The auto industry has seen a lot of ups and downs in 2016. The year started with the Delhi diesel ban and is ending with the deregistration of 10-year-old diesel vehicles in the national capital region. However, there were lots of upsides too. The hatchbacks segment witnