With the increasing options in the market, it can become a tad difficult to choose a new car. A large percentage of buying decisions are based on one’s monthly mileage. And if that’s below a certain value — not good enough to justify the extra price one would pay for a diesel version — buyers choose the petrol powered variants. But while it’s not exactly a wrong thing to do, it’s turbocharged petrols that offer way more, in terms of power, economy, and even driving fun.
Hence we look at a couple of cars that offer the goodness of turbocharged petrol engines but don’t cost a bomb. Keeping Rs 10 lakhs as our budget, we look at the cars available (and upcoming ones):
The least expensive car with a turbocharged petrol engine is the Tata Bolt. The 1.2-liter turbocharged petrol unit (called Revotron in Tata speak) makes 89 hp and 140 Nm of maximum torque. The vehicle also gets a drive mode, which lets you choose the way the car delivers power, depending on the driving conditions/mode selected. The Bolt isn’t performance oriented as such but where it really shines is the ride quality and space inside.
Tata Zest is the Bolt but with a boot attached to it. Now, don’t get us wrong, it’s one of the decent designs out there. Power and torque figures remain unchanged, but the vehicle scores more in terms of boot space. The vehicles, both of them, are huge improvements over whatever Tata has managed to sell in the past.
Fiat Linea T-Jet
The T-Jet comes powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged petrol engine, which makes 112 hp and 207 Nm of maximum torque. Backing the relatively decent headline figures is a chassis and suspension setup that loves to be pushed. The rear seat comfort and adequately big boot add to it, while the looks just make the whole deal sweeter. The vehicle, unlike the regular version, gets disc brakes on all four wheels, which gives it commendable braking performance. The company will be adding a more powerful version of the Linea T-Jet (called T-Jet 125S) to the line-up this year.
Fiat Avventura Powered by Abarth
While launching the sublime Fiat Abarth Punto (more of which below), the company also gave its enthusiasts and fans an Avventura that comes powered by the same 1.4-liter turbocharged petrol engine. In the Avventura, it makes 140 PS and 210 Nm of maximum torque. Since the car is a functional crossover, it gets a slightly different suspension setup and increased ground clearance. That might make you believe the vehicle has a substantial amount of body roll and nose dive under braking, but Fiat has once again pulled it off, with a setup that surprises with supreme dynamics.
Fiat Abarth Punto
Easily the best avatar of Punto on sale in India (you can read about the rest here), the Abarth Punto is a class above the rest in the segment. Lowered, stiffer suspension gives it an almost impeccable balance while the 1.4-liter turbocharged petrol engine (makes 145 PS and 212 Nm here) does justice to all that indeed. And the best part is, it operates like a regular Punto when you are not making it do wheelspins.
The smallest turbocharged petrol engine on this list is not down on power. The 1-liter EcoBoost unit makes 120 PS and 170 Nm of torque. While the latter ensures its in-gear acceleration isn’t bad, the former makes the EcoSport a joy to drive around town. It doesn’t struggle on the highway, and if you can keep a check on the right foot, it can return a decent fuel economy, too. And not just by regular (naturally aspirated) petrol’s standards.
Volkswagen Polo GT TSI
It was the GT TSI that reminded the market that it needs hot hatchbacks. And while a larger engined (and more focussed) GTI is on its way, it’s still the GT TSI that creates a balance between fun and affordability. Powering the car is a turbocharged 1.2-liter engine (TSI), which makes 105 PS and 175 Nm of torque. What works well (and widens the user base) for the Polo is the 7-speed DSG transmission, which doesn’t just make it very easy to live with, but has enough to offer to the enthusiast, too, in terms of quick shift times.
Volkswagen Vento TSI
A sedan based on the same platform as the Polo was hugely unlikely to go wrong, and the Vento easily made its way to the hearts and garages of a lot of Indians. The ride and handling balance remained almost unchanged, but the Vento offered more space inside. So when the GT TSI came to the market, it must have been an easy decision for VW to offer the same TSI unit in the Vento, mated to the same gearbox. It’s more of a dark horse, the Vento TSI, but one that shines every single time you ask for performance. And there’s no shortage of space, either, unlike the car it’s based on.
The market for turbocharged cars is getting bigger. We have four more cars likely to be launched this year.
The Nexon, a sub-four-meter SUV, will go sale in late 2016/early 2017 as multiple reports suggest. Showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo, the vehicle will be positioned in the same segment as the Ford EcoSport, the Mahindra TUV300, and the upcoming Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. Apart from a rumoured 1.5-liter (developed by Tata) diesel engine, the Nexon will also get the 1.2-liter Revotron turbocharged petrol engine from the Bolt and the Zest.
Fiat Urban Cross
Based on the Fiat Avventura, the Urban Cross is a more city-oriented (and less adventure-seeking, hence the name) version. So while it continued to get the body cladding, it loses out on the boot-mounted spare wheel. Powering the car will be the same 1.4-liter turbocharged petrol unit as the other Abarths in the country. And with the presence of a tastefully done leather interior, the car should find more buyers than the product it’s based on.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS
Suzuki has a turbocharged petrol engine on sale in the Baleno abroad, and it’s headed to the Indian market this festive season. The engine, called Boosterjet, is a 1-liter unit, makes 120 PS and 170 Nm of torque, and comes mated to a manual gearbox. Showcased at the Auto Expo 2016 in concept form, what will set the production version of the Baleno RS will be the brilliant power to weight ratio, which will ideally enable it to be more fun to drive.
In collaboration with Jayem Automotives (the same people behind the Super Nano), Tata Motors is also likely to introduce an enthusiast oriented version of the Bolt. Showcased first abroad, and recently at the 2016 Auto Expo, the vehicle will get a bodykit, a reworked suspension, larger wheels, and a more powerful iteration of the 1.2-liter Revotron engine, now making 110 PS and 170 Nm of torque. The company will offer the vehicle under a new performance-oriented brand, so expect more such models in the future.
Photos of Polo GT TSI and Fiat Abarth Punto courtesy of Zigwheels.