Team-BHP > What Car? > Hatchbacks

View Poll Results: Which petrol hot hatch will you choose?
Tata Tiago JTP 163 22.06%
Maruti Baleno RS 22 2.98%
Fiat Abarth Punto 261 35.32%
VW Polo GT TSI 274 37.08%
Other (Please specify in your post) 19 2.57%
Voters: 739. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 26th December 2018, 13:34   #1
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Default Your favourite hot hatch in India?

Your favourite hot hatch in India?-jtp-poll.png

Tata Tiago JTP

What you'll like:

• Fast, tight & chuckable. Lots of fun to drive!
• A professionally “modified” car with full warranty & support
• Looks smoking hot! Very tastefully applied design enhancements
• 1.2L turbo-petrol has character; 0 -100 in <10 seconds & a sporty exhaust too
• Superb handling, with a ride that won’t break your back
• Solid build & a good quality all-black cabin
• Feature list with 2 driving modes, 8-speaker Harman ICE, projector headlamps & more
• VFM pricing. Worth every paisa of the extra $$$ over the regular Tiago

What you won't:

• 3-cylinder petrol is neither refined nor revv-happy. Max revs of just ~5,900 rpm
• Low-end torque is strictly average. Lag can be felt in certain situations
• Limited availability in merely 14 cities. Number of dealerships is tiny
• NVH package has many holes & refinement levels are mediocre
• Driving position is too tall for a fun hatchback
• Rear headroom is tight. Also, a rare Tata hatchback that cannot seat 5 (best for 4)
• Doesn’t have some features of the new XZ+ variant (e.g. climate control, 7” touchscreen)
• Tata's after-sales experience remains a gamble. Plus, we hope this new car is niggle-free

Review Link

Maruti Baleno RS

What you'll like:

• 1.0L Boosterjet engine with more power & torque. Minimal turbo lag = good driveability
• Tastefully integrated bodykit gels well with the exterior styling
• All-round disc brakes. Confidence-inspiring braking ability
• User-friendly cabin with loads of space! Accommodating 339 liter boot too
• Comfortable ride quality matched with neutral on-road behaviour
• Kit includes dual airbags, ABS, projector headlamps + DRLs, reversing camera, Apple CarPlay, navigation and more
• Maruti's excellent after-sales service & fuss-free ownership experiences

What you won't:

• Simply overpriced! Big premium over its 1.2L sibling
• Not really a ‘hot hatch’. Neither its engine nor the handling are sporty
• Inside out, it’s almost identical to the regular Baleno. Differentiation should’ve been more
• 3-cylinder motor – although acceptable - lacks the refinement of the 4-cylinder 1.2L
• Ordinary interior quality is Swift-like. Several budget grade parts in here
• Light build. Lacks the solidity of its rivals
• Rear seat headroom & under-thigh support are limited for tall passengers

Review Link

Fiat Abarth Punto

What you'll like:

• Finally, a hot hatch for which you don't need to break the bank!
• Explosive performance from the 145 horsepower turbo-petrol engine
• Outstanding dynamics & stability. Very satisfying to drive
• Perfectly calibrated & weighted hydraulic power steering
• A+ braking ability, thanks to the all-round disc brakes
• Gorgeous Italian design (minus the vinyls), now with sweet 16" Scorpion rims
• Solid build quality. Feels like a tijori on wheels

What you won't:

• Long throw, rubbery gearshift is a major turn-off. Long clutch too
• Awful cabin ergonomics. Driving position is weird!
• Limited rear bench space. Also, interior fit & finish are way behind the Germans & Koreans
• Garish body stickers & red highlights are an eyesore
• Merely 155 mm of ground clearance. We have our concerns
• Fiat's after-sales quality remains a gamble. Network has limited spread across India
• At this price, more equipment (ESP, TC, parking sensors, auto-dimming IRVM, electrically foldable ORVMs) is expected

Review Link


What you'll like:

• Enthusiastic, high-revving 1.2L TSI engine. An excellent performer
• 7-speed DSG gearbox is a flawless match to the sporty motor
• A well-built European hatchback with clean, timeless styling
• Mature suspension offers a balanced ride & handling package
• Safety kit includes electronic stability program, hill-hold feature, dual airbags and ABS
• Accommodating 280 liter boot

What you won't:

• Long-term reliability concerns over the DQ200 DSG transmission
• Cutting-edge engine & gearbox tech make it a pricey hatchback
• Exterior is indistinguishable from the regular Polo. No sporty bodykit ( la Liva TRD & Polo SR)
• Ordinary rear bench legroom. Comparable to the likes of the Maruti Ritz
• VW's substandard dealership & service experiences. Maruti / Hyundai networks are more customer-centric

Review Link

Last edited by GTO : 26th December 2018 at 14:14.
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Old 26th December 2018, 14:08   #2
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Hatchbacks Section. Thanks for sharing!

