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Hatchbacks for 2014

We take an in depth look at all the new Hatchbacks coming to India in 2014!

The staple diet for most Indian manufacturers is the hatchback. Even manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW have understood the importance of a hatchback in the Indian market and have gone ahead and introduced their cheapest A-Class and 1-series in India respectively. With the price component playing the dealmaker (or breaker) in most cases, the hatchback segment is also one of the most crowded segments in terms of the sheer number of cars that are available in a particular price segment. What we list here then, is a mixture of new cars, new brands and in certain cases, brand new technologies which will make its way into India in 2014 while conforming to India’s favorite car style: the evergreen hatchback. The cars you see here range from as little as Rs 1.25 Lakh all the way up to Rs 32.00 Lakh. Read on to find out more.

Bajaj RE 60
Expected Launch: Mid 2014
Expected Price: Under Rs 1.25-2.50 Lakh

We start off with the cheapest car that will hit the streets next year. The Bajaj RE60 will be classified as a ‘Quadricycle’ hence exempting it from several safety and emissions regulations. However, don’t be fooled by the diminutive size of the RE60 as it is very much going to be a useable, 4-seater automobile. While the RE60 will be used more as a city car, we do expect it to sell in decent numbers, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Although currently, as per regulations, the RE60 cannot be sold to individuals, expect the RE60 to replace the aging auto rickshaw by the end of the decade.

Datsun GO
Expected Launch: Early 2014
Expected Price: Rs 3.5–4.5 Lakh

The Datsun Go is one of the most anticipated cars of 2014. With prices expected to be under the Rs 4 Lakh mark for the basic cars, the Datusn Go will most certainly create waves in the cut throat Indian Automotive scene. With the 1.2 Litre petrol and the 1.5 Litre (or smaller) diesel engine from the Micra slated to do duty in the Go, expect the new Datsun to be a hoot to drive. Not only will the Go platform be used to make a hatchback but as we have already mentioned in our ‘MUVs for 2014’ story, the platform has spawned an MUV and will spawn a sub-4 meter sedan and a sub-4 meter SUV in the near future too. The Datsun GO’s funky interiors coupled with the well styled body will certainly make it a crowd favorite and a serious threat to the likes of the Suzuki Alto, Wagon R and Hyundai’s Eon and i10 family.

Volkswagen Up
Expected Launch: Mid 2014
Expected Price: Rs 4.00-6.00 Lakh

With Volkswagen having generally slowed down their pace in 2013, the upcoming year seem to be an important year for the German giant. The Volkswagen UP is one of the most significant car launches of 2014 and will be priced to take on the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R, the Hyundai i10 family and the Datsun GO. Priced significantly lower than the likes of the Polo, the UP will be based on an all new platform which will be shared by the likes of the Skoda Citigo. The Up will be powered by a 1.0 Litre engine that will produce either 60PS or 75PS depending on the state of tune Volkswagen decides to offer in the country. Also expect a small diesel engine to power the Up, details of which are still a little sketchy. Volkswagen will be pricing the Up extremely competitively as with the UP they will be going headfirst into the highly cut throat volume segment of the Indian automotive industry. We also thinkVolkswagen might equip the UP with an Automatic gearbox to take on other small automatics like the A-Star and Grand i10 head on.

Skoda Citigo
Expected Launch: Mid 2014
Expected Price: Rs 3.70-5.70 Lakh

The Skoda Citigo is the badge engineered version of the Volkswagen Up. With less spec on the interior front and a slightly less beautiful exterior, the Skoda Citigo will garner massive public response if launched at the price we estimate. The Citigo will be powered by the same 1 Litre engine and will make 60-75PS depending on how Skoda tunes the engine. Like the Volkswagen Up, Skoda’s Citigo will push Skoda into the mainstream manufacturers segment. This means Skoda will have to strengthen its dealership network and more importantly it’s after sales network if it intends to create a dent into the likes of Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata Motors. The Skoda Citigo will be priced extremely competitively at about Rs 3.50-5.50 lakhs, which will be about Rs 30 thousand less than the equivalent Volkswagen Up.

