Big and tough premium hatchbacks for bad roads

If you are in the market looking for a premium hatchback that can tackle giant speed breakers and rough roads, these are the options for you. These hatchbacks have the most ground clearance in their segment and adequate power to see you through. Read updated story: Hatchbacks for rough roads (Dec 19, 2012)

Given the poor road infrastructure in most parts of India, especially in sub urban and rural areas, ground clearance is an important decision for buyers who have to tackle the bad roads. If the car has high ground clearance and a compliant suspension setup, it is more confidence inspiring to drive through poor roads.

Here, CarToq picks those premium hatchbacks with adequate ground clearance of over 170 mm, sturdy suspension setup and decent performance with engine torque above 100 Nm. The other criteria was wheel-rim size of over 14 inches. Also read: Best cars for highway driving

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Photo: Punto is one of the best hatchbacks for rough roads

Fiat Grande Punto

The Punto has the highest ground clearance of 185 mm (for 1.4 petrol and 1.3 diesel models) making it best suited for bad roads. Besides the sturdy build quality, the optimal suspension setup tackles bad roads and giant speed breakers without hitting the car’s underbelly.

The Punto is offered in four engines but here, we take the engines with torque more than 100 Nm and so we ignore the base 1.2-litre petrol motor. The other three include 88 Bhp, 1.4-litre petrol motor, 75 Bhp, 1.3-litre diesel motor and the 90 Bhp 1.3-litre diesel motor. The Punto petrol returns a claimed mileage of 14.6 Kmpl while the Punto diesel returns a claimed mileage of 20.4 Kmpl. The Punto is priced in the range of Rs. 5.59 lakh – Rs. 7.36 lakh.

Photo: The Swift has decent ground clearance and a sturdy suspension

Maruti Suzuki Swift

The Swift has a ground clearance of 170 mm and thanks to its stiff suspension, it rarely bottoms out. The responsive steering aids in fast cornering and inspires confidence even when pushed to its limits. No wonder, the Swift attracts buyers from all corners, be it urban or rural.

The Swift is offered in both petrol and diesel. The Swift petrol is powered by a 86 Bhp, 1.2-litre motor that returns a claimed mileage of 18.6 Kmpl while the Swift diesel is powered by a 75 Bhp, 1.3-litre motor that returns a claimed mileage of 23. 4 Kmpl. Both the engines are known for their refinement and consistent fuel economy. The Swift is priced in the range of Rs. 4.45 lakh – Rs. 6.76 lakh.

Photo: The Toyota Liva has good ground clearance and plenty of torque


Toyota Liva

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The Liva is a practical hatchback and has 170 mm ground clearance to tackle those large speed breakers and rough road patches quite easily. The Liva suspension setup is a well sorted so as to offer good ride when driven through bad roads. Body roll in the Liva is quite evident when it is pushed to its limit unlike the Punto and the Swift which are solid handlers.

The Liva petrol is powered by a 79 Bhp, 1.2-litre motor which has a claimed mileage of 18.31 Kmpl while the Liva diesel is powered by a 67 Bhp, 1.4-litre motor with a claimed mileage of 23.6 Kmpl.  The Liva petrol lacks the peppiness while the Liva diesel is drivable in both city and highway speeds. The mileage of Liva diesel is something that running cost conscious buyers would like. The Liva is priced in the range of Rs. 4 lakh – Rs. 6.15 lakh.

Photo: The Ritz has a sturdy suspension and good ground clearance

Maruti Suzuki Ritz

The Ritz is as sturdy as the Swift and also comes with 170 mm ground clearance. The suspension setup in Ritz is on the stiffer side and hence in low speed it’s a bit harsh but as the speed increases, it feels well sorted out. The Ritz exhibits some vertical movement due to its tall body design but has great straight line stability.

The Ritz petrol is powered by a 84 Bhp, 1.2-litre motor that returns a claimed mileage of 17.7 Kmpl while the Ritz diesel is powered by a 74 Bhp, 1.3-litre motor that returns a claimed mileage of 21.1 Kmpl.  The Ritz is priced in the range of Rs. 4.16 lakh – Rs. 5.76 lakh. Also read: Best cars for women drivers

While these cars were picked by the specifications they offer, real-world use may have proved otherwise. We invite you, our CarToq community, to tell us, which premium hatches you think fit the description of “Big and Tough”. Please let us know.