Hot hatches still have an eternal charm and serve up as a great advertising tool to build up the appeal of regular mass-market cars. These days, our modern hot hatches feature lewd amounts of power, gadgets, and electronic driving aids which, in my opinion, are becoming less and less like what the name originally stood for. But, back in the day, a few manufacturers brought in reasonably priced hatchbacks to the market that could gallop a quarter-mile in under 10 seconds, and still do the daily errands with no difficulty. Then again, you want to own one anyway, without paying the ridiculous amounts for it, while retaining much of the older mechanicals and decals that made the moniker even more famous. So, to make things easier for you, we list our top 10 hot hatches that are on sale in India right now, and how much should you pay once you find them.
Fiat Abarth Punto
Before phasing out the production of the cars in India, the Fiat brand enjoyed a special place in many garages and continues to even today. However, the most missed product from the line-up, for yours truly, is the Fiat Abarth Punto, and if there are still enthusiasts that would pay up for this product in India, then you are in for luck as the model is available in the pre-owned market, but at a premium.
The price is in fact at par with the value it held at the time of its sale back in 2015. It also claimed the title as ‘India’s hottest hatch’, flinging the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI to the second spot in the country. It’s Fiat Linea T-Jet sourced 1,386cc, turbocharged motor, is the most powerful to ever sit inside a hatchback, having 145bhp and 212Nm on tap to catapult it from standstill to 100kmph in 8.8 seconds.
Price now: Rs 9.67 lakh to ₹ 10.28 lakh
Fiat Abarth 595 Competizione
The Fiat Abarth 595 Competizione is yet another hot hatch that debuted in India back in 2015, and soon claimed the title of the fastest hatchback in the country. This model is also on sale in the pre-owned market at ₹ 20.50 lakh, at a premium of about ₹ 10 lakhs from its launch price. This model available in the used car market in Mumbai has clocked not more than 3,000km and is in ‘good condition’ according to the Orange Book Value.
The price is, however, negotiable and can be brought down to ₹ 17,17,936 – ₹ 18,24,200. The price can be further dropped and brought to ₹ 15,93,961, if offered another car in exchange, and would further drop by the end of 2023. The 3-door hatchback derives power from a 1.4-litre T-Jet motor that puts out 159bhp and 230Nm, while in the ‘Normal Mode’, the torque drops to 206Nm, and could do the 0-100kmph run in 6.9 seconds.
Price now: ₹ 20.50 lakh- ₹ 15,93,961
There are plenty of units of Ford’s popular hatchback trickling into the pre-owned car market since its first market debut here in 2010. It was also responsible to make Ford a prominent force in the Indian car market, as it came with plenty of space for occupants and storage, offered an excellent ride and handling characteristics, and came with a choice of petrol and a diesel engine.
It may not have been one of the better-looking hatches back in the day, but it got the job done with its tried and tested mechanicals and came at a competitive price as well. A 2010 model Figo diesel in top titanium trim will cost you ₹ 1.90 lakh, while the ones on sale after 2017, are up for grabs anywhere between ₹ 5.68 lakh to ₹ 7 lakh, depending on the variant.
Price now: ₹ 1.90 lakh- ₹ 7 lakh
Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo
The Grand i10 Nios is undoubted, the most affordable hatchback in India with a turbo engine. It was launched back in 2020 and is in fact based on the standard Grand i10 with a nip & tuck to enhance its sporty appeal. It is also the fourth car in the Hyundai portfolio in India to get the 1.0 litre Turbo GDi heart, before ending up in the pre-owned car market at a reduced rate and great mileage with lots to prove.
From its initial price of ₹ 7.80 lakh, a pre-owned Grand i10 Nios Turbo is available anywhere between ₹ 6,41,438 to ₹ 6,81,114, in good condition according to the dealerships. An exchange rate of ₹ 5,95,148 is also accessible. The i10 Nios Turbo is in fact the least powerful hot hatch in India, as its power is rated at 99 bhp with a good amount of torque – 172 Nm to be precise. An impressive, claimed fuel efficiency figure of 20.3kmpl only sweetens the deal.
Price now: ₹ 6,41,438 to ₹ 6,81,114
Way back in 2004, Hyundai Motor India Limited launched their first hatchback, the Hyundai Getz, and was considered a pocket rocket at the time, thanks to its frugal diesel engine that was the most preferred purchase. Before the arrival of the Hyundai i20 at the international scene, and then eventually getting shipped to India, the Hyundai Getz was favored by some over the Maruti Suzuki Zen, to zip through the traffic and busy streets.
The tall boy stance from the Hyundai Santro was retained here as it sat on its puny 155/80 R13 tyres, managing 170kmph from its 1.5-litre CRDI diesel engine. This motor produced 110bhp @4,000rpm and 235Nm @1,900 rpm, which translated to a 100kmph sprint in 12 seconds flat! Its 170kmph top speed was considered one of the best in the segment. In 2022, you can buy one, but the ones on offer have done over 1 lakh km, so finding the perfect one with minimal damage will be a challenge. But, if you do find one, don’t think twice before taking your wallet out.