Maruti-Suzuki Cervo
Expected Launch: Early 2014
Expected Price: Rs 2.00-3.50 Lakh

The Maruti Cervo is set to be priced cheaper than the already cheap Maruti Suzuki Alto 800. The Cervo though will be more of a ‘tallboy’ hatchback as compared to the likes of the Alto800. However, expect the exact same power train, suspension and other mechanical components to be shared with other Maruti offerings. With the introduction of the Cervo, Maruti will go head on with the already faltering Tata Nano. Expect the Cervo to be powered by a 800cc engine and to come with a CNG variant within a few months of launch.

Maruti-Suzuki A-Star facelift 
Expected Launch: Early 2014
Expected Price: Rs 3.5-5.5 Lakh

Maruti will continue its product salvo early in the year with the launch of the new Maruti-Suzuki A-Star facelift. The new facelift has already debuted in China features edgy styling as compared to the older curvaceous styling that we have currently. The new A-Star will feature similar proportions overall and will have the same mechanicals as it currently does. The new A-Star will be powered by the K10 engine and will be available in both Petrol and CNG options. Apart from the redesigned front, the A-Star facelift might also get the new smaller diesel engine that Maruti-Suzuki has been working on recently. The facelift combined with a possible diesel option may propel the A-Star to greater popularity.

Maruti-Suzuki Wagon R / Stingray Diesel
Expected Launch: Early 2014
Expected Price: Rs 3.25-4.75 Lakh

The Wagon R has long been one of Maruti’s best selling models
due to its sheer versatility and driving ease. Currently, the Wagon R is available only in a Petrol or CNG option. However, Maruti will soon be plonking a diesel engine into the Wagon R, making it one of the best ‘value for money’ cars ever. In all probability, the same 1.3 DDiS engine that powers the Swift will power the Wagon R too producing in the region of 75PS of peak power. If priced correctly, expect the Wagon R’s sales figures to surge like never before possibly even overtaking the Alto to gain the number 1 spot in India.

Maruti-Suzuki Swift Facelift
Expected Launch: Early 2014
Expected Price: Rs 5.00-7.00 Lakh

The Suzuki Swift has been one of India’s most favorite cars in recent times. After it’s launch in 2005 with a 1.3 Litre petrol engine and then in 2007 with the Fiat sourced 1.3 Litre Multijet diesel, Swift was refreshed completely in 2011 with a fresh exterior and a newer better interior. The new refresh will stick to it’s current body shape while adding bits and pieces to both the exterior and interior. The biggest change, will be the integration of daytime running lights into the front bumper along with a redesigned grille and headlamp package. The tail lights too will get a redesign with the possibility of a full LED tail lamp package being integrated into the Swift. The interior too will get a nip/tuck with a better infotainment system with an inbuilt LCD screen with a navigation option. On the whole, expect the swift to get a little more expensive than it is now but only by about Rs 10-15 thousand.

Hyundai i20
Expected Launch: Late 2014
Expected Price: Rs 5.00-8.00 Lakh

The Hyundai i20 was launched in India in 2008 but has failed to move the Indian audiences the way we expected it to. Although the i20 has several class leading features that are still missing from most other cars in it’s segment, the car still hasn’t shown the listering sales figures it deserves. The new i20 will conform to Hyundai’s fluidic design statement but is set to be much more edgy and futuristic than it currently is. Expect the i20 to come loaded with a ton of gizmos and gadgets and to be priced competitively. While the new i20 will be available in both petrol and diesel variants, we suspect Hyundai will bring in a new generation of automatic transmissions for both the petrol and the diesel models. Expect the new i20 to Premier in India in the latter half of 2014.

