airbags to name a few. Under the hood, the Pulse gets - you guessed it right – the same 1,461cc turbo-diesel engine from the Micra. This 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder motor is good for 65PS of power.
The Renault Pulse, in a nutshell is a sensibly buy for someone looking for a spacious, no-nonsense hatch with good fuel economy.
Renault Pulse versus competition
To put it simply, the new Swift is just like the old one, but better in every possible way. It may look nearly the same as the model it replaces, but that's Suzuki not fixing what ain't broke. What they have fixed though, is the quality of the old model. Maruti Suzuki has rounded off some rough edges, the result being the new Swift feeling like more like a premium car and offering ride and handling quality like that of an European car. In effect, you get the costs of ownership of a Japanese car that rides and handles like a European one. Best of both worlds? You bet.
The new Swift comes with the same diesel engine that made the earlier car so popular. The Fiat-sourced Multijet (DDiS in Maruti speak) engine churns out a similar 75PS of power and 190Nm of torque as the older model. However, it runs a new tuning setup, which helps it return better fuel economy. In terms of performance, the Swift diesel does have to make do with some amount of turbo-lag under 2,000 revs. But floor the throttle hard, let the turbo kick in – and watch this car go like a stabbed rat!
Maruti Suzuki Swift versus competition
The Beat diesel retains its unique approach of 22nd century looks, good quality cabin and compact size. The little Chevy also has garnered a little star power with an appearance in one of the ‘Transformers’ movie. In diesel guise, the Beat is even more irresistible with the tiny 936cc, 3-cylinder diesel engine. It is essentially a 3-cylinder version of the much-acclaimed 1.3-litre Fiat Multijet motor.
Even though the diesel-powered Beat puts out only 58PS, it is surprisingly good for driving around the urban jungle with enough juice to keep up with other motorists.
The Beat Diesel is also one of the most fuel-efficient cars you can buy today, hands down.
Chevrolet Beat versus competition:
German engineering for the masses is essentially what VW's small car, the Polo is. When it comes to looks - it is quintessentially German with crisp, clean lines and minimalistic design cues. The Polo, Undoubtedly, is one of the best looking hatchbacks on sale today.
Build quality is commendable as well and the whole car feels well put together. Where it misses out though is in the engine department. The 1,198cc, 3-cylinder diesel engine is not what you’d call, gutsy. It puts out a modest 75PS of power which is just about adequate to make this car move. The Polo desperately runs out of breath on the highway and the engine is just not refined enough to rev the nuts off and extract some serious performance out of it.
With prices ranging from Rs 5.60 lakh to Rs 7.10 lakh, the Polo isn’t quite there with the top boys for value-for-money proposition. It fights back though, offering superior looks, plush ride and quality interiors - all of which more than make up for the underpowered lump that’s under the hood.
Volkswagen Polo versus competition
The Figo has been Ford’s most successful car here in India. What the sedans (however, brilliant they were) crossovers and SUVs couldn’t, the Figo hit the target right from day one. Packaging the most relevant creature comforts and safety features at a price tag tempting to many, the Figo became a hot favorite in the hatchback category.
The Diesel version is powered by the brilliant 1.4-litre Duratorq TDCi engine earlier found in the Fiesta and the Ikon. This gem of an engine promises an estimated fuel economy of over 14kmpl in the city and close to 19kmpl on the highway. When it comes to the ownership experience, the reduced service and spares costs along with better availability have contributed to Figo’s success. No wonder the little hatch is raking in cash for the American giant.
Ford Figo versus competition:
First Published on 07:50 pm, July 06, 2012
Sagar is probably one of the most silent kids working in the field of automobile journalism. He loves Porsches more than Ferraris and believes that kicking up dirt and slush is more exciting than laying down rubber on tarmac. The only time he makes noise is when someone questions his state of origin!