2018’s big hatchback car fights: Maruti Alto vs Hyundai Santro, to Swift vs Tata X451

2018 will witness frenetic action in the hatchback segments. Market leaders Maruti  and Hyundai will be put to test yet again, with the 2017 winners coming under threat from multiple new cars. Here’s a quick look at the winning hatchbacks of 2017, and what these cars will to face as new competition this year.

Maruti Alto – Hyundai Santro


Maruti Alto has been India’s best selling car for years although the hatchback got a big scare in 2017 from the Dzire compact sedan – another Maruti car. The Alto 800 and K10 models together sold more than 2.5 lakh units in 2017, and Maruti will be keen to repeat this success in 2018. Affordability, reliability and great fuel efficiency are the three main reasons for the Alto brand’s success in the Indian market – strengths that the Altos retain to this day. In 2018, there will be headwinds though.

One such headwind will be the all-new Hyundai Santro, which is expected to make its debut in days from now, at the 2018 Indian Auto Expo. The Santro is expected to be directly pitted against the Alto range. Like the Alto, the new Santro is likely to be offered with petrol and CNG options. Hyundai will even match with Alto K10’s AMT with its own iteration of the automated manual transmission on the Santro. The new Santro will be a tall-boy, just like its predecessor. It’s likely to get contemporary styling, trendy interiors and an interesting set of features.

Hyundai Grand i10 – Maruti Swift

The Hyundai Grand i10 had an excellent 2017, what with sales growing by 14 % from 2016. The car gave stiff competition to the 2nd generation Swift, even outselling it in some months. The Grand i10’s spacious interiors, premium features, absorbent suspension and availability of an automatic petrol variant have allowed the car to put up such a fight against the crowd favourite – the Maruti Swift. 2018 could see the Grand i10 facing massive competition from the all-new Swift, whose launch is days away.

Bookings for the all-new, 2018 Swift are already on and the price announcement will happen at the 2018 Auto Expo in early February, when the car will be officially launched in the Indian market. The all-new Swift has a lot of new features that could knock the wind out of the Grand i10. Unlike the Grand i10, the Swift will be offered with automatic variants on both the petrol and diesel engines. The car also looks much fresher than the Hyundai, offers better connectivity features and is also more spacious than the outgoing version.

Maruti Baleno – Tata X451

Maruti sold a little more than 1.75 lakh units of the Baleno premium hatchback in India, and this car is the automaker’s fastest selling hatchback, clocking 3 lakh units in less than 2 years of launch. The Baleno’s massive success has to do with the fact that it has something for everyone. It’s Maruti’s most spacious hatchback – attractive family car buyers in droves. It’s very fuel efficient and even has a smooth petrol-CVT option. And for those who want performance, there’s the Baleno RS to pick. 2018 will see Tata motors launching a Baleno rival.

Render of X451

Codenamed the X451, Tata’s new premium hatchback will be revealed at the Auto Expo. It’s expected to be a ravishing looking car, packing in styling cues from the automaker’s brand new Impact 2.0 design philosophy. The X451 will borrow its turbocharged petrol and diesel engines from the smaller, Tiago hatchback, but with bumped up power and torque outputs. The car is expected to be a segment leader in terms of features offered, and could undercut the Maruti Baleno in terms of pricing. It could the Baleno’s strongest challenger yet!

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