What we have here are three diesel-powered, nearly fully loaded, large hatchbacks. Hatchbacks that cost more than their respective compact sedan siblings but are still proving to be popular. Clearly then, if you are looking at a premium hatchback – like the three cars in question here – you are a sensible, discerning and informed buyer. So, let’s get straight to the point.
The Hyundai Elite i20 is the oldest of the lot if we were to go by launch dates. But, the i20 is a benchmark car in many ways; take styling, interior design, quality and especially the extensive list of bells and whistles, and it is no surprise that the Hyundai not only sells well, it tops the critics’ premium hatchback list as well. This one would be a tough one to dethrone for sure.
Then you have the Honda Jazz. The new Jazz isn’t just better priced, better positioned and better specced than the older car, it also has a potent (though noisy) diesel engine now. It comes into this test armed with practicality, efficiency and an easy-to-drive nature, which the competition will find hard to match.
Finally, there’s the Maruti Suzuki Baleno. The newest car here, the Baleno not only brings back a famed name, it also manages to tick many of the expectation boxes. It’s a Maruti, so rightfully it’s also light, well priced, and is of good value. Now, only if it is anything like the Swift, it should also be good fun to drive; the pedestrian 75bhp power output notwithstanding. The Baleno also marks a huge step up for Maruti in terms of interior room. This one might have the Jazz running for cover in terms of good space utilisation.
It’s time then to dig deeper…