The 1960’s saw the advent and subsequent rise of the hatchback in Europe. Due to it’s compact size and ease of navigation on congested roads, the hatchback gained popularity the world over. The hatchback is the smallest mainstream car body configuration with a rear door which can be opened upwards to provide a boot space. They hold significant advantage and popularity over other car body configurations in India. Firstly, it requires a lot less space, which is a blessing to the traffic and cramped streets. Secondly, it provides comfortable space for four, its an ideal car for a family of four or less. They also consume less fuel, which works extremely well with the sustainable development & environment-friendly outlook which is essentially the need of the hour if we are to save the planet.
Maruti Suzuki Swift
Swift has been around since more than ten years now and is still one of the biggest competitors in this category. It’s athletic looks and elegant exterior is a favorite with the nation. A closer look inside would tell you that Maruti works hard on competing with other cars in this segment, as it provides all modern features such as 60:40 split seats, tiltable steering and inbuilt Bluetooth in the latest versions.
The new Swift on the road consists of a 1.2 litre, K-Series VTVT petrol engine and Fiat’s renowned 1.3 litre Multijet engine paired to a five-speed manual transmission. Variants also come with AMT option to keep up with the competition.
Hyundai Elite i20
Hyundai maintains a dominant position in the market with its Fluidic sculpture philosophy dictating the pulled back headlights and rear combination lamps. Its dynamic design pours a spacious interior with advanced capabilities such as touchscreen infotainment, keyless entry, multi-functional steering make it easily one of the best cars in this category.
It’s 1.2 litre Kappa dual VTVT petrol and 1.4 litre U2 CRDi diesel unit, mated to a five-speed manual with an option for a six-speed manual (only in the diesel range) gives durable and powerful performance.
Sedans have been around since a long time. The first locally manufactured mass production car to roll out in Australia was the Holden FX, manufactured way back in 1948. Sedans provide a more vast cargo space than hatchbacks with a proper segmentation between the rear seats and the trunk, a feature absent in any other mainstream category of cars. Their streamlined design also provides an elegant driving experience due to better aerodynamics. Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire and Honda City are two sedans which we are going to talk about in this article.
An extension of the Swift platform, the Swift Dzire has been plying its trade in the industry since more than six years now. The new 2015 facelifted model has undergone minor cosmetic updates such as smoked headlamps, a new single chrome-slat grille, fog lamps with chrome inserts and new alloy wheels. Inside, the car can easily house five people and has increased head and legroom than before.
The Swift Dzire is also the most fuel efficient sedans. It houses a 1.3-litre DDiS diesel and 1.2-litre petrol engine mated to a five-speed transmission. While the former offers 26.59kmpl, the latter one offers 20.85kmpl, high standards compared to other cars in most categories in the automotive industry.
City’s iconic stretched headlamps and sleek rear lights look like a feature of art. Being the prime car in the sedan category since a long time, Honda keeps updating it to live upto its standard, pushing every other challenger at the side of the picture.A little tight on mileage, the 1497 cc, i-VTEC petrol engine provides a mileage of around 14-15 kmpl.
A Crossover or Crossover Utility Vehicle(CUV) is a vehicle built on a platform combining features of SUV’s and passenger cars. It ditches the body-on-frame manufacturing technique typical of SUV’s in which the platform and the body are manufactured separately and instead goes for the unibody design to achieve a lighter weight, car-like handling and fuel economy. Crossovers merge the benefits and effortless handling of a car with the comfortable spaciousness of SUVs and the result is gaining immense popularity among the masses.
Maruti Suzuki S-Cross
The S-Cross, from the outside, looks like a hefty revamp of the now discontinued SX4. The interiors are black with a sporty hexagonal-shaped dashboard along with the usual visible use of leather on seats, door pads and steering wheel.
As of now the S-Cross offers two diesel engines - the 1.3-litre and the 1.6-litre. The latter gives a mileage of 22.7km/l. The 1.3 litre engine’s claimed mileage is 23.65 km/l. Both the engines are matched to a 6-speed gearbox. In terms of performance and comfort, the S-Cross does well at decent to high speeds due to a stringent suspension setup.
BMW’s budget luxury offering presents BMW’s class and style in the shape of a small SUV of sorts, but still retains its fierce headlight and grille design and sleek rear lights. Combined with a well responsive steering and a tight suspension, it makes for a smooth ride on all Indian roads. A 6.5-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth is standard; navigation, adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and a self-parking feature are optional.
The BMW X1 was launched in three variants: sDrive18i (petrol), sDrive20d (diesel) and sDrive20d exclusive (diesel). The petrol version has a 1.8 litre engine and BMW X1 diesel version is equipped with 2.0 litre.
A Sport Utility Vehicle or Suburban Utility Vehicle, better known as an SUV, has an additional capacity in the form of a two-box design along with the traditional front and back seat design. It usually comes equipped with a four-wheel drive for off-roading and is bigger in body size and engine capacity than any other mainstream car category. The SUV wins over other segments when it comes to driving off-road and providing space for big families or heavy cargo.
Launched in 2013, the Duster has broad headlights and rear lamps which lend it a dominative and brawny image. The extensive hood only polishes its image. The interiors in the latest edition get a beige finish with a steel black dashboard and a touchscreen infotainment system.
The Renault Duster is powered by 3 engine options - a 1.6-litre petrol (103 bhp), a 1.5-litre diesel (84 bhp) and a 1.5-litre diesel (108 bhp). The new face-lift edition borrows the ABS and EBS systems from its predecessor. It also features Hill Hold and a traction control system for hilly or mountain roads.
Since its launch, the Mahindra XUV500 turns heads due to its menacing looks. The wide doors are accentuated by the cold, condescending front and rear. Every variant comes with high class safety features such as ABS and ESP.
Since its launch in 2011, XUV500 has gone through many changes, with one of the most vital being addition of the AT and AWD variants. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and automatic units. The car boasts of a 2.2-litre mHawk engine mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
An ideal blend of style and space, the Kia Sportage takes on rivals like the Hyundai Tucson by the proverbial tusks & is a tasteful car to look at. With an imposing & unique front grille this compact SUV has bold cuts & belt-lines on the sides and radiates an aura of posh royalty.
The Sportage is available in a number of trims. Two of these trims come powered by a 1.6 litre petrol & diesel motors churning out 152 & 182 bhp of power respectively & giving a mileage of 23 mpg in cities and 30 mpg on highway roads. There are Platinum AWD versions as well, one with a 2.0 litre, turbocharged diesel engine, outputting 182 bhp of power & giving 21 & 26 mpg on city & highway roads respectively. The second one is a more powerful platinum 2.4 litre petrol then it’s twin, outputting 182 bhp. The Kia Sportage is very responsive, & with the sturdy suspension, makes for a great driving experience.