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8 Severely Underpowered Cars In India, From Altroz To Elantra

Who doesn’t like a powerful car? With a powerful engine and good power and torque figures, enough to throw you around when you are throwing your car in the corner. Yeah, touchscreen infotainment is cool, sunroof is a great (debatable) feature to have, air purifier makes your drive fresh, but what about the engine, the heart of a car? It seems like Indian manufacturers seem to ignore it. If you know, where I am going with this, check out these 8 severely underpowered cars in India.

  1. Ford Endeavour (2.0L 4-Cylinder Diesel)

    Ford Endeavour

    Alright, let’s start with the big boy here. Ever since the very tasty 3.2L left the stable of the Endeavour, it is unfortunately stuck with the underwhelming 2.0L EcoBlue Diesel Engine that churns out 168Bhp and 420Nm of peak torque. Now, the 10-speed automatic does help a bit in putting that power on the road. But, Ford, please bring back the 3.2 for off-roading sake!

  2. Tata Altroz Petrol (1.2L 3-Cylinder Petrol)

    Tata Altroz Turbo Petrol | Representational Image
    Tata Altroz Turbo Petrol

    No, we are not talking about the recently launched Altroz i-Turbo. But this one goes to the original Altroz which Tata introduced paired with the Tiago’s 1.2L Revotron Petrol Engine. Let’s get this straight, why did Tata have to plonk in a puny engine from an entry-level hatchback into a premium hatch?

    Suggested Read: Tata Altroz iTurbo vs Hyundai i20 Turbo | Which “i” To Choose?

    The Altroz is a brilliant car, fully loaded with great features and offers a comfortable ride, but why did Tata compromise on the engine front. Now that Tata has redeemed itself with the i-Turbo, this rant can rest in peace.

  3. Renault Triber (1.0L 3-Cylinder Petrol)

    Renault Triber AMT Featured
    Renault Triber

    The Triber is a budget MPV from the house of Renault. The Renault Triber emerged as a great car that fulfilled the dreams of many Indians, who wanted a big 7-seater at an affordable price. The Triber has great features, flexible seating options, a good AMT Easy-R automatic but a tiny 999cc BR10 3-cylinder petrol engine that just doesn’t cut it.

    The 1.0L petrol engine is a slightly tuned version of the same engine on the Kwid. But, the Triber could definitely have done better with a bigger capacity motor upfront.

    Must Read: 10 Reasons Why The Renault Triber Should Be Your Next MPV

  4. Hyundai Elantra (1.5L 4-Cylinder Diesel)

    Hyundai BS6 discount
    Hyundai Elantra

    The Hyundai Elantra is powered by the 1.5L CRDi Diesel Engine, derived from the Hyundai Creta. However, the Elantra is a premium sedan that could’ve easily done with a bigger CC engine (a 2.0L maybe?). The 1.5L is too underpowered for this segment of the sedan. In fact, this cubic capacity belongs to the C-Segment sedan like the Hyundai Verna, Honda City and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz.

  5. Hyundai Santro (1.1L 4-Cylinder Petrol)

    Hyundai Santro

    The all-new Hyundai Santro comes equipped with a 1.0L MPI Petrol engine that churns out a meagre 68Bhp and 99Nm of torque. The Santro is grossly underpowered compared to its rivals in the same segment like the Tata Tiago and the Maruti Suzuki WagonR.

    One redeeming factor of the Hyundai Santro is that it has a 4-pot motor, which significantly brings down the NVH level and instantaneously improved the drivability.

  6. Honda Jazz (1.2L 4-Cylinder Petrol)

    All-new updated Honda Jazz
    All-new updated Honda Jazz

    The Jazz premium hatchback from Honda comes from the Japanese stable of Honda. The Honda Jazz comes with a 1.2L 4-Cylinder i-VTEC Petrol engine that produces 89Bhp and 110Nm of peak torque. Well, these are not figures, but not good either to rave about. The Honda Jazz could’ve easily done with a 1.5L i-VTEC from the Honda City which would have made it a true hot hatch in the country. Are you listening Honda?

    Related: The Honda Jazz | Honda’s Premium Hatchback Through The Ages!

  7. Tata Tigor (1.2L 3-Cylinder Petrol)

    2020 Tata Tigor
    2020 Tata Tigor

    The Tigor is Tata’s version of a sub-4-meter sedan that was brought in the segment to compete with the like of the Maruti Suzuki Dzire and the Hyundai Xcent (or the Hyundai Aura).

