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View Poll Results: Your choice?
Maruti Baleno 198 28.33%
Hyundai Elite i20 189 27.04%
Honda Jazz 81 11.59%
Ford Figo 96 13.73%
Volkswagen Polo 68 9.73%
Tata Bolt 12 1.72%
Toyota Liva 5 0.72%
Maruti Swift 21 3.00%
Other (please specify in your post) 29 4.15%
Voters: 699. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 15th December 2015, 15:25   #1
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Default Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks-10.jpg

Maruti Baleno

What you'll like:

• A well-priced, smart looking hatchback
• User-friendly cabin with loads of space! Can easily seat 5 tall adults
• Accommodating 339 liter boot. The 2nd biggest among hatchbacks (after the Jazz)
• Peppy petrol, efficient diesel & smooth automatic - take your pick
• Comfortable ride quality matched to neutral handling
• Dual Airbags & ABS with EBD are standard across all variants!
• Maruti's excellent after-sales service & fuss-free ownership experience
• Loaded with features such as UV-cut glass, projector headlamps + DRLs, reversing camera, Apple CarPlay, navigation, electrically-foldable ORVMs and more

What you won't:

• Ordinary interior quality is Swift-like. Several budget grade parts in here
• Rear seat headroom & under-thigh support are limited for tall passengers
• Light build quality (weighs merely 865 kilos). Lacks the solidity of its rivals
• CVT variant only in Delta trim (one above base). Suffers from rubber-band effect on the highway too
• More substantial & premium Elite i20 is priced only Rs. 17,000 - 37,000 above
• Waiting period running over 4 months for some variants / cities
• Sold exclusively through Nexa outlets. Limits the reach of the car

Link to Official Review (Maruti Baleno : Official Review)

Elite i20

What you'll like:

• All-rounded package in a sharp design. Improved over the 1st-gen i20 in nearly every way
• Spacious interiors with outstanding quality, fit and finish. Practical 285 liter boot too
• 1.4L diesel has excellent driveability, refinement, performance & fuel economy. 6-speed gearbox is smooth
• Mature suspension offers a comfortable ride and neutral handling characteristics
• Hyundai's fuss-free ownership experience & excellent after-sales-service
• Loaded with features & gizmos (16" rims, keyless entry & go, 8-speaker stereo, rake & reach steering, rear air-con, reversing cam, cooled glovebox and lots more)

What you won't:

• Missing equipment vis-a-vis old i20: Rear disc brakes, side & curtain airbags, sunroof, auto-wipers & DRLs
• 1.2L petrol is nowhere as impressive as the diesel. Mediocre highway performance for a premium hatchback
• Anyone over 5'11" will find rear headroom to be insufficient. Sloping roof eats into cabin height at the back
• Dynamics & steering aren't to an enthusiast's tastes. Swift, Polo etc. are more fun to drive
• On-road price difference between the petrol & diesel is ~1.3 lakhs. That's higher than the competition
• Rear wiper only on the top Asta trim! No fuel-efficiency indicator, auto-locking doors or height-adjustable seatbelts on any variant

Link to Official Review (Hyundai Elite i20 : Official Review)

Honda Jazz

What you'll like:

• Versatile package wearing sharp clothes. One car for several roles
• Spacious, user-friendly cabin. Easily the roomiest hatchback in India
• Big 354 liter boot is the segment best. Magic seats bring tons of flexibility
• Practical & efficient diesel, refined & revv-happy petrol and a convenient CVT. Take your pick
• Comfortable ride quality. Much improved over the older Jazz
• Light controls and easy maneuverability. Effortless to drive in the city
• Features such as feather-touch climate control, reversing camera, touchscreen ICE, paddle shifters (CVT) & more

What you won't:

• Loud diesel engine is nowhere as refined as the Elite i20's. Doesn't like high rpms either
• 1.2L petrol has a weak bottom end. Feels lethargic <2,500 rpm
• On-road premium for diesel is Rs. 1.3 - 1.5 lakhs! That's higher than the competition
• Magic seats only on the top variant (earlier Jazz had them on all trim levels)
• CVT unavailable with the VX trim! No fully loaded Automatic
• Skinny 175 mm tyres. All competitors offer thicker rubber (Elite i20 = 195 mm)
• Missing goodies (steering reach adjustment, keyless entry & go, rear air-con vents, driver armrest & proper dead pedal)

