Spacious, easy to slot into limited parking spaces, reliable, affordable, easy to maintain and good value for money — the small hatchback segment in India continues to cater to the needs of drivers while offering wide-ranging options.
Like any other segment, the hatchback space welcomes every year a host of new models. The year 2018 is not going to be different.
Automakers are expected to offer a plethora of choices in the hatchback space. Featured here are our select top 10 models expected to drive in showrooms across India over the course of the year.
New Maruti Suzuki Swift
The year 2018 will see the arrival of a newly designed Swift hatchback in India. The new avatar of the popular model will make its debut at the upcoming Auto Expo in February and will be launched in the country shortly after that.
The all-new Swift is based on the Heartect platform, which underpins the Baleno hatchback. Under the hood, the new Swift is likely to be powered by the same 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines. Both mills are likely to be offered with the choice of manual and automatic transmission.
The new model is expected to get advanced features like a flat-bottom steering wheel with controls, a twin-pod instrument cluster and a touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Bluetooth AUX, USB and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
Tata is readying a new premium hatchback that will take on the likes of Maruti Suzuki Baleno and Hyundai Elite i20 in India.
The premium hatchback codenamed X451 is rumoured to make its debut at the upcoming Auto Expo in its near-production ready model. The X451 is expected to be the first model to be built on the company's AMP (Advanced Modular Platform).
The premium hatchback X451 is expected to get features like a chrome humanity line along with a honeycomb mesh grille at the front.
The X451 is rumoured to get a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine and a 1.5-litre diesel mill under the hood. The engines are expected to develop power in the range of 100-110bhp and will be offered either in a six-speed manual or AMT transmission options.
This new hatchback is also expected to be the model that debuts Tata's new Impact Design 2.0 at Auto Expo.
Maruti Suzuki WagonR
Maruti Suzuki's WagonR will get a new version in 2018. The style and design of the new WagonR could be in line with the new WagonR and WagonR Stingray hatchback models unveiled in 2017 at Suzuki's home market in Japan.
The WagonR in its new avatar is likely to get a grille highlighted with chrome elements, flanked by new squarish headlamps. The model in Japan features reworked front bumper and comes with a large air-dam.
Inside, the WagonR has a new beige dashboard with a centre-mounted instrument cluster and a tablet-sized touch-screen infotainment system.
Hyundai Elite i20 facelift
South Korean carmaker Hyundai has been testing the new avatar of its premium hatchback — the Elite i20 — in India for some time now. It is slated to make the its debut at Auto Expo.
The Elite i20 in its facelited avatar is likely to include major changes under the hood. The latest reports say the 2018 Hyundai Elite i20 will debut a new smaller 1.2-litre Kappa engine, mated to continuously variable transmission (CVT). The new 1.2-litre unit will replace the current 1.4-litre engine in the Elite i20. The new Elite i20 CVT is also expected to have better fuel efficiency.
The current Elite i20 is powered by 1.4-litre CRDi diesel, and 1.2-litre, and 1.4-litre petrol engines. The diesel engine churns out 89hp of power and 220Nm of torque paired with the six-speed manual transmission; the petrol mills get five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmission. In its new avatar, the 1.4-litre CRDi diesel is likely to continue as it is.
The Elite i20 facelift is likely to feature a cascading grille and redesigned taillamps along with changes in the positioning of the number plates of the model and a new set of alloy wheels.
The new Elite i20 is likely to have a new touchscreen infotainment system with voice commands, a three-spoke multi-functional steering wheel and a centre armrest, among other features.
Ford Figo facelift
The new Ford Figo is expected to be launched in the country in the second half of next year. Ford is readying more than just the facelifted version of the Figo hatchback. The new Figo will get a new front mesh grille, new front bumper, smoked headlamps, a redesigned rear bumper and a new set of alloy wheels. The changes are also likely to be extended to the cabin of the model.
Inside, the Figo facelift could get an updated layout with a new touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with other features like new upholstery and colour themes.
Under the hood, the Figo hatchback is likely to get a 1.2-litre petrol mill from the Dragon family. Figo is currently powered by 1.2-litre petrol, 1.5-litre petrol, and 1.5-litre diesel engines. The 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol motor develops 87bhp and 112Nm of torque, while the 1.5-litre petrol engine generates 110bhp and 136Nm of torque. The 1.5-litre diesel mill develops 99bhp of power and 215 Nm of torque.
Ford Figo Cross
The new Ford Figo Cross is expected to be launched in India in the first half of 2018, and the model could make its debut at the Auto Expo in February.
The Figo Cross — the crossover based on the Figo — will get a new hexagonal front grille flanked by sweptback headlamps. Its images show a sculpted front bumper with black racing stripes running across, black body claddings, black roof rails and ORVMs.
Under the hood, the new Ford Figo Cross could debut Ford's new 1.2-litre petrol engine from the Dragon series. The new Dragon petrol engine is likely to churn out 90 bhp of power, while the 1.5-litre TDCi diesel mill in the current hatchback may be continued. The transmission is said to be handled by a five-speed gearbox in both engines.
Honda Jazz facelift
Honda Jazz is also in line for a makeover in India. In its new avatar, the Jazz will get a more pronouncing grille on the front with a redesigned bumper and LED headlamps.
While the side profile of the Jazz is likely to remain untouched, the Jazz is expected to get the LED taillamps at the rear. The Jazz is likely to get all-black interior and dual-tone colour options for the interior. The feature list of the hatchback in its new avatar is expected to include new touchscreen infotainment system, reverse camera and push-button start among others.
In India, the Jazz is currently offered with a 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol engine that develops 90bhp with a torque of 110Nm at 4,800rpm and a 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel with 100bhp of power and 200Nm torque.
While these engines are likely to be continued, there have also been rumours of the 1.5-litre petrol mill of the City making it to the Jazz.
Tata Tiago Sport
Tiago Sport, the hot hatch of Tata Motors, is expected to enter the market soon. The go-faster version of the company's popular hatchback Tiago could be showcased at Auto Expo 2018 in February.
The sportier version of the Tiago is expected to borrow the 1.2-litre Revotron petrol mill from the Nexon compact SUV. The engine in the new version could be re-tuned to churn out 108.5bhp at 5,000rpm and 170Nm of torque at 2,000-4,000rpm.
The Tiago Sport will be the most affordable hot hatch in the country. It is expected to be priced between Rs 6.5 lakh and Rs 7.5 lakh.
Tata Tiago Electric
Tata Motors and its wholly-owned UK-based subsidiary Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) unveiled the Tiago EV concept at LCV2017 in September 2017.
Tata Motors is expected to showcase the model at the Auto Expo 2018 as well.
The Tiago EV utilises a liquid-cooled 85kW drive motor developing 200Nm of torque driving front wheels through a single-speed gearbox.
Hyundai new hatchback/Santro
South Korean carmaker Hyundai is putting its new compact hatchback, internally called the AH2, through rigorous testing on Indian roads. The AH2 is likely to bring back the nameplate Santro to India and the model may debut at the upcoming Auto Expo in February.
It was reported earlier that the new Santro could get two petrol engines — 1.1-litre and 1.2-litre — and be possibly priced at around Rs 4 lakh. The engines are likely to come mated to five-speed manual transmission.
With regard to the competition in the market, Hyundai's new car is likely to rival Renault Kwid, Tata Tiago and Maruti Suzuki Celerio, among others.