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Old 12th March 2010, 20:04   #1
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Default Hot Hatches - Suggest Improvements - Let Manufacturers listen!

Hi Bhpians,

We all know now that most of the manufacturers have admitted/realised the fact that if they are not into the small car segment (which constitutes around 70% sales in India), then they are not quite in the business. Clear evidence being shown with the entry of VW, Ford etc.

We have seen what competition has done to the mobile networks in India. That according to me is the place where customers are really the king today! The call charges have come down, each day service providers come up with offers only to be shadowed by an offer from another service provider. Lets see if this happens in the (most competent) small car/hatchback segment in India.

We all know the features and the positive sides of most of these cars so now lets concentrate on what needs to be improved upon.

So here to start with, we need to be heard. And Iam sure team-bhp is the platform for it. Lets start by pointing out anomalies and suggesting improvements in the hot hatches in town :-


Here are some of my suggestions:-
PS: I have spent some time with the Swift and test driven the i20, Punto, Figo and Vista.

/************************************************** ********************/
1) Maruti Suzuki Swift

- SUSPENSION
Suspension has to be improved (and brought at par with Vista/Figo/Punto). Handling is great but then not all drivers aim at maneuvering curves at 100+kmph. End of the day what we need is a good suspension which holds 'soft' enough for a long journey for the rear seat passengers. Maruti can take note from Vista/Figo/Punto at that. It’s finding the right balance between handling and comfort.

- BUILD QUALITY
Why does swift rattle? Clear cut answer is that there are things which are not held tightly enough or 'padded' well enough in a Swift. For example the Dashboard, the door pads etc. (The doors when rolled down, do create noises while closing, because theres not enough padding inside.) This is not a huge impossible task which Maruti cant do. Some effort into and it can be easily cleared out. We know design wise (or chassis wise) Swift is a super car but it cant let down in quality department like this.

- INTERIORS
The world has moved quite a bit from the Esteem/Baleno days. Maruti has to realise that. Even an entry level i10 has thunderous interiors which at some point Maruti has to understand and do the 'biege' for Swift (and Dzire).

What is Maruti charging for? Poor interiors, poor build quality ? or bluntly asking for a premium for their ‘popularity’ and service n/w ? Now that Figo Diesel base model is placed below Swift LDi, Maruti HAS TO either decrease price OR make these improvements.

- SPACE
Though it looks big from outside, the interiors are too cramped. Theres something wrong with the design. Figo is 1680mm and Swift is 1690mm, quite unbelievable how maruti made a mess of the interior space.

/************************************************** ********************/

2) Hyundai i20
- HIGHLY PRICED DIESEL
Car might be a superhatch when it comes to build quality and interiors but diesel is too highly priced.
- POWER'LESS' PETROL
This is definitely a concern. Had the car been a good 100kgs lighter, things would have been far far better. For a small family though, i20 Petrol can be a good bet, but then it should again be priced inside 5 lacs. (Remember NHC 1.3 was just 77bhp and Hyundai i20 Petrol is 80bhp, though much heavier than NHC)

/************************************************** ********************/

3) Fiat Punto
- SERVICE NETWORK
Fiat is beginning to open ‘separate’ service stations for themselves away from Tata. In Kerala we have exclusive Fiat service centers in Cochin and Trivandrum. But that’s is not enough. The first thing they should do is get off Tata. Then get serious, start more centers all over and get the confidence of the customers.

- HEAVINESS (eating away performance and mileage)
Again like i20 petrol the petrol (and even diesel) feels so insane sometimes. In diesel till the time turbo kicks in, Punto diesel is a dead ***. Swift though even without turbo is kind of still ok. In my test drive I had to slow down somewhere after cruising at 100, then I down shifted to 3rd gear, press down the pedal but car wont move. A full load Lorry starting honking from behind. Felt weird. Petrol engine though powerful due to this heaviness will all of its scope for a good mileage.

/************************************************** ********************/

4) Tata Vista
Not much to say. Tata has to go a long way to go to remove the Taxi image from publics mind. The only reason they are selling Vistas is reasonable numbers right now is because of that Fiat engine and lowest price.