Link to Official Review (Honda Jazz : Official Review)

Ford Figo

What you'll like:

• Aston Martin-esque face looks very stylish!
• Value for money positioning. Priced lower than the Swift
• Powerful & efficient 1.5L diesel engine. Good driveability too
• Compliant ride quality. Suspension is tuned for comfort
• Airbags across the range. Titanium+ variant gets 6 airbags!
• Well-packaged cabin offers good legroom, lots of features and a chilling air-con
• Dual-clutch Automatic with a bigger 1.5L petrol, ESP, traction control & hill start assist

What you won't:

• Commuter 1.2L petrol is unimpressive. A mediocre engine
• Ordinary handling and lighter build quality are a departure from the usual Ford characteristics
• Cabin width makes the Figo suited to 4 adults, not 5
• 14" rims look too puny. Tyres could be wider, especially for the fast diesel
• Rear headroom is limited. Headliner brushes the heads of taller passengers
• Automatic unavailable in the fully-loaded trim
• At highway speeds, downshifts aren't as immediate as you'd expect from a dual-clutch automatic

Link to Official Review (Ford Figo : Official Review)

Volkswagen Polo

What you'll like:

• A well-built solid European hatchback
• 1.5L diesel & 1.2L TSI petrol engines are very competent
• Clean and contemporary styling. Absolutely no quirkiness
• Mature suspension offers a balanced ride & handling package
• Dual airbags even in the base variants!
• Accommodating 280 liter boot

What you won't:

• Base 3-cylinder 1.2L petrol engine is unimpressive
• Mediocre rear bench legroom and a large floor hump
• Missing essentials (driver armrest of the Vento, 60:40 splitting rear seat, seatback pockets)
• VW's sub-par dealership & service experiences

Link to Official Review (Volkswagen Polo : Test Drive & Review)

Tata Bolt

What you'll like:

• Build quality, fit and finish are on par with competitors. Tata has made significant improvements here
• Spacious well-designed interiors. A rare hatchback that can seat 5 adults without a fuss
• Competent 1.2L turbo-petrol & 1.3L diesel. Both offer good driveability
• Balanced suspension offers safe & neutral handling. Nice EPS too
• Light controls & agreeable ergonomics. Drives like no Tata hatchback has before
• Superb 8-speaker Harman Kardon entertainment system with navigation & video playback
• Features: 3-driving modes (Eco, Sport, City), projector headlamps, 5" touchscreen, voice commands etc.

What you won't:

• Neither engine offers strong outright performance. Both are commuter motors, nothing else
• Impractical 210 liter boot is among the smallest from this segment
• Pricing of some variants is too close to the Zest (Bolt XT vs Zest XT diesel = merely 31k)
• Ride quality is firmer than the Zest. Noise insulation not as tight as its sibling either
• AMT (automatic gearbox) & higher-tune 89 BHP diesel not on offer. Might follow later
• Poor in-cabin storage & missing niceties (Zest's DRLs & parking sensors, dead pedal, height adjustable seatbelts)
• Concerns over long-term reliability. Also, Tata's sub-par after-sales service is far from that of Maruti & Hyundai

Link to Official Review (Tata Bolt 1.2L Revotron : Official Review)

Toyota Liva

What you'll like:

• A neutral family hatchback with the "T" badge
• Spacious interiors can easily carry 5 adults
• Super light controls, especially steering & short-throw clutch. Effortless to drive within the city
• Well-tuned suspension. Safe handling and flat ride
• Airbags, ABS & EBD available across the range
• Toyota’s fuss-free ownership experience & excellent after-sales

What you won't:

• 1.2L petrol lacks bottom end. Diesel has merely 67 BHP on tap
• Cost-cutting glaringly obvious in many areas
• Economy-grade interior quality & unconventional dashboard
• Missing equipment (climate control, height adjustable driver's seat etc.)
• Poor insulation. Engine, suspension & road noise are prominent

Link to Official Review (Toyota Liva : Test Drive & Review)

Maruti Swift

What you'll like:

• Snazzy styling packs appeal. Interiors are well-designed too
• Competent engine range. Very refined motors
• Balanced ride and handling. Superbly tuned suspension
• Terrific fuel efficiency, especially from the diesel
• Effortless to drive in the city; lots of fun on the highway
• Maruti’s excellent after-sales service & wide dealer network

What you won't:

• Small, impractical boot. Luggage capacity is severely restricted
• Mediocre brakes (lower non-ABS variants). Inadequate for emergency braking conditions
• Looks nearly identical to the outgoing generation car
• Rear seat space, though improved, still isn't "spacious"
• Pricey ZXi / ZDi variants

Link to Official Review (Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review)

Have any other rival in mind? Hit the other option and share your personal choice!