My top choice would be the Abarth Punto. It's a true enthusiasts machine, the likes of which are rarely seen in the market. Still good-looking, f-a-s-t with performance to match cars thrice as expensive, a mature suspension, solid brakes and a beautiful steering wheel. The Abarth is to the B2 segment what the Octavia vRS is to the D1 segment. Phenomenal machines that happily punch above their weight.

Second choice would be the Tiago JTP which is a whole lot of fun at a more accessible price point. Viddy & Samurai's review has captured the true ethos of that car.

Choosing between these two really depends on what your budget is. Both are fantastic at their respective prices.

Last edited by GTO : 26th December 2018 at 14:11.
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Old 26th December 2018, 14:42   #3
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

I chose Abarth Punto for the same reasons mentioned by GTO above and I am happy that Fiat did not create their hot hatch with an 'Indian tax scale', but I am not liking the stickers on it. For me a hot hatch should be a MT, hence GT TSi is ruled out. Baleno RS 'looks' sad to me rather than hot. Tiago JTP seems to be a good bet, and if Abarth was absent in the poll, I would have selected the Tiago JTP.
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Old 26th December 2018, 14:46   #4
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

Although the lines of a hatchback in India and what they are considered in relative size across the World remains - to put mildly - 'murky'; I would stick my head out to say Mini Cooper S JCW is probably the hottest railing around on Indian roads. The GTi makes a solid case for itself, and added to that, the current crop of Mini is probably the most un-Mini it has been in its history. I would have voted for the JCW with 208 horses had it still been available, but the Cooper S with 192 under a taught and passively aggressive styling makes the car an endearing enigma in our shores. Why enigma? It is too expensive to be taken seriously. Whoever said "Size doesn't matter", should be given a HBR case study on the Mini in India. It's biggest asset (form and stance) unfortunately has become it's biggest nemesis in India.

Amongst the listed options, I would be stuck between a rock and a hard place. The heart does call out (mating calls) to the Abarth, but for Fiat's lethargic and unequivocally abysmal service strategy, the stupendous car is getting relegated to the humdrum of mediocrity. The Tiago JTP seems to have breathed a fresh leash of life to the prayers we so vehemently indulge before going to sleep as enthusiasts. It's a shame, that such a wonderful thread topic currently gets only 4 notable inclusions Tells a lot about what is wrong with our industry!
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Old 26th December 2018, 15:03   #5
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

Voted for Fiat Abarth Punto

What a car! I got a chance to drive a 8000 KM ran Abarth and still thinking about it put a grin on my face.

Sad that Figo S TDCi (due to Diesel or out of production) / Freestyle TDCi is not a part of this poll . Hope the upcoming New Figo is in the same pedigree along with that 195 wide tyres.

If not Abarth, Figo S TDCi or even Freestyle TDCi would have been my choice.

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Old 26th December 2018, 15:08   #6
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

Wondering why the Figo Sports missed out!! Wasn't it the fastest in one of the shootouts?

From the current list, my vote would go to the Polo GT TSi. I had this car for 1 whole week and man, was it fun.
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Old 26th December 2018, 15:23   #7
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

Vote goes to Punto, hands down, a winner all the way. But when it comes to ownership ease, I think Tiago JTP makes sense for it has a relatively better service network.

Thanks for starting the poll because I feel the JTP could have been on COTY list. Guess it did not qualify because of brand Tiago it comes under. Nonetheless, I think the engineering has got significant differentiation. On a similar note Abarth Punto also did qualify for COTY 2015. Polls like this may give well deserved recognition to such cars, that otherwise go unnoticed.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 26th December 2018 at 15:45. Reason: Grammar mistake
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Old 26th December 2018, 15:51   #8
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

This poll takes me to my test drive days before settling for TSI for purchase then and here too.

Now when I was in the market for a hot hatch an year ago, VFM, back seat comfort and usual FE etc logic weren't the deciding factors; sheer fun, stability on curves, drag race winner and reasonable post sales experience were.

Baleno RS - wasn't stable on corners at high speed, felt light weight, too many gear changes - wish it had the 4th pot and the interiors were neither decent nor wild to my liking.

Abarth Punto - the pre-sales experince was horrible. The dealer never sent the car for test drive for a month while I just waited through the weeks. I knew it would be worth it but there was just no interest by the dealer. Finally I went to the dealer 60kms away and test drove the Abarth Avventura. Mind blown as expected but there was a lot of uncertainty around post sales support for the Abarth. Never-the-less, it was still in contention with DSG yet to be test driven. Similarly poor pre-sales experience at Ford made me exclude Figo S although it was 2L cheaper than TSI

TSI- Surprisingly amazing pre-sales experience, opposite of all that I had heard of. Test drive and pricing was confirmed in a single visit. But all that aside the stability in corners at high speed and slick DSG experience just overshadowed Abarth's crazy experience. In S mode TSI would be right up there with Abarth and then TSi had the comfort of automatic as well. Moreover the suave interiors and reasonable post sales support (although not as readily available as Maruti's) tilted the scale heavily in DSG's favor. Salesman's tricks I would say, a very tempting deal was offered and deal closed in second visit. Well, there's this fear of DSG issues some time in future if it all, but all those worries go dig a hole far back in the back seat when the S mode power is in full flow.
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Old 26th December 2018, 16:08   #9
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

Voted for the Tiago JTP

# Meaningful & tangible updates over the regular variant.
# Looks smashing and apt for the hot hatch tag.
# Compact in size and hence more chuckable.
# Value for money - Lowest cost per BHP
# Fits in my budget.

