However, these aside, there also is a host of exciting features on offer. What are they? That’s precisely what we’re exploring in this story.
10.25-inch Touchscreen Infotainment System
Model: Hyundai i20 Variant & Starting Price: i20 Asta 1.2 Petrol MT; Rs 8.70 lakh, When it comes to screens, size does matter. The latest i20 offers the largest touchscreen infotainment system in the segment at 10.25-inches, which is the same as seen in the Hyundai Creta. It’s big enough to display multiple tiles of information simultaneously.
Semi-Digital Instrument Cluster
Model: Tata Altroz Variant & Starting Price: Altroz XZ 1.2 Petrol MT; Rs 7.71 lakh
A digital instrument cluster adds that premium feels to a cabin. The Altroz has a semi-digital instrument cluster with a 7.0-inch TFT display that shows a variety of information even though the tachometer is always visible on the left side of the screen. Meanwhile, the speedometer is still an analog unit on the right side of the gauge cluster.
Hyundai has provided the i20 with a fully digital instrument cluster but a smaller TFT multi-information display flanked by digital readouts. Not only is it a long way from premium, but also not on par with the 7.0-inch TFT in the Altroz.
Connected Car Technology
Model: Hyundai i20
Variant & Starting Price: i20 Asta 1.2 Petrol MT; Rs 8.70 lakh
Knowing your car’s active location, being able to give it voice commands and remote functions, and checking vehicle diagnostics from your smartphone are just some of the many benefits of connected car technology. Hyundai’s Blue Link is the most advanced, considering it even offers remote engine start and cabin pre-cooling in the i20.
Other hatchbacks like the Tata Altroz, Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Honda Jazz, and Volkswagen Polo come with telematic services which are not as advanced as the Hyundai Blue Link. That said, Tata’s iRA system does offer a few basic remote functions like door lock/unlock and lights on/off.
Model: Hyundai i20, Tata Altroz, Honda Jazz, Volkswagen Polo
Variant & Starting Price: Altroz XT 1.2 Petrol MT; Rs 7.14 lakh
Model: Hyundai i20, Honda Jazz
Variant & Starting Price: Jazz ZX 1.2 Petrol MT; Rs 8.79 lakh
The utility of a sunroof could be debatable, but it does enhance the cabin-experience. The ones available in this segment are non-panoramic. In both i20 and Jazz, the sunroof is just above the front seats.
Model: Maruti Suzuki Baleno
Variant & Starting Price: Baleno Zeta Smart Hybrid Petrol MT; Rs 7.45 lakh
Maruti is the only mass-market carmaker in India to provide mild-hybrid technology with its more affordable offerings. The Baleno benefits from this tech in its 90PS 1.2-litre petrol engine variant. Thanks to the mild-hybrid tech, the engine shuts down during idling (when the car is at a halt in heavy traffic) and starts when you push down the clutch again. This system improves fuel efficiency, especially during city driving.
The Tata Altroz also offers the idle-start/stop function in its petrol-powered variants, but it isn’t as smooth as that of the Baleno.
6 Airbags (Dual front, side and curtains)
Model: Hyundai i20
Variant & Starting Price: i20 Asta(O) 1.2 Petrol MT - Rs 9.20 lakh
Hyundai continues to ace this category, providing as many as six airbags in the top-spec i20. No other premium hatchback offers more than dual front airbags for occupant protection. On the flip side, Hyundai trails behind its competition by not offering ISOFIX child seat anchorage or electronic stability control in the lower-spec variants.
The Tata Altroz has a 5-star Global NCAP safety rating, thanks to it offering more safety equipment as standard.
Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) a.k.a clutchless manual
Model: Hyundai i20
Variant & Starting Price: i20 Sportz 1.0 Turbo Petrol iMT; Rs 8.80 lakh
The Hyundai i20 is the only car in the segment to offer this type of transmission. It is a 6-speed manual without a clutch pedal ( it uses a sensor in the gearbox to engage the clutch when you try to change gears) so you get the thrill of changing gears yourself without tiring out your left foot in traffic. This is the more affordable transmission with the 120PS 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine that gets the choice of a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Models: Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Hyundai i20, Honda Jazz
Variant & staring price: Baleno Alpha Petrol MT; Rs 7.90 lakh
The headlamp is indicative of how premium a car is. While most models come with halogen units (even the base variants of more expensive cars), a handful of premium hatchbacks offer LED headlamps in their top-spec variants. These are essential additions, considering they help with nighttime visibility, thereby upping the safety quotient by notches.
The i20 and Baleno also come with the auto-headlamp feature (where the lights switch-on in the dark or when you drive into an underground parking lot). Hatchbacks without LED headlamps, like the Tata Altroz, also offer the auto-headlamp function.
Model: Hyundai i20
Variant & Starting Price: i20 Asta 1.2 Petrol MT; Rs 9.20 lakh
In this segment, the Hyundai i20 is the only car with an air purifier and an air-quality indicator. However, it’s not built into the AC and instead looks like an accessory that slots into the cup holder, much like the one in the Hyundai Venue. These are our top picks. Let us know which one is your favorite and if there’s anything you’d like to add to our list.
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