In keeping along the lines of the recently announced Union budget where no extra taxes were levied on diesel cars, the country’s largest passenger car makers, Hyundai and Maruti Suzuki have announced plans to increase diesel car production. While this will take time to reflect on production volumes, here are the options that should be considered by anyone planning to buy a diesel hatchback within the price range of Rs. 5 lakh – 8 lakh.
Here are the top 5 contenders,
1. Maruti Suzuki Swift and Maruti Suzuki Ritz; prices start at Rs. 5.18 lakh ex-showroom Delhi
The Maruti Suzuki Swift has been selling like hot cakes ever since its launch seven years ago, and the queue for the diesel version goes out the door and around the block. And for good reason, its 1.3-litre diesel engine churns out 75PS of power and makes the car go like the clappers. Majority of the Swifts on the road that are driven with the pedal closer to the metal are diesels.
While that is all well and good, the crux of a diesel car is mileage, and the Swift diesel with its 17 – 18kmpl figure in the city, puts more cash in your wallet. Performance and economy together with its appeal is the reason for the car’s success in our market.
The diesel Swift range on offer is priced between Rs 5.5 lakh to Rs 6.76 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
The Swift’s younger sibling, the Ritz is close on its heels on the sales charts. The Ritz comes with the same 1.3-litre engine as on the Swift and it even shares the same platform. But the car is different in terms of appeal – the Swift with its sporty characteristics makes it more attractive to the youth (mostly the darker sex) while the Ritz is more practical and appeals to a more style-conscious buyer.
Performance output of the Ritz may be on par with the Swift’s but the former goes a step ahead when it comes to mileage returning 20kmpl in the city. And that’s because the Ritz has been tuned for comfort and a relaxed drive while the Swift has been tuned for performance.
Prices of the Ritz are below Swift’s at Rs. 5.18 lakh – Rs 5.73 lakh, making it a more attractive proposition for people wanting a modern economical diesel hatchback.
2. Volkswagen Polo; prices start at Rs. 5.60 lakh ex-showroom Delhi
The Volkswagen Polo is undoubtedly the best looking car of the lot. Its German build quality is excellent and the whole car feels very well put together. Quality of materials and plastics are commendable. The Polo also rides well, no matter what the speed.
But getting up to speed is its biggest problem. The three-cylinder, 1.2-litre diesel engine may generate 76PS of power but the lack of that extra cylinder means the engine feels strained and trying to extract any enthusiastic performance out of it is a futile effort.
The lack of that extra cylinder also means that the engine has to work harder. The result is a mileage of 14kmpl.
Also, the price band of Rs 5.60 lakh – Rs 7.15 lakh is quite steep considering that even the top variant lacks equipment featured by its competition for less.
3. Skoda Fabia; prices start at Rs. 5.6 lakh ex-showroom Delhi
The Skoda Fabia is a good all-round premium hatchback with upmarket and roomy interiors. The vehicle scores very well in terms of practicality, fit and finish. All in all, the car feels very premium. The Fabia also rides well, however, the drive is not very communicative.
The chink in the Fabia’s armour is its engine, which is the same as under the Polo’s hood. The 1.2-litre, three-cylinder motor produces an identical 76PS of power, however, it is no tarmac scorcher. And the lack of the fourth cylinder hampers performance as well as mileage. At 16kmpl, the Fabia diesel isn’t exactly efficient.
However, if you want a premium diesel hatchback that is practical and spacious, the Fabia is the one to go for.
Prices of the Skoda Fabia start from Rs. 5.6 lakh to Rs. 6.96 lakh ex-showroom Delhi
4. Nissan Micra; prices start at Rs. 5.85 lakh ex-showroom Delhi
The Micra is a cute little hatchback that stands out in the crowd. The lightweight Micra has nimble handling that makes it a joy to drive in and around the city. The 1.5-litre engine is from the Mahindra Verito sedan. Its intercooler has been knocked off, reducing weight at the front. The car chucks out 65PS of power and there is absolutely no turbo lag, which means acceleration is nice and linear. Overall, the Micra dCi returns around 15kmpl.
The Nissan Micra dCi is priced between Rs 5.85 lakh and Rs 6.30 lakh ex-showroom, New Delhi. However, even at that price, the diesel Micra lacks basic safety features such as anti-lock brakes (ABS) and passenger side airbag. Also, the interiors may look retro, but are otherwise dull and boring.
5. Hyundai i20; prices start at Rs. 5.80 lakh ex-showroom Delhi
The Hyundai i20 is a fantastic premium hatchback. It is a great all around performer. Its 1.4 litre diesel engine chucks out a healthy 90PS of power. Ride and handling has always been decent on the i20. Its interior fit and finish as well as materials used are more than satisfactory. The interiors are spacious and practical, it even has a big boot.
The top of the line variants of the i20 pack in loads of equipment and the car is a good value for money proposition. While the optional packs on the top of the line Asta may nudge the price towards Rs. 9 lakh some of the equipment available is quite impressive.
The Hyundai i20 with its safety package complete with six airbags and a 5 star EuroNCAP rating leaves all its competitors looking embarrassed.
The Hyundai i20 diesel is on the shelves from Rs. 5.80 lakh to Rs 8.23 lakh ex-showroom New Delhi.