Are muscular hatches like the Volkswagen Cross Polo and Fiat Punto Adventure a good idea? Well, these two carmakers Volkswagen and Fiat think that such muscular hatchbacks with SUV pretentions will work.
Let’s take a look at what these two hatchbacks are really about. The Volkswagen Cross Polo has been caught testing around the country and may launch in a few months, while Fiat is reportedly planning to launch the Fiat Punto Adventure later this year. Both these vehicles play on consumer psyche – given that there’s a latent demand in the market for SUVs. Also read: Fiat planning on launch Punto Adventure this year
But will these catch on? The Fiat Palio Adventure (a muscular station-wagon) and the Skoda Fabia Scout (a muscular hatchback), both vehicles launched on similar lines, flopped. So what makes Volkswagen think the Cross Polo will succeed with customers?
Ground clearance is the key
The Volkswagen Cross Polo in India, according to various reports available, will likely have at least 15 mm more ground clearance than the current Polo hatchback, which stands at 168 mm. A ground clearance of 183 mm would be more than sufficient. Reports also state that it would likely have a four-cylinder 1.5 litre diesel engine that Volkswagen is developing for India – putting out about 100 bhp of power, making it quite competent and qualifying as a hot-hatchback, just like its sibling the recently launched Polo GT with the turbo-petrol 1.2 litre engine. Also read: Fiat to launch Punto Abarth this year
The Fiat Punto already has a ground clearance of 185 mm (195 mm in the base variant) and that already makes it competent as an adventure vehicle. Adding black cladding to the lower portion of the vehicle, just like the Volkswagen Cross Polo will protect it against nicks and scratches from stones and undergrowth when one does venture off the beaten path.
Image source: Leoandradedesign
Butch image will help
However, both vehicles will continue to be front-wheel drives, just like regular hatchbacks and will be no different on space utility as the basic body shell will remain the same. So don’t expect any off-road ability or extra space in them. What would work though is the slightly mean appearance the extra cladding, added height and roof rails would add to the vehicles. But the question is, with these vehicles likely to be at least Rs. 1.5 lakh more than the top-end variants of their regular hatchback siblings, would there be enough customers? Also given the fact that options built as “compact SUVs” such as the Ford EcoSport and Renault Duster would also be in a similar price band – will customers still opt for such muscular hatches? Also read:Should you buy the Volkswagen Polo hot hatch priced at Rs. 7.99 lakh?
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