    The Tata Tigor comes with the same engine as the Tiago; a 1.2L 3-Cylinder Revotron Petrol which also powers the Tata Altroz (Naturally Aspirated one). Given the extra weight and size of the Tata Tigor, it could’ve easily done great with a slightly bigger capacity engine.

  8. Toyota Corolla Altis (4-Cylinder Turbo Diesel)

    Toyota Altis Diesel
    Toyota Corolla Altis

    One of the best selling cars around the world and one of the most reliable tried and trusted car that exists on the face of the earth today; The Toyota Corolla Altis in its diesel avatar is quite disappointing. A 1.4L Turbo-Diesel engine that produces a puny 88Bhp and 205Nm of torque. Compare with its rivals; the Honda Civic (120Bhp/300Nm) and the Skoda Octavia (143Nm/320Nm) these power figures are absolutely appalling.

So, these were the top 8 underpowered cars that exist in India today. Do comment down below which car do you think is grossly underequipped upfront and whether India is ready to witness some great performing cars.

Akshat Ajeya
Lead, Content & Creatives at GoMechanic | Automobile Scale Model Collector | DIY guy | Consumer of many foods | CVT is not that bad


  1. The poorest performer here (as per your list) is the Endeavour with a power / weight ratio of 69.5 bhp/ton of kerb wt.
    It also has a sprint figure of 12.75 sec to 100 km/hr, which to me sounds very decent for a vehicle weighing in at 2415 kg, ie over 2.4 tons!

    In comparison, my Tata Sierra (NA, not turbo) in 1996 had a weight/power ratio of app. 37.7 bhp/ton and took 38 seconds to reach 100 km/hr – but we loved it & ran it for 8 years all over the country despite the endless niggles, both major & minor.

    We have come a long way since then. So, my dear chap, be reasonable when you talk about car performance.

  2. 2 things to consider. First, Developing a new engine, even with slightly increased volume costs hundreds of crores from development to the assembly line, which also increases the complexity of logistics and supply chain. Predicting numbers to manufacture each variant of engine becomes difficult too.
    Second, increased power comes with drop in fuel efficiency and more tasks for the exhaust to bring down emissions. And we’re still largely a ‘Kitna deti hai?’ asking economy. So manufacturers have to find an easy way out.

  3. Talking about Tata Altroz, Tata Tigor & Honda Jazz all Petrol models with 1.2 Ltr NA engine,
    These cars have 1.2 Ltr NA engines for tax benifit by Govt of India else these car would be more expensive. For the same reason even Hyundai i20 has 1.2 Ltr NA petrol engine
    I myself own Honda WR-V petrol, it’s absolutely fun to drive, Once you know how to get the best out of it, it’s just revv happy engine, superrr smooth & refined petrol engine

  4. I recently purchased all new i20 2020 manual transmission 1.2L engine, which I felt under powered in hilly areas which is disappointing.

  5. This seems like a anti Tata rant of sorts ,please give the power and torque figures of tigor’s competition,if you call that car underpowered

    • Hi Shyan,
      It hard to break it down but many of the Tata Tigor’s competition have a little more powerful engine and weighs a little less. Making them a little more agile than Tigor. Stay Pinned! 🙂

      • And weighing a little less has barely earned them a 2* in GNCAP. How much justified do you think your “little more powerful” is compared against the stability of tata tigor? Furthermore, they all come in higher price brackets making Tigor most VFM among the lot.

  6. Vehicles you listed are very economical and the torque and power they deliver are enough to move 4 persons from point A to B with their luggage. To minimize carbon foot prints these vehicles are more enough.. Don’t think like American who are using w12 enging to move one person , burning tons of fuel and generating clouds of co2 and on top pritching others how to save the world.

  7. Actually, Indian Road Conditions and Speed Limits are the most important factors here.
    And above that, the Fuel Consumption, as we might be a country where it is most expensive.

  8. Same reason why A320 jumbo plane and the Concorde didn’t work out. Majority people don’t need high power engine because majority don’t off-road. Manufacturers need to increase their revenue and sales. To focus on the minority off roaders to mint money is not as safe a bet as reducing the power, to reduce the price, to increase the efficiency, to increase the sales revenue.

    Big airplanes also, not being very efficient, didn’t work out. Ultimately the small, fuel efficient, easy-to-manage (means those not requiring massive infrastructure) planes are ruling the skies.


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