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Automatic hatchbacks in India: Which one to buy?

by Abhishek Chaliha Posted on 04 Jan 2013146,785 Views10 Comments

With urban traffic getting worse by the day, an increasing number of people are switching to small cars with automatic gearboxes. We take a closer look at the options and how they stand out from each other


Maruti Suzuki A-Star VXi AT



Automatic small cars are still a niche in India. With sales being low – they account for only 4-6 per cent of sales in India – only a handful of options exist. Lately, sales have picked up owing to improved fuel efficiency, ease of driving, parking and manoeuvrability, and higher purchasing power of the buyer. 


Here is a look at all the automatic hatchbacks currently available in the market. Find out which one suits your needs the best.


1. Maruti Suzuki A-star VXi AT


The A-star’s compact dimensions and positive drive dynamics make it a near perfect urban runabout. Near perfect because Maruti Suzuki offers the A-star automatic only in the middle-of-the-line VXi trim minus the bells and whistles of a ZXi variant such as a tachometer, front fog lamps, rear defogger, rear parcel tray, remote central locking and front airbags.


It packs in ABS, power steering, power windows, integrated stereo system, the driver's seat is height adjustable and manually adjustable outside rearview mirrors (ORVMs).


The A-star VXi AT is powered by a three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine that develops 67PS of power and 90Nm of torque and is mated to a four-speed torque converter gearbox. Its ARAI mileage is 17kmpl, marginally less than the manual version. Its drive dynamics are positive though it has lost some zip. Also Read: The 5 safest hatchbacks in India under Rs 5.5 lakhs


Priced at Rs 4.58 lakh (ex-showroom New Delhi), the A-Star AT costs Rs 51,000 more than the manual VXi and top-of-the-line ZXi variant, which is priced at Rs 4.51 lakh (ex-showroom New Delhi). However, it’s still the cheapest automatic hatch in the market. Also, Maruti’s wide service network makes it a good choice for automatic car buyers in remote locations. On the flip side, dark plastics, small rear windows and cramped rear set make the interiors claustrophobic.  


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