Tata Nano Update and Diesel
Expected Launch: Late 2014
Expected Price: Rs 1.5-2.75 Lakh

The Tata Nano has fizzled out both in terms of popularity and in terms of sales figures in recent times due to several issues. Predominantly, Tata’s positioning as the ‘cheap car’ may be to blame for the long-term failure of the Nano. The Nano though is not a bad car for what it costs and the new updated Nano that was launched a few months ago has incredible fit and finish considering how cheap it actually is. Mechanically though, with the exceptions of small improvements in certain areas, the Nano has remained unchanged since launch. Now though, the new Nano is all set to get a long awaited upgrade: Power Steering. This first upgrade will come in the mid-2014 time frame followed by the highly anticipated Nano Diesel and new turbocharged petrol engine options. Although there have been very strong rumors to suggest that the Nano Diesel project has been internally scrapped due to Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) issues, the time and money spent on the project will ensure that the Nano Diesel will see light of day. The New Nano will also receive a facelifted front and rear bumper and will see a slight redesign in the headlights and tail lights as well. The new Nano will also feature an operable tailgate for east access to both the boot and the engine compartment.

New Tata Vista
Expected Launch: Late 2014
Expected Price: Rs 5.00-7.00 Lakh

The Tata Vista or the Indica Vista as it is known has been in the market since 2008. With healthy sales figures and variant introductions through the years it has stayed quite fresh in terms of both design and styling. However, the Vista is all set to get a complete makeover soon with all new and much sharper styling features giving it an edgy look. The new Vista will also in turn spawn a new sub 4-meter sedan. The engine options will remain the same with the 1.3 Litre Diesel Multijet engine being the most popular engine on offer. The recently launched Vista D90 already has a boatload of gizmos and gadgets like Satellite Navigation and a touch screen infotainment interface and expect the new generation Vista to get all that and more. Tata is also working closely with Jayem Automotives Ltd. to make a turbocharged 120Bhp petrol version of the Vista but it is unlikely to see that being put into production.

Honda Jazz
Expected Launch: Mid 2014
Expected Price: Rs 5.5-8.0 Lakh

The old Honda Jazz one of our most favorite hatchbacks due to its cavernous space and fantastic 1.2 Litre i-VTEC engine. A humongous price tag and the lack of a diesel engine though was the reason for it’s eventual downfall and even after Honda cut prices, it still did not sell. Now though, with Honda’s new 1.5 Litre Diesel i-DTEC engine combined with the Jazz’s new edgy Euro Civic type looks, it is all set to take the Indian market by storm. Honda has to ensure they price the Jazz well this time around so as to attract the Volkswagen Polo and Suzuki Swift customer. The New Jazz will also feature a 1.2 Litre i-Vtec petrol engine like the one featured in the Brio. Expect the Jazz to come very highly equipped in terms of features with a lot of shared components to the newly launched Honda City.

Chevrolet Beat Facelift
Expected Launch: Early 2014
Expected Price: Rs 3.75-5.00 Lakh

The Chevrolet Beat is one of the funkiest hatchbacks one can buy in India. Made famous by the ‘Transformers’ series of movies, the Beat features crisp futuristic styling and a futuristic interior. However, the new Beat will take the styling quotient to another fathom with edgy details on the front bumper coupled with an even larger grille combined with Chevrolet’s bowtie logo placed prominently in the centre. The interiors too will get a touch of spice in certain places with a reworked console and upholstery. The Beat will feature both a petrol and diesel mill, the same that powers the small Chevy currently.

Fiat Grande Punto Evo / Punto Abarth Essess (SS)
Expected Launch: Mid 2014 / Early 2014
Expected Price: Rs 5.00-8.00 Lakh / Rs 20 Lakh

The Grande Punto Evo, a facelifted version of the Grande Punto we get in India should have made it to India early last year but due to Fiat’s new independent identity, the launch of this new car has been delayed. However, the Punto Evo will make it to India sometime in the next year. Featuring a reworked front bumper and reworked headlamps, the Punto Evo looks much sharper than the current generation Punto. However, some of the Maserati-esque looks have been sacrificed and the front does look a little more cluttered than before. The rear too gets a similar rework with new tail lamps and a new bumper. Engines wise, the 1.2 and 1.4 Litre petrol and the 1.3 Litre Multijet Diesel will continue to power the Punto Evo.

The Punto Abarth on the other hand will be the real ‘hot hatchback’ that enthusiasts in India have always lusted after. With jaw dropping looks, a fantastic 1.4 Litre Turbocharged petrol engine producing 155PS (or 180+ PS in Essess trim), the Abarth Punto is something that every single member of the ZigWheels team is desperately waiting to get behind the wheel of.

