The premium hatchback segment is fast gaining popularity in India. More people are interested in buying a larger hatchback instead of small, entry-level hatchbacks. Hyundai recently introduced the updated Elite i20 that competes with the Maruti Baleno and Honda Jazz in the market. All three cars are quite popular in the market although there are a few other choices. Who should buy which one? Let’s find out.
Hyundai Elite i20
People who want feature rich car with good build quality
Hyundai is known for adding a long list of features in its cars. The Elite i20 is no different. It gets the longest feature list among all three and also a few unique features. The Elite i20 gets projector headlamps, dual tone body that makes it look unique. The dual tone body paint is not available with any other car in the segment. The car also gets cooled glove box, seat pockets, rear boot lamp, sliding front armrest, sunglass holder, making the cabin plush and comfortable. It is the only car to get rear AC vent in the segment.
Safety-wise, the Elite i20 leads among the three too. The top-end variant of the car comes with 6-airbags, which is highest among three. There is ABS, reverse parking camera with sensors, auto up/down window with pinch guard, auto headlamp, speed sensing auto door lock, ISOFIX seat hooks and smart pedal. The smart pedal works by disabling the accelerator pedal and applies brake only when both the pedals are simultaneously used during panic braking or similar situations.
Hyundai also offers connected Auto Link that is also a first in segment feature. Users can now connect their phone to the vehicle and check the status of the car, driving pattern, know the last location, get roadside assistance, and get service appointments.
People who want spacious interiors or a sporty experience
Honda Jazz was re-launched in India in an all-new avatar. The car is a space king with loads of rear legroom and headroom. If someone is looking for a vehicle with good space in the segment, nothing else can beat a Jazz. Even though Honda Jazz is not the biggest car on the paper, Honda’s “Man Maximum, Machine Minimum” philosophy shows how space can be extracted from a car. The Jazz gets largest boot space of 354 litres too.
Apart from that, the top end variant of the Honda Jazz gets Magic Seats. The 60:40 split rear seats can fold up or tumble down creating more space in different variations. The magic seats can make space for tall items, long or broad objects. Moreover, if the headrest from the front seats can be removed and the seat can form a lounge seat that allows the passenger to fully stretch. No other car has this feature in the segment.
Jazz is also the only car that offers paddle shifters in the segment. The Jazz petrol CVT is powered by a 1.2-litre engine that develops a maximum power of 89 Bhp and 110 Nm of peak torque. The CVT variant offers paddle shifters that really proves to be an enthusiastic feature for people who love to drive. Incidentally, the Elite i20 and the Baleno also offer CVT automatic transmission with the petrol models.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
People who want a well-rounded product with good service back-up
The Baleno is the best selling vehicle in the segment. In fact, it is the third most selling vehicle in India. The Baleno is Maruti’s first product in the segment and is a quite successful one. It is a well-rounded product and gets a fairly long list of features. The car gets dual airbags and ABS standard across the variants. The Baleno also gets both petrol and diesel engines and a CVT automatic option with the petrol variant.
On the features front, the Baleno gets projector headlamps, puddle lamps mounted under the doors, LED lamps, touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and more. However, the rear seats of the Baleno are not very spacious and comfortable. Apart from these, the Baleno gets backed up by the impeccable service network of Maruti, which really attracts the customers. The largest selling hatchback sure has its advantages in the Indian market.
Also, the Baleno is the only vehicle among all three to get a hot version. The Baleno RS comes with a 1.0-litre petrol turbocharged engine that develops a maximum of 101 Bhp – 150 Nm. It further attracts enthusiastic drivers.