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Hot hatchbacks. Every now and then we get a car that is just that wee bit faster and wee bit better to drive than the other run of the mill hatchbacks around, but still looks pretty much like the others. These so called “hot” hatchbacks are not just sticker jobs – these are cars that actually do have a bit more power to offer.

So no stickered Maruti Swift RS or “Sports Editions” here. These cars actually mean business. Here’s looking at the 2013 list of hot  hatchbacks in India. Also read: Can hot hatchbacks in India make a comeback?

Volkswagen Polo GT TSI

The Volkswagen Polo  GT TSi should easily qualify as the best hot hatchback in India at the moment, because it is has all the necessary hardware to do the job. It is powered by a 1.2 litre turbocharged petrol engine that puts out 103 bhp of power at 5000 rpm and 175 Nm of torque at 1500-4000 rpm. The TSI engine is a four-cylinder compared to the three-cylinder petrol the regular 1.2 litre petrol Polo comes with. The car comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that makes it a breeze to drive, but does short-change the enthusiast because of the lack of paddle shifters. Still, as far as power-to-weight ratio and instant pick up go, this car is hard to beat, and easily qualifies as  the best hot hatchback available in India today. Sticker price? Rs. 8 lakh ex-showroom. That’s a bit steep. Also read: Should you buy the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI?

Toyota Liva Sportivo 1.5

While the Volkswagen Polo may appeal to those looking for a classy hot hatchback, here’s the raw variety. The Toyota Etios Liva Sportivo may not be a great looker, but Toyota has made it quite a hot hatch to contend with by simply plonking in the Toyota Etios’s 1.5 litre petrol engine. This car churns out 90 bhp of power and 132 Nm of torque from its 1.5 litre petrol engine. Although it does not seem like much, the low-end torque available makes this car quite sporty to drive especially in the city because of the instant pick-up from low revs. It is priced at Rs. 6.13 lakh, but doesn’t really give you too many frills, although it has safety features. Also read: Toyota launches refreshed Etios Liva

Fiat Punto 90 HP Sport

Fiat has just revamped the Fiat Punto 90 HP Sport with some new decals and a black roof. The car now looks the part of a hot hatchback. This car comes with the 1.3 litre multijet diesel engine that puts out 93 PS (92 bhp) of power and 209 Nm of torque with a five-speed manual transmission. It is fully loaded with stitched leather upholstery, alloys etc. The car feels luxurious and also performs really well. It is well-known for its road manners and handling. The car is priced at Rs. 7.6 lakh ex-showroom – a bit pricey, but considering it’s a diesel, it’s still good value. Also read: Fiat Punto 90HP vs Tata Vista D90 comparison

Tata Vista D90

The Tata Vista D90 is the cheaper cousin of the Fiat Punto 90. The Tata Vista D90 shares the same engine with the Fiat Punto, but is slightly differently tuned. Tata has done a good job with the chassis dynamics and the handling of the car. It has also loaded it with features including a touch-screen infotainment system with GPS navigation. The car drives well, but does suffer from some image issues with its styling. It’s priced quite attractively at Rs. 6.83 lakh for the fully-loaded variant. Also read: Tata Vista D90 road test and review

Hyundai i20 Sportz AT 1.4

The Hyundai i20 Sportz 1.4 automatic makes it to this list only because of its engine specs. The 1.4 litre petrol engine in the i20 puts out 100 bhp of power and 136 Nm of torque, which looks quite good on paper. However, the 4-speed automatic transmission that this car comes with is a let down to its potential. Still, if you want a convenient automatic that packs a punch for those short traffic-light drag races, this car just about makes the cut. However, don’t be surprised if you do get overtaken by cars with far lower power specs. Also read: Performance modifications for your car under Rs. 50,000

Posted in ComparisonNews and Views