Fiat 500 Abarth
Expected Launch: Early 2014
Expected Price: Rs 20-25 Lakh

The Fiat 500 Abarth has often been called one of the best small fast hatchbacks in the world. Having behind the wheel of one, we agree. The small, nimble and heart achingly beautiful Fiat 500 becomes a totally different animal when Abarth gets its hands on it. The 1.4 Litre engine gets turbocharged to make 155PS in standard form or 180PS with the Essess package. Combined with some of the coolest interiors known to mankind and an exhaust note raspier than a buzzing wasp, the Fiat 500 Abarth is every automobile enthusiast’s wet dream. Expect a premium pricing point for the Fiat 500 Abarth of around Rs 20-25 Lakh with the optional essess equipped cars going for around the Rs 30 Lakh mark. The Fiat 500 Abarth is a real competitor to the hot selling MINI Cooper S even though it doesn’t have the brand recognition or the fan following in India. If exclusivity is what you seek, this is the car for you!

Volkswagen Beetle
Expected Launch: Early 2014
Expected Price: Rs 28.00-32.00 Lakh

The new Volkswagen Beetle will soon be unveiled in India much to the delight of fairer sex who have always adored this car. The New Beetle features surprisingly masculine (sort of) styling with wider and more hunkered down wheel arches as compared to the older car. The New Volkswagen Beetle is 84 mm wider, 12 mm lower and 152 mm longer than the last one, which has resulted in entirely new proportions. This gain in length and change in proportions means that the overall form of the new Beetle now represents the one seen on the original Beetles more than ever. The extended roof and raked front windscreen also means that the overall contours have changed, resulting in obvious similarities to the original Beetle. Expect the Beetle to be priced around the 30 Lakh mark and expect the Beetle to be available in both a Coupé and Cabriolet version.

Skoda Fabia Facelift
Expected Launch: Late 2014
Expected Price: Rs 5.50-7.50 Lakh

The Skoda Fabia has been as it is for almost half a decade now and is next in line for Skoda’s nip/tuck treatment. Although the Fabia still looks fresh, the new fabia will take cues from the likes of the Skoda Superb and the Skoda Octavia and will feature much sharper styling. As most petrolheads do, we hope Skoda brings the Fabia RS to India with its mean styling and power packed motor but that is quite unlikely. The Fabia will be priced to go on head to head with the likes of the Suzuki Swift and will come with both a petrol and diesel power plant that will be carried forward from the current generation of the Fabia.

BMW i3
Expected Launch: Mid 2014
Expected Price: Rs 25.00-30.00 Lakh

BMW’s foray into electric mobility has been publicized well over the last few months. With plans to make the first set of production cars out of carbonfiber making headlines too, the BMW i3 is packed full of technical wizardry and engineering innovations. The electric motor powering the BMW i3 will generate a staggering 172PS of peak power and 250NM of peak torque. As the i3 is powered by an electric motor, the power delivery will be instantaneously delivered through a single speed transmission to the rear wheels of the car. The electric motor sources its power from lithium-ion batteries located in the cars underfloor section. This also results in a low centre of gravity, which in turn means that the i3 is bound to be a great handler. The Lithium-ion batteries in the i3 will give the car a range of between 130-160 kilometers under general driving conditions when charged fully from a conventional domestic power socket or a BMW I Wallbox.

Kia Picanto
Expected Launch: End 2014
Expected Price: Rs 4.00-5.50 Lakh

Kia, the Korean automotive giant, will soon foray into the Indian automotive market sharing cars and platforms with its parent company, Hyundai. The Picanto, based on the current generation Hyundai i10 will share both engines and underpinnings from the Hyundai i10. Although it is not certain how Hyundai will position the Kia brand and the Picanto in general but we assume the Kia will be priced slightly higher than the Hyundai i10. The Kia Picanto will share the same engine options as the new Grand i10 and will come powered by both a petrol and diesel power plant with the petrol getting an automatic transmission option too. The introduction of Kia into the Indian Automotive sector means the established players like Maruti will have to be constantly active and on their feet in terms of new products and promotions in general.

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