Last edited by GTO : 15th December 2015 at 15:28.
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Old 15th December 2015, 15:37   #2
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

Never been a better time to shop for a B-segment hatchback - the options are tremendous. 5 of the 8 hatchbacks listed above have been launched in the last 1.5 years itself!

To me, the benchmark remains the Elite i20. It's all-rounded, offers top-notch quality and is backed by a reliable / reputable brand. The car has a 'feel good' factor that the others can't come close to. I'm impressed with the Baleno as well, but when it comes to signing on the dotted line, I would go for the i20 1.4L Diesel Asta (O).

A lovely hatchback.

Last edited by GTO : 15th December 2015 at 15:40.
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Old 15th December 2015, 15:50   #3
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

Lot of good choices. My choice would be the Ford Figo. Extremely fast diesel, A 1.5 DCT Automatic, Segment unique safety features like 6 airbags. All at a very good price.

The mediocre manual petrol and Un-Ford like build is a bit of a downer, But none of the other cars fair too much better. So the Figo it is.
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Old 15th December 2015, 16:09   #4
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

Aha-mazing and the much needed thread. Voted for the Figo, just for that amazing diesel engine. Baleno would be a close second as it is a better car overall but the thin sheet metal and mediocre engine is a concern.
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Old 15th December 2015, 18:29   #5
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

My pick would be VW Polo GT TSI. It is built strong, runs fast, makes you smile whenever you place your foot on the pedal. Though I am happy with what MS has offered, I'm still sceptical about the Baleno's build quality as it weighs less than my Wagon R 1.0!
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Old 15th December 2015, 18:29   #6
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

Voted for the Swift.

1) Elite is not VFM IMO and after my experience with Hyundai, somehow the brand and product do not interest me. Moreover, particular to the product, headroom is really poor in the back. I cannot sit in a comfortable position in the rear seat, and the upward flowing sill level does not help either.

2) Liva : Loses out due to centrally mounted instrument cluster and single wiper.

3) Jazz : Overpriced IMO. Honda after sales and service is not cheap either.

4) Bolt : Not a commercial success and has resemblance to Vista in overall profile. Was a close runner up for me.

5) Polo : Price and A.S & S. experience. Product is good though, the best built in the list.

6) Figo : Poor seats, not so competent petrol.

7) Baleno : Could have better rear seat. They were not exactly short on legroom or knee room. Better rear seat could have been easily accommodated. Apart from that, nothing against it.

Why Swift :
A package that has ride quality along with enthusiasm, this at a price range which is affordable compared to the list above.
Seats are nice, even the rear seat is not bad, though space is less.
Feels reasonably built, does most of the things well and has a good image even in used car market.
Appeals to heart and head in more than a reasonable way than others, specially the drive quality at a price point others are not able to match. Hence my vote. The VVT equipped NEEDS bottom end torque, though its refined and capable in top end. Silent cruiser and gives good FE too at legal highway speeds.

Last edited by aaggoswami : 15th December 2015 at 18:36.
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Old 15th December 2015, 21:01   #7
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

This one is interesting! For me, it isn't that crowded a race; more like a 3-way contest.

Elite i20: I own the earlier version of i20 and am mighty impressed with the quality and overall presentation of the car.

Jazz: The current gen looks pretty good but I feel Honda has shortchanged us. The car ought to have more features. And Honda build quality doesn't impress me.

Polo: The build quality is top-notch but it is a VW.

Offerings from Maruti just don't make the cut; the build isn't inspiring enough. And others are not impressive enough to be first choice.

If only I can get a Jazz/i20 with the build of a Polo. Who's listening?
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Old 15th December 2015, 21:38   #8
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

Although worst in reliable and accessible service, I still would love to pick Fiat Punto, simply for it's wonderful Hydraulic Steering, feedback and for its driving dynamics. And as far as I know, Now this is the only hatchback offers hydraulic steering.
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Old 16th December 2015, 10:42   #9
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
Voted for the Swift.