/************************************************** ********************/

5) VW Polo
- POWER'LESS' PETROL (and DIESEL too Probably)
The only car in the segment to have three cylinder engines (both petrol and diesel). The performance ‘might’ not be satisfactory. Iam not sure since I haven’t test driven. We know end of the day firstly cc counts and then cylinders. So just guessing. The kind of engine we are gonna have in Polo looks quite similar to the ones in Fabia, so again, a flop story again?

- MOVE AWAY FROM SKODA
Service don’t even think of aligning with Skoda the way Fiat did with Tata. That would be a disaster.

/************************************************** ********************/

6) Ford Figo
- POWER'LESS' PETROL
Just like i20 and Punto, Ford also went in for a heavy car. Has a solid build but then these excise duty issue (as obvious) made the engine 1.2L (as in i20 and Punto). So hence the performance again is not that satisfactory for its petrol engine which is rated at 70bhp.

- RICH MAN’s BRAND IMAGE

Ford has always been a brand for the rich man. Entering into the small car segment they have to make sure that the spares are priced properly and their service centers change their attitude from “replace” parts to “repair” parts. Otherwise my personal favorite today is Ford Figo Diesel.

/************************************************** ********************/

A perfect car for me :-
Weight :- 1050kgs
Diesel Engine :- Swift Diesel (Not just the Quadrajet. I want it tuned the Swift is, and with those Bosch Injectors and stuffs)
Petrol Engine:- Suzuki K Series 1.2 85bhp
Interiors:- i20/Figo
Exteriors:- i20
Thrill:- Swift
Service:- Maruti
Braking/Handling:- Fiat
Comfort:- Vista/Figo
Service Interval:- Fabia
Price :- 4.8 onroad for base diesel and 3.9 onroad for base petrol.

Last edited by sam_sant2005 : 12th March 2010 at 20:06. Reason: layout problems
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Old 12th March 2010, 20:10   #2
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Fiat Punto:
Solve the rusting issues.
Better tuned 1.4 FIRE Engine.
DOHC 1.2 FIRE Engine.
Punto T-Jet please!

Regarding plastics issues, Fiat will never solve it.
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Old 12th March 2010, 20:18   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam_sant2005 View Post
- INTERIORS
The world has moved quite a bit from the Esteem/Baleno days. Maruti has to realise that. Even an entry level i10 has thunderous interiors which at some point Maruti has to understand and do the 'biege' for Swift (and Dzire).
Beige interior is not suitable for Indian driving condition, even if you are driving 100% AC ON. Why do we Indians think beige is hot/premium?
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Old 12th March 2010, 20:20   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Latheesh View Post
Beige interior is not suitable for Indian driving condition, even if you are driving 100% AC ON. Why do we Indians think beige is hot/premium?
Beige was a welcome change from the black/grey dashboard we have been seeing from 1984-Maruti 800 Era.

Last edited by arun1100 : 12th March 2010 at 20:24.
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Old 12th March 2010, 20:22   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Latheesh View Post
Beige interior is not suitable for Indian driving condition, even if you are driving 100% AC ON. Why do we Indians think beige is hot/premium?

Agree to you but then we have the 'feel' good factor coming in when we have the biege stuff. The dashborad needs to be light colored as well. Everything dark is everything dull. A perfect example can be the interiors of Innova. If not classy see how neat it is. And how about i20 isnt is gorgeous?

And if it gets dirty say after 3yrs, put on a seat cover but still we are left with dark doorpads and dashboards as in swift.
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Old 12th March 2010, 20:29   #6
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Cant say much since the only car I'm quite familiar with in the segment is the Swift. Agree with most of your points except that I would not want a beige interior. To me, beige looks feminine, suits pensioners and only looks appropriate in high-end luxury cars. Secondly, about the suspension, I would pick good handling over a soft suspension anyday.

What I would like to see in any of these cars is a powerfull (~120bhp) high-revving petrol engine, no compromise on features (i20 is good here), good handling (like the Punto) and build quality (like the Polo).

Also... I think you should correct the thread title. None of these cars can be called a hot hatch. They're not even luke-warm.

