The hatchback segment is the most popular among Indians. It is the gateway through which they enter the ‘4 wheeler world’. The reason they are so popular is that they are affordable, have minimal maintenance cost and have great mileage. However, a very small chunk of the population loves them because some of them are fast. Like scary fast! So here is our token of appreciation to our fallen heroes; these are 7 Indian hot hatchbacks we wish would make a comeback.
The South Korean carmaker rocked the hatchback world in 1999 by launching the Santro. It wouldn’t be a long shot if we say that the Santro was the one that established Hyundai and made them who they are today. So they tried their luck one more time and launched the hot hatch from Korea, the Hyundai Getz. It was the first premium hatchback Indians had ever laid their eyes on. It was sophisticated, unlike most hatches which gave off a childish or laid back vibe. Under the hood was a number of engine options ranging from 1.1-litre petrol( used in the i10) to 1.5-litre diesel.
A special mention goes to the raddest of them all; 1.3-litre petrol which churned out a massive figure of 83 bhp; something unheard of in 2007.
But good things don’t last. It was costly for an Indian hatchback and with the launch of the i20, which was much more feature-loaded, Hyundai pulled off the plug on the Getz.
Tata Tiago JTP
Tiago has a way of creeping in most of our lists, and we can’t help it! In this day and age when nobody cares in India cares about fast cars, Tata tested its luck with the Tiago JTP. It was made under a joint venture of Tata Motors and JTP; which is a tuning company based out of Coimbatore, famous for their contribution in 2000 cc single-seater cars. The curtains were raised and we saw the birth of Tata Tiago JTP. It was a power-packed rocket with a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine(used in the Nexon) which put out 112 bhp! 112 bhp in a car that weighs 1000 kgs! Maddening.
However, just like before, Indians couldn’t digest the fact that it came with a price tag of 6.69 lakhs and hence it was discontinued!
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS
The one time Maruti did an amazing thing but got punched in the teeth for it. Maruti Suzuki has been criticised a lot, especially since 2010 for making very boring cars. So in order to change their image, they went back to the drawing board, took their premium hatchback Baleno, gave it a powerful heart and boom! launched the Baleno RS. It came with a 1.0 Boosterjet engine(perhaps the coolest engines) and produced peak power@101 bhp. It also got sporty styling on the outside.
But Indians could not care less for the extra boost in power and that leads to poor sales figures. The Baleno RS was removed from the lineup when the BS6 norms came.
Fiat Punto Abarth
If this isn’t the perfect hatch, then I don’t know what is. Fiat is known for making bulletproof, comfy and powerful cars since its dawn. They have always had an inclination towards sports car; I mean they used to own Ferrari. The Punto was a decent car, but it just couldn’t keep up with the likes of Swift and i20. So the Italian giants tried their hand in making a hot hatch which would lure customers and god, what a creation!
They launched the Punto Abarth( Abarth is their performance division) in 2015 and car enthusiasts rejoiced! It was so sharp looking, had all the features required, but the best part was the 1.4-litre petrol engine that screamed out 145 beautiful Italian ponies! 145! It was crazy!
But it still couldn’t keep up with popular cars like the Swift and even though Fiat desperately tried to keep the Abarth kindle alive, it fell, just like the other ones.
Fiat Abarth 595 Competizione
My heart rate is rushing just by writing about this car. Many of you would probably have even heard of it, but the story is true. Fiat tried changing the whole hatchback spectrum in India by launching their hottest hatch, the Abarth 595 Competizione in 2015. Now some cars are fast, some are really fast and then comes in this little bullet. It was based on their small hatchback the 500, but had a 1.4 litre turbocharged DOHC petrol engine that churned out 160 bhp! So much power in a car the size of a milk carton! The result? a 0-100 timing of 6.9 seconds!
But big power comes with a big buck. It looked like Fiat didn’t know anything about the Indian market has their cute little hatchback costed 25 lakhs! It was a big no from Indians, even with that kind of money and because of that, the 595 was discontinued very soon.
Volkswagen Polo GTI
While the Polo GT is a pretty fast car, the GTI is the boss. The German carmaker Volkswagen decided to reward us for treating them so nicely by launching the Polo GTI. It was a normal-looking hatchback until you popped the hood. Inside was a beautiful 1.8 TSI petrol engine that roared out a humongous figure of 189 bhp. That’s rally level power! It also had sportier suspension, better brakes and a more responsive steering wheel. It most definitely tops the list of Indian hot hatchbacks we wish would make a comeback.
The GTI came with a price tag of 20 lakhs which, to be honest for a car with 190 bhp under its hood, is a good bargain. But we Indians have big egos and we simply can’t fit it inside a hatchback. Volkswagen knew this and only had the GTI as a limited edition. Please VW, bring back the GTI!
Ford Figo Titanium 1.2 Sports
The Blue Oval launched a sporty version of their hatchback ‘Figo’ in 2019. It featured a retuned suspension setup which should result in improved handling and better stability. The silver horizontal slats on the front grille have been replaced with an all-black honeycomb grille with black headlamp bezels. It had a dual-tone exterior with either a black or white roof and a black or white outside rearview mirrors (ORVMs) depending on the colour chosen.15-inch black alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and decals on the rear and the side made it look aesthetic.
It also featured an all-black interior with black door handles and a black steering wheel bezel. While the steering wheel was leather wrapped with red contrast stitching, the seats also had red stitching. It was powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine which produces 88PS of peak power and 112Nm of max torque and is coupled to a five-speed manual transmission.
With spaces so good, it’s hard to believe that it was shelved in 2019. But that is the truth, the sad ugly truth.
In the era of the economy, these heroes gave us a trailer of excitement; although they couldn’t survive the test of time. We do wish to see them one more time on the lineup, even as a limited edition and I hope that our prayers are heard by the power Gods. Till then these were 7 Indian hot hatchbacks that should make a comeback. Have you owned or driven any of these Indian hot hatchbacks? Let us know your experience in the comments below.