India’s fastest affordable diesel hatchback – We have a new champion

Think the Fiat Punto Abarth is too pricey? Fret not. India now has a car that’s priced nearly half as that of the Punto Abarth, and one that’s just about 1 second slower to 100 Kph from standstill.  Prepared to be surprised.

Drum roll. The new Ford Figo Diesel is the fastest affordable hatchback in the country. 


Ford Figo Diesel

Yes, the car manages to go from 0 to 100 Kph in just 9.72 seconds, which is very, very impressive for a car that starts at just 5.3 lakh rupees. That makes the car faster than the Polo GT TDI, the Elite i20 and the Baleno. But how does the Figo manage to do this. The answer lies in two things.

1. Power and torque. 2. Weight, or rather the lack of it. The new Ford hatchback features a 1.5 liter TDCI turbo diesel engine with 98.6 Bhp and 215 Nm on tap. The 5 speed manual gearbox is well matched, enough to give the car thrust from idle all the way up to the engine’s 5,000 rpm redline.

Coming to the kerb weight, the Figo Diesel weighs just 1,048 kilograms. The power-to-weight ratio, at 94 Bhp/ton is the best in its class. Now, that explains why the Figo can run like a bat out of hell. It also helps that the car’s a decent handler. Enthusiasts take note.

Now, how does the competition fare?

Volkswagen Polo GT TDI

Volkswagen Polo GT TDI Featured

The Volkswagen Polo, which is priced at 8.4 lakh rupees, does the 0-100 Kph sprint in 10.03 seconds. The car uses a 1.5 liter TDI turbo diesel engine (103 Bhp-250 Nm). A 5 speed manual gearbox is standard. The VW hatch also offers Airbags and ABS for that kind of money. The Figo Diesel does too, but you’ve got to fork out about 6.7 lakh rupees. Still a bargain? You bet.

Hyundai Elite i20

Hyundai Elite i20 rear

The Elite i20, simply put is the most premium hatchback that money can buy in the sub-10 lakh rupee segment. The 1.4 liter CRDI turbo diesel motor (89 Bho-220 Nm) is a peach, and torque is available with minimal turbo lag. In fact, this motor is the smoothest of the lot, and propels the i20 Elite from 0-100 Kph in just 11.94 seconds. For the value conscious, the price is a dampener though. You have to shell out about 8.11 lakh rupees for the top-end Asta diesel variant with ABS and Airbags.

Volkswagen Polo 1.5 TDI

Volkswagen Polo in Red 1

The Polo is also available in the non-GT state of tune. The regular Polo TDI’s 1.5 liter diesel engine puts out 89 Bhp-230 Nm, enough to give the car some quick acceleration, but nothing compared to what the Figo offers. The car sprints from 0-100 Kph in 12.34 seconds. The variant (Comfortline) with ABS and Airbags costs about 7.31 lakh rupees.

Maruti Baleno

Maruti Suzuki Baleno 1

The newest hatchback in town is the least powerful in this list. Yet, it manages to post very respectable acceleration numbers indeed. The Baleno, powered by a 1.3 liter fiat Multijet turbo diesel engine (75 Bhp-190 Nm), manages to scurry from 0-100 Kph in 12.93 seconds. ABS and Airbags are standard even on the base diesel variant, which starts at 6.16 lakh rupees.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno 5

Much larger than the Figo, the Baleno is the option to pick if you want space, mileage safety and performance, in a single package. So, what works for the Baleno. Weight. Like the Figo, the Baleno is a very light car. In fact, the car’s kerb weight, at 960 Kg, makes it 75 Kg lighter than the Swift Diesel. That’s the trump card that also allows the Baleno to return a segment best mileage of 27.39 Kmpl.

Acceleration figures courtesy Motorbeam

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