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Hot hatchbacks / hot hatches are cars that are designed to offer maximum fun without draining your bank account. These cars are generally based on small hatchbacks but are either tuned differently or use a bigger engine for better performance.
Over the years, hot hatches have grown in size and different segments of hot hatches are currently available in global markets. Thanks to India's obsession with fuel economy and high taxes, hot hatches are not the first choice for many enthusiasts in the country.
However, that has not stopped manufacturers from trying to introduce 'hot hatches' in the Indian market. In fact, the Indian automobile market has its own 'hot hatch' segment and any hatchback with more than 100bhp can make its way into this list.
While there are more than a few hatchbacks that can make their way into this list, we think the below listed 5 hatchbacks offer the best 'hot hatch' experience with a hassle-free ownership experience.
Fiat Abarth Punto
Fiat Abarth Punto is not only the hottest hatchback in this list, but it is the only hatchback in this list that can be called 'hot hatch' even by global standards.
The Fiat Abarth Punto uses a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine with 145bhp and 212Nm of torque. Apart from the powerful engine and a decent 5-speed manual gearbox, the Fiat Abarth Punto also sports lowered and stiffened suspension with bigger brakes as well.
While Fiat Abarth Punto won the hearts of many enthusiasts in the country, it failed to grab parking slots at Indian homes. As a result, there are only a few Fiat Abarth Punto hot hatches in the country and most of them demand a good price.
Volkswagen Polo GT
Volkswagen Polo GT is an amazing hatchback and it is one of those 'hot hatches' that you can buy without breaking your bank account.
There are two versions, the earlier version uses a 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder, TSI engine. This engine produces 103bhp of peak power and 175Nm of torque. However, the star of the show is the 7-speed DCT gearbox that offers quick shifts and makes the best use of the power and torque from the power unit.
The latest version uses an even more fuel-efficient 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder TSI engine with 108bhp of power and 175Nm of torque. However, this model uses a more conventional 6-speed torque converter gearbox.
Ford is known to make surprisingly good drivers cars, and the Ford Figo is no different. Though the second-generation Ford Figo in India was more than a decent seller, Ford introduced a slightly more enthusiastic-friendly version as well.
This version of the second-generation Ford Figo was powered by a 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder, to-VCT petrol engine with 110bhp of power and 136Nm of torque. However, the main highlight of this version is the use of a 6-speed DCT automatic gearbox.
Thanks to low sales, owning this Ford Figo will be relatively easier. However, finding one will be a difficult task.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS
The Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS is the result of the Indo-Japanese automaker's plans spice-up the premium hatchback segment.
Though the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS was decent in terms of sales figures, the automaker had to discontinue the model due to stringent BS6 emission norms. It was powered by a 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine with 101bhp and 150Nm of torque.
Moreover, like the Fiat Abarth Punto, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS also comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox. While the Baleno RS can also be bought for a reasonable price, finding one is relatively tough as many owners refuse to sell it due to its good fuel efficiency and lower service costs.
Tata Tiago JTP
The Tata Tiago JTP is a product of a 50:50 joint venture between Tata Motors and Jayem Automobiles.
Powering the Tata Tiago JTP is a 1.2-litre turbocharged engine with 112bhp of power and 150Nm of torque. Moreover, power is sent to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox. In addition to this, Jayem has tuned the suspension, steering and also upgraded the brakes of the model as well.
Though the Tata Tiago JTP offered really good performance and handling characteristics, like many performance hatchbacks it failed to generate revenue for the company and the model was soon pulled out of production. This is probably the car you can buy for the least money on this list, but it is also the hardest one to find as well.
Thoughts About Hot Hatchbacks / Hot Hatches In India
The hot hatches sold in India are generally very different to the models sold in the international market due to various reasons such as high taxes, buyer mindset, road conditions and a few more. However, the above-listed 'hot hatches' are worth a second chance.