When it comes to sports cars or performance vehicles, the prerogative of a buyer is power, acceleration, handling and an exciting design in most cases. Cars like the Ford Mustang GT, Audi RS7 Sportback, Nissan GT-R and the likes are established performance vehicles but only a select few can afford them due to their expensive price and maintenance. However, people with smaller budgets need not be disheartened as there are affordable cars too in the country that offer good performance at an affordable price. Here's a list of top performance-oriented hatchbacks in India.
Fiat Abarth Punto : Launched in 2015, with a price tag of Rs 9.90 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi, Fiat Abarth Punto is one of the hottest hatches in the country. Abarth, a racing car maker founded by Italo-Austrian Carlo Abarth in 1949, has long fine tuned Fiat cars to racing pedigree. The main highlight of the Punto Abarth is its engine, a 1368 cc 16 valve petrol engine that develops 145 hp of power at 5,500 rpm. The car does not get an automatic transmission and is offered with a 5-speed manual gearbox only, which is quite rubbery and doesn't compliment the vehicle's character. The Abarth Punto features the iconic Scorpio emblem and badging as well as graphics, side skirting and contrasting decals on the sides that make it stand out. The overall design of the car is further accentuated by its 16-inch sporty alloy wheels.
Volkswagen Polo GT TSI: The Polo GT TSI is a peppier version of the five-door Polo and gets more power but not much styling changes over the standard Polo. Under the bonnet, the Polo and Polo GT TSI get a 1.2 litre turbocharged, direct injection TSI petrol unit. The engine develops a healthy output of 103 hp and 175 Nm of torque. The Volkswagen Polo GT TSI is the only hatchback that is available with a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The Polo GT TSI delivers a claimed fuel economy of 17.21 kmpl, which is good for its positioning and target consumer. The Polo GT TSI is priced at Rs 9.15 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi, which is competitive considering the kit it offers.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS: In March this year, Maruti Suzuki launched the Baleno RS, a sportier and powerful version of the Baleno, priced at Rs 8.69 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi. Unlike Maruti's cosmetically-enhanced RS versions launched earlier, the new Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS gets an all-new engine and a revised suspension setup. Powering the RS is a one-litre three-cylinder Boosterjet engine, which develops 99 hp of power and 150 Nm of peak torque. The car comes with a five-speed manual transmission without any option for an automatic. The Baleno RS delivers an ARAI rated economy of 21.1 kmpl, partially aided by its light weight of 950 kg. The cabin remains unchanged and the exterior has been mildly updated with new front and rear bumpers, side skirting and blacked painted alloys.
Volkswagen Polo GT TDI: The Volkswagen Polo GT TDI is the diesel version of the GT petrol and is powered by a 1.5 litre turbocharged unit that produces 109 hp of power and is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The engine gets an aluminium cylinder head that reduces the weight of the car and delivers an ARAI-certified fuel-efficiency of 19.9 kmpl. The design and styling of the Polo GT TDI are largely same as the standard Polo, but gets a new grille, bumper, headlamps and fog lamps with cornering lights. The rear too has received redesigned bumper with integrated license plate and tail lamp cluster. The cabin has received more changes than the exterior such as dual-tone interior, all-black interior, door sills with silver-finished GT badging and aluminium pedals, giving it a sporty appeal.
Ford Figo S: The latest addition to the Figo range is the Sports version that offers a better handling characteristic to the premium hatchback. The Ford Figo S or Sports is based on the Titanium version and is powered by the same 1.2 litre petrol and the 1.5 litre diesel engine options, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The car manufacturer has not improved the performance figures of the car, however, it gets reworked suspension setup along with a larger, 15-inch alloy wheel as well as wider 195/55 section tyre. This, in turn, improves the handling of the hatchback without compromising on the ride quality. Ford has also not equipped the Figo S with chrome embellishments, but gets silver accents on the side with S badging and at the rear bumper. There is a lot of black elements such as the all black honeycomb mesh grille, blacked-out wheels, ORVMs (Outside Rear View Mirrors) as well as smoked headlamps. The cabin largely remains unchanged however, minor changes include contrasting red stitching on the gear lever, seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Fiat Abarth 595 Competizione: Fiat Abarth 595 Competizione is a sporty car from every angle. Under the hood, it is packed with a 1.4 litre turbo T-Jet petrol engine that develops 160 hp of power and 230 Nm torque. The car has a top speed of 209 kmph and is available with sequential automated gearbox and steering wheel mounted shift paddle. The Fiat Abarth 595 Competizione sits on 17-inch alloys with 205/40 ZR17 tyres and gets twin exhausts, sunroof and Abarth decals. The suspension setup includes Copaf front suspensions with FSD (Frequency Selective Damping) technology and Koni rear suspensions. The 595 Competizione gets Abarth Corsa fabric racing seats by Sabelt, a 7-inch TFT coloured instrument panel, split rear seats with head restraint and Abarth stickers. One can also choose between Scorpione Black, Cordolo Red, Iridato White and Campovolo Grey body colour options.
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