The Abarth Punto is currently the most powerful hatchback in our country which is priced just below INR 10 lakhs. The best part about this car is its exclusive Abarth styling and its incredibly powerful 1.4L T-Jet petrol engine. This turbocharged engine pumps out a peak power of 145bhp with a humongous torque output of 212Nm which is available as soon as 2000rpm.One of the biggest USPs of this engine is its 5-speed manual gearbox which makes you enjoy every bit of its power. Add in the lowered suspension, feelsome hydraulic steering and a firmer set-up and you have a car that is very much the perfect performance car at a budget.
VW Polo TSI
This is the car which brought back the trend of powerful hatchbacks in India. This car is purely meant for performance oriented drivers with an immensely powerful 1.2L Turbocharged petrol engine. This engine capable of producing 103bhp of power and is mated with a superb 7-speed DSG transmission. This brilliant gearbox is smooth and makes the best use of this engine. The Polo has always been a good car to drive but the GT TSI unlocks its full potential. There is also a GT TDI but it is not as good as this. The GT TSI comes in top variant only and is priced at INR 9.05lakhs.
Ford Figo Diesel
The new Figo is currently one of the most affordable and powerful diesel hatchbacks in India. The powerful diesel version starts from INR 5.63 lakhs and proves itself as a value for money option. The new 1.5L diesel engine offers maximum power and torque output of 99bhp and 215Nm respectively. This engine set-up comes equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox and offers brilliant performance since the power to weight ratio is really high. There is plenty of grunt and the performance on offer is just fantastic- it also handles well and backs that performance with good dynamics. This is the best diesel car to drive below Rs 10 lakhs.
Maruti Swift Petrol
This is perhaps one of the best value for money cars in India which also happens to be a very entertaining car to drive. The basics are simple- the ever popular and sweet 1.2 petrol is hooked up with a slick 5-speed manual. 83 horses provides good amount of power for the Swift but you need to work hard to get the best out of it and that is what makes it so fun. The car handles brilliantly and seems impressive for any car enthusiast. Yet along with that, this engine is very fuel efficient as well which makes Swift a popular choice in India despite being around for some time now. The base model starts from INR 4.72lakhs and the top variant comes loaded with all premium comfort and safety features. If you love driving then this is still the best Maruti to buy-even better than the Baleno.
Honda City Petrol
This is a legendary product in India which has improved a lot in the past decade with every model change. The current City also retains its biggest asset which is its very powerful and fuel efficient 1.5L petrol engine and now offers more features than ever before. Forget the diesel as the 117bhp petrol is brilliant and is available with a 5-speed manual gearbox which makes it fun to drive with engaging dynamics. Moreover, the car comes with best in class legroom and boot space and comes loaded with all premium comfort and safety features. The well equipped V variant is priced at INR 9.99lakhs while the petrol range starts from INR 8.22lakhs which brings it easily in the reach of those looking for a comfortable, spacious, fuel efficient, feature rich and a complete value for money mid-size car backed by Honda’s brand reliability.
The Thar is currently the most affordable and popular hard-core off-road vehicle available in our market. The SUV now comes with hardtop and AC as well making it a choice for wider audience who look for a daily commuter which can also be used for off-roading on weekends. The Thar features power steering, A.C and solid built quality matching needs of both worlds making it an affordable yet reliable vehicle.The low end grunt of its 2.5L diesel engine is best suited for off-road usage as its 247Nm of torque is available straight away. This power gets further useable with a five-speed gearbox matched with short gear ratios for improved usage. The hard top AC, 4WD variant is priced at INR 8.85lakh.
(All prices, ex-showroom, Delhi)