My second choice would have been Freestyle/Figo S TDCi

Last edited by Karthik Chandra : 26th December 2018 at 16:09.
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Old 26th December 2018, 16:08   #10
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

I have voted for the unpopular choice here- The Baleno RS. I voted for the very same car in a similar poll earlier- (Fast Hatches: Baleno RS vs Polo GT TSI vs Figo 1.5 vs Abarth Punto)

Why do you ask?

1. Fiat as a brand does not inspire confidence. Now I know there are other small volume brands like Skoda, VW etc. in our market, but they do aim to stay in India and do have some roadmap regarding their future plans in India. Fiat lacks that and coupled with a thin dealer network, I would avoid their cars. Thus, the Abarth gets ruled out here.

2. I wouldn't touch a DQ200 equipped car with a barge pole. Yes, do offer 5+2 year warranty now, but that isn't enough for me to put my money down on the TSi or for that matter any DQ200 equipped car. I do have a slight bias for the Germans and they way cars behave on road. Their is a certain sense of maturity to them which the Japanese lack. But still, the GT TSi gets ruled out.

Now it's a tough one between the Tiago JTP and the Baleno RS. Both of them have similar performance give and take. The Tiago JTP has the following advantages over the RS-

1. Better handling.
2. Better build quality.

The RS has the following advantages over the JTP-

1. A segment above the JTP.
2. More and better features on offer.

While I do accept that the JTP might be a better hot hatch than the RS, there is no denying that the RS the better car of the two. Budget no bar, I for one would go for the better car here, which is the Baleno RS (and then buy the Octavia VRS a few years down the line ).

Now, if this was a no holds barred poll,i.e., if it included both the diesel and the petrol hatches, I would have selected the Polo GT TDi followed by the Figo TDCi. I would go for either of the two diesel hatches over the Baleno RS.

Last edited by AYP : 26th December 2018 at 16:11.
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Old 26th December 2018, 16:29   #11
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

Does it make sense to include Ford Aspire 1.5 AT in the poll? It is not hatchback but dimensionally it is as compact as the Polo or a Baleno (under 4 meter). In terms of outright performance, I am sure it will lag behind only the Abarth. Other than the Polo GT, this is the only car which comes with the electronics stability aids.

Last edited by Guna : 26th December 2018 at 16:31.
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Old 26th December 2018, 16:40   #12
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

Just Voted for the Abarth Punto majorly for the following reasons;

1) Manual Gearbox
2) Hydraulic Steering
3) Excellent Dynamics & Stability
4) Fantastic Braking
5) Accesible Pricing

Originally Posted by Guna View Post
Does it make sense to include Ford Aspire 1.5 AT in the poll?
No ! 1.5 Diesel is still enthusiastic, but the 1.5 Petrol + A/T is just AVERAGE !

Last edited by karan561 : 26th December 2018 at 16:48.
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Old 26th December 2018, 17:07   #13
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

Voted for the other as I was surprised not to see the Figo diesel in the poll. Very fast hatch in plain jane clothes, IMHO not a great handler like the mk 5 Figo but can still keep up with most of the mentioned adverseries in its current avatar as far as handling abilities are concerned.
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Old 26th December 2018, 17:11   #14
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

My favourite hot hatch in India has to be my very own VW GTI . This car has to be experienced to really get a feel of how hot a hatch can be!

Since this car is no longer on sale, my vote goes to the next best thing, the Polo GT TSI.
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Old 26th December 2018, 17:28   #15
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Default Re: Your favourite hot hatch in India?

I voted for the baleno RS. After I bought it last year , the car has surprised me in more ways than one. Imho, the main problem with the car is the pricing. It's performance is inevitably compared with the price-value ratio in mind.
That aside, driving the car has been a smooth experience. The car is nimble and powerful enough to shoot ahead at traffic signals in the city and very very good on highways. I've taken it on the Mumbai pune route about 5 times and the way it effortlessly handles overtaking manoeuvres or the hill section is impressive. Riding at triple digit Speeds, the car seems reasonably stable and grounded, although as a policy I never drive beyond 120kmph. And the space (leg room) inside surprises most of the first-time baleno riders.
Net net, with a better pricing formula , this car would probably have been better accepted by the enthusiast community.
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