|Hatch Match-FIAT GRANDE PUNTO & more|
Photography Sanjay Raikar
In many ways, hatchbacks are the most practical body type for India. Not only are hatches more affordable (with a few exceptions), they’re cheap to run and mostly cheap to maintain. Compact cars make the most sense on our crowded streets as well. But the sheer number of choices available means the consumer – you – is often stumped as to what the best choice is. I’ll attempt to help you choose the best car for your needs in this comparo through an exhaustive test drive. Even I don’t know who the winner is, yet.
There’s a common template to all the cars on test here. They’re all within four metres in length and they all have petrol engines equating to or less than 1200cc. This is because the Indian government, in all its wisdom, has decreed that small cars with small engines shall benefit from an excise reduction. Outright performance expectedly, isn’t what you should expect. Instead, the focus is on drivability and everyday usability while still delivering good fuel efficiency.
A good design is half the battle won for a manufacturer. An appealing shape does translate to footfalls into the showroom and eventually some sales. What is truly amazing about the eight cars I’ve tested here is the uniqueness in their design; all eight cars have a distinct visual identity.