To be a hot hatch, I would expect a car to reach 100km/h in less than 10 seconds (ideally 8 seconds, but lets not get too greedy).
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Old 12th March 2010, 20:40   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam_sant2005 View Post

A perfect car for me :-
Weight :- 1050kgs
Diesel Engine :- Swift Diesel (Not just the Quadrajet. I want it tuned the Swift is, and with those Bosch Injectors and stuffs)/( i20 CRDI)
Petrol Engine:- Suzuki K Series 1.2 85bhp
Interiors:- i20/Figo/ Fabia
Exteriors:- i20
Thrill:- Swift
Service:- Maruti
Braking/Handling:- Fiat
Comfort:- Vista/Figo
Service Interval:- Fabia
Price :- 4.8 onroad for base diesel and 3.9 onroad for base petrol.
Give me i20 CRDI, ABS with all disc brakes, without Bluetooth, without Electric OVRM and without other frills & can manage even without rear power windows - Priced 5.5 lacs OTR

Infact, manufacturers should have Build your own car for every feature offered.

Last edited by breezydrive : 12th March 2010 at 20:43.
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Old 12th March 2010, 20:45   #8
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I would never call all "pretending hot hatches" sold in India as "HOT".

Only this will do for me.
Yes, insane, isn't it?
This is time for golden performance, until downsizing becomes to comply with the tightning CAFE regulations.
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Hot Hatches - Suggest Improvements - Let Manufacturers listen!-volkswagengolf_gti_w12_650_concept_2007_1024x768_wallpaper_04.jpg  

Hot Hatches - Suggest Improvements - Let Manufacturers listen!-volkswagengolf_gti_w12_650_concept_2007_1024x768_wallpaper_09.jpg  

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Old 12th March 2010, 20:56   #9
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Very right! Though the above pics are a bit too much for Indian versions, even the base versions sold in international are way ahead of what they sell to us!

example, just check i20 in uk market here:Hyundai | New Cars | I20 | Technical
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Old 12th March 2010, 20:58   #10
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@sidindica

That is just a one off car by VW. And it has one big problem. Too much power and not enough grip. A W12 550bhp engine in a Golf is just overkill. The traction control will just kill all the fun with such a huge engine. And without traction control, you will end up going backwards everytime you take a turn.

A Golf with a V6 engine is good enough.
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Old 12th March 2010, 21:01   #11
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Swift in the ZDi avatar and with a turbo that has a lesser failure rate. (And maybe the BS III version instead of the less punchy BS IV ) . I wouldnt say no to a larger boot.

Punto with better plastics that dont fall off. And without the step-motherly treatment FIAT's get at few TATA service centres.

A diesel version of the Chevy BEAT, anyone?

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Old 12th March 2010, 21:30   #12
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How about Punto Abarth? or Punto with Cruze interior and GTX engine?
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Old 13th March 2010, 00:54   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam_sant2005 View Post
A perfect car for me :-
Weight :- 1050kgs
Diesel Engine :- Swift Diesel (Not just the Quadrajet. I want it tuned the Swift is, and with those Bosch Injectors and stuffs)
Petrol Engine:- Suzuki K Series 1.2 85bhp
Interiors:- i20/Figo
Exteriors:- i20
Thrill:- Swift
Service:- Maruti
Braking/Handling:- Fiat
Comfort:- Vista/Figo
Service Interval:- Fabia
Price :- 4.8 onroad for base diesel and 3.9 onroad for base petrol.
Nice combo...You expect all these for just 4.8 on road . Sorry to say but my personal opinion is quality does not come cheap and on the other hand high price does not always guarantee quality. So if these features were to be in a hatch and manufactured sincerely it would cost atleast 6 - 6.5 Lakhs on road for base model. I would blindly buy this car even if its priced below 7.5 Lakhs.

Lets say your an excellent engineer, totally a Nobel prize stuff, would you work for lesser salary? No I guess.

Last edited by vnk77 : 13th March 2010 at 00:58.
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Old 13th March 2010, 01:03   #14
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Swift :
Better legroom and bigger windows at rear and slightly bigger boot.
i20 :
Improvement in ride and handling. Just needs to tune up the engine up to say 87-88 bhp.
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Old 13th March 2010, 01:14   #15
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A Super Hatch that runs on Diesel with automatic transmission.

This would be the ideal car for me to drive in India.

I am not sure why none of the manufacturers have thought about this even though we have had petrol automatic hatch backs in India for over a decade.
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