Snapshot – Traditionally, hatchbacks sold in India feature relatively short wheelbases. Combine this with a high ground clearance and you have cars that can take on the rough and tumble of Indian roads, read potholes that will shame the moon and speed breakers that seem like small hills. Today, we take a look at 6 hatchbacks in the Indian car market that have SUV like ground clearances. Of course, these hatchbacks may never be able to beat an SUV off the road, but on city streets they’ll do just fine.
The diminutive Tata Nano, with its 180 mm ground clearance, rear wheel drive layout and a 2,230 mm wheelbase can make short work of most road imperfections. That the car is very affordable and is available in even rural and semi-urban parts of the country make it a good bet for those looking for a hardy daily drive car. The addition of the power steering, an automated manual transmission and the open-able hatch lid makes the Nano more practical than ever.
Fittingly offered with crossover-like styling, the Renault Kwid is one of the recent and most talked about hatchbacks in the Indian market. With 180mm of ground clearance, it can take on bad roads rather easily. Powering the car is an 799cc engine that makes 53hp and 72Nm.
The claimed average figure for the car is 25.17 kmpl, which could make the Kwid one of the most fuel efficient cars in the country. And anyway SUVs aren’t known for great fuel efficiency, so that’s two aspects where the Kwid stands neck to neck with SUVs.
Toyota Etios Cross
The Toyota Etios Cross is a tarted up version of the Liva hatchback, which pretends to be an SUV, replete with a copious ground clearance of 174 mm. The car also manages to look butch and can lull people into thinking that it’s a compact SUV that they’re looking at. However, the hatchback’s 2,460 mm wheelbase coupled to the tall ground clearance and stiff suspension means that it will handle speed breakers quite well. The Etios Cross comes with 1.2 liter and 1.5 liter petrol, and 1.4 liter turbo diesel engine options.
Hyundai i20 Active
A 190 mm ground clearance is simply substantial. This explains why the Hyundai i20 Active is the sales leader in its segment, adding to the already excellent sales of the i20 Elite, which is the car on which the former is based. The i20 Active’s boosted ground clearance on the back of taller, stiffer suspension means that the car overcomes the effects of the long wheelbase that it sits on – 2,570 mm to be precise. If you’re worried about scraping across monstrous speed breakers on the i20 Elite, the i20 Active is the natural go-to option for you.
Fiat Punto EVO
The Fiat Punto EVO, is quite literally the SUV of hatchbacks, with a towering 195 mm ground clearance. This Punto’s initial days in India did see the car scraping across taller speed breakers, which was enough for Fiat to go into overdrive mode and jack up the ground clearance of the car to SUV beating levels. It also helps that the Punto’s suspension is stiff enough to make best use of the boosted ground clearance, while being pliant enough to offer a good ride. All in all, Fiat has got the suspension and ground clearance balance superbly sorted on this car.
The Avventura is to the Punto, what the i20 Active is to the i20 Elite. Apart from butch looks, the Avventura also goes a step further to bump up ground clearance. The car features a mammoth 205 mm of space between its lowest point and the ground, almost making it off-road ready. In fact, the Avventura can handle mild jaunts off the road as its suspension does a good job of not bottoming out when the going gets rough. Also, the car is also built tough, with a very heavy build that adds to the feeling of indestrucability.