Price now: ₹ 1.3 lakh – ₹ 2.90 lakh
Maruti Baleno RS
The most powerful Baleno was introduced at the 2016 Auto Expo, in the RS iteration plugged with a BS4 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. With the advent of newer emissions norms, Maruti Suzuki pulled the plug on its fastest hatchback, offered with an ₹ 1 lakh discount by some dealerships towards the end of its life cycle. While we do hope that the carmaker brings it back to life, the pre-owned versions of the Baleno RS are available across the country in rather good conditions.
Based on the top-spec Alpha variant of the standard Baleno, the RS was offered with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that was good enough for 100bhp and 150Nm of peak torque. The RS was quick, responsive, and even sounded pleasant. The manual gearbox wasn’t the best of the lot, but it generated enough torque on the lower rev band, to cancel out any unnecessary gear changes, especially in traffic.
Price now: ₹ 5.36 lakh – ₹ 5.69 lakh
Before the arrival of the A-Class with an extended wheelbase, Mercedes-Benz had the A-Class classified as a compact hatchback and was available in India for a brief period. The A 220 d variant to be specific, was the most powerful of the lot without the AMG badge and was a personal favorite. It churned 136bhp and 300Nm of peak torque from its 2.2-litre diesel engine, which was fun, peppy, and exciting to drive.
It was also easily one of the best-looking hatchbacks on the road with its sporty design and the Elbaite Green exterior color it came wrapped in. If you are looking for one in the used car market, then our advice would be to grab it, as it would add much more elegance to your collection and your garage.
Price now: ₹ 12.33 lakh- ₹ 13.09 lakh
MINI Cooper JCW
Mini Cooper is one of the most familiar subcompact cars on the road that also happens to be one of the most expensive to own. And if you are in the used car market to buy a MINI hot hatch, then your wait ends with the MINI Cooper JCW. It is the dopest of ’em all. Quite literally! But if you have made up your mind to own one, then a used Cooper JCW could be yours, if you are willing to spend anywhere between ₹ 33.69 lakh – ₹ 46 lakhs, which is also close to the base version with bare minimum equipment.
The hardcore John Cooper Works version is actually quicker than it actually is, and you could take more than 6.1 seconds to realize that, as it reaches the 100kmph mark. The 231bhp in its kitty might not read enough for this midget-sized hot hatch, but the quick-shifting gearbox is incredibly responsive from low revs, and even a gentle tap of the throttle pedal, lurches you forward with urgency. Trust our word and go for the JCW, but only if you afford the frequent trip to the mechanic.
Price now: ₹ 33.69 lakh – ₹ 46 lakh
Tata Tiago JTP
For far too long, Tata Motors debated on its performance-oriented brand, which finally came to life in 2017, but was soon discontinued due to poor sales. However, before pulling the plug, the JTP brand introduced the souped-up versions of the Tiago and Tigor, which became an instant hit within a few weeks of its launch. An enhanced version of the Nexon’s turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine took charge under the hood, which resulted in 114hp and 150Nm, while the transmission was handled by a 5-speed gearbox with tweaked gear ratios for a quicker burst of speed.
It comes alive on twisty roads, and you can easily thrash the motor for all its worth and still come out with a smile on your face, asking for more. Tata had packaged the Tiago JTP quite neatly, with lowered springs, optimized dampers, and the bespoke 185/60 R15 tyres, which changed a lot of the driving dynamics of the car compared to its standard version.
Price now: ₹ 5.4 lakh- ₹ 7 lakh
Volkswagen Polo GT TSI
The Polo not only set a new benchmark for the hatchback segment in terms of build quality, but also for ride and handling standards. Building on that, the German carmaker introduced India’s first proper hot hatch – the Polo GT TSI, setting the Indian market on fire with its 1.2 TSI engine and dual-clutch transmission. At the top of the hot hatch, the lineup was, however, the 3-door GTI – which, with its 189bhp 1.8-litre mill, redefined the term ‘hot hatch’ for Indian customers. It is also one of the best-selling products for the company, clocking more than 2.5 lakh sales since it first began its humble outing.
It is even quite popular in the used car market and is still one of the most preferred choices of poison for thrill-seekers. It goes anywhere between ₹ 3 lakh to ₹ 20 lakh. Even the VW Motorsport group auctions its spruced-up Polo’s, but these would set you back by ₹ 50 lakh; with all the fiberglass bodywork, track suspension, sequential gearbox with paddle shifters, and rear-wheel-drive set-up.
Price now: ₹ 2.89 lakh – Rs 21.12 lakh