With the mighty little Volkswagen Polo discontinued, India’s hot hatch space has
weakened. There aren’t a lot of powerful options to choose from. The Abarth Punto was a capable car but never went mainstream, it was rarer to spot than a Lexus. Turbochargers are getting rare in the segment and with Hyundai set to stop offering Diesel engines on the i20, the maximum torque would now be accessible only at higher revs. But The hatchback market being desaturated isn’t enough to stop the enthusiasts from making the most of the cars they can get their hands on. Many times I spot a tastefully modded Polo and I realise Volkswagen might have made a mistake by discontinuing the segment leader instead of updating it. Nonetheless, the 1-litre TSI engine will continue living inside the newer Skoda/Volkswagen cars and so will the tuning scene of the discounted Polo.
On the other hand, the new Hyundai i20 N-line is the only hatchback which comes close to the legacy of the TSI Polo. It is an exciting offering which comes with all the features and gimmicks one can ask for. On paper, the power and torque figures of this car are better than the Polo TSI but a drag race might contradict those numbers. If the design of the i20 N-line hasn’t already grown on you, the modern-looking LED light setup including the DRLs, the sporty red accents, sharp body cuts and newer alloy wheels will make sure that you take less time to start liking this hatch than what it took people to accept the second-gen Creta’s design back in 2020. The N-line gets a lot of features that the Polo never had, like a sunroof and disc brakes on all four wheels. We haven’t had a lot of tuned N-lines yet, given the car is a fairly new launch, but we can certainly expect crazy mods done to this car as the customer base increases.
The i20 N-line is offered in a 6-speed iMT transmission, which is a clutchless manual (automated clutch) and a 7-speed DCT transmission. A hardcore enthusiast might get bogged down due to the lack of a proper manual transmission, but my argument is – ‘not having a clutch is better than not having a car! (looking at you Volkswagen)
Another fascinating turbocharged hatchback available on the market is the Tata Altroz iTurbo. It might not be the fastest hatchback in its segment, but it is a neat package which is also cheaper than the i20 N-line. The dark edition Altroz is one of the most menacing-looking hatchbacks you can buy. Tata boasts about the safety ratings of the Altroz and I don’t see a reason for them to stop doing it. Soon it will be the only hatchback offered with a Diesel engine.
If going fast isn’t your thing and if you’re someone who is looking for a reliable daily driver, the Baleno (Glanza) or the Glanza (Baleno) might interest you. These cars are efficient, feature-laden and are offered in a well-balanced choice of variants. The Swift has always been considered one of the best handling and fun-to-drive cars. It still makes it to the top-selling charts every month. I’ve seen people have grown quite fond of the red-coloured Swift since the launch of its newest generation. I’ll be more fond of Maruti Suzuki if they decide to launch the Swift Sport in India. For now, we can only pray.
From first-time car buyers to car enthusiasts who want a fun, fast ride, hatchbacks are the most accessible segment of cars. Hatchbacks are easily manoeuvrable in traffic and are efficient on the pocket. They can be your daily driver, a family car, or a project car all at once!