Baleno : Could have better rear seat. They were not exactly short on legroom or knee room. Better rear seat could have been easily accommodated. Apart from that, nothing against it.
Seriously? The Baleno has so much in common with the Swift, but it's bigger.

If the rear seat is the only problem, any competent upholstery guy will beef up the seat compound & upholstery for a couple of thousand bucks.

Why reject a car for a single flaw that is the easiest to fix in the after-market?
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Old 16th December 2015, 10:54   #10
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

Voted for Baleno as it offers many things which I20 Elite lacks
ABS and Airbags on all variants.
Option of automatic CVT
Good petrol motor compared to Hyundai's offering.

If Hyundai could come up with a decent auto option, it would definitely get my vote.
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Old 16th December 2015, 10:57   #11
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

I voted for Hyundai Elite i20 as there is no Active i20 available among the options. I like the build quality, fit and finish and features. Recently, I test-drove Elite/Active i20 back-to-back twice before my son bought the latter mainly because of its 190 mm ground clearance plus more features and gadgets vis-ΰ-vis the former.
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Old 16th December 2015, 11:37   #12
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

I have voted for Baleno because i believe its overall very good all rounder car for petrol/diesel.

Figo: Amazing diesel engine but petrol is not good. Also in term of after sales service its behind Maruti/Hyundai. What troubled me even more is the build quality of Figo is not something which is outstanding. I have booked Figo and have taken test drive 3 times. Side by side i went to check Baleno. During all this time build quality of Figo never out shine. I do not know how good old figo build quality was but in new figo i ended up cancel my booking and went for Baleno.

I20: Amazing interior and quality. Diesel is great and petrol is fine. However I20 does not give safety equipments on lower variants and high speed handling is question mark. After sales maintenance is also on higher side as mentioned by existing owners.

Baleno: Best thing is that both diesel and petrol are good and they will not let you down. Another positive is that safety features are available on all variants so user can choose variants based on his budget without compromise on safety. Maruti ASS is also good compared to others. Only letdown people say about Baleno is not so good quality interior. Without NCAP test its pointless to talk about sheet metal or structural integrity but i did feel that Baleno sheet metal was better than Celerio and on par with Figo (I am no expert it was just feel so i might be wrong). However overall i think Baleno is very good car from Maruti.
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Old 16th December 2015, 12:21   #13
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

I haven't been more confused than this in my life.

I am looking for a premium hatchback currently and don't know how to go about it. Every car has one good thing or the other.

Maybe the senior people can help me here?

I am looking for well-built petrol hatchback which also offers some good driving experience. Polo GT TSI is good but it is way out of my budget. I am looking for something around 7 on road.

I have voted for the Polo because of it's build quality but 1.2 petrol is not that aspiring. I test drove the Baleno, but the light weight build quality has put me off. The best bet I think is Swift, tried and tested product, along with good performance.

Please advise. Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 16th December 2015, 12:27   #14
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

Choices, Choices and Choices - Never have been a time when a buyer looking for a hatchback was spoiled by these many offerings. Most of the cars have their own strong points and some of them are blazing sales success stories, but if I have to sign the dotted line now, it will be for Punto Abarth.

Having owned a regular Punto for close to 5 years, I have no qualms about the service or other ASC aspects, and I have always been mesmerized by the ride and handling and the solid build quality of Punto. Abarth is lacking some nice to have options when compared to other choices, but for me, the power-train and the handling and the braking power makes up more than what the car misses in nice to have features.


Last edited by Gannu_1 : 16th December 2015 at 14:53. Reason: Typo.
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Old 16th December 2015, 12:39   #15
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno vs other B-segment Hatchbacks

Too many choices will lead to not selecting any - as in my case. Almost all cars have some significant drawback/limitation, which we end up saying, "Oh, this would've been perfect if only it had this". Also, with a hatch costing as close to a mini sedan, quite a few will opt for a "full" car over these I feel.

Having said, I think Liva - if they come up with a new edition with updated interiors & exteriors, improved NVH levels & optionally a slightly better engine tune, it can rock this segment for all long term (read as 5-10 years) buyers of this car.

If I can get a car with i20 like looks, Liva like reliability, Polo/old-Figo like build, Jazz like boot space, --- like driveability, --- like maintainability & --- like budget, I would be a satisfied being

(Note: --- because I have not driven all of the cars above & hence cannot define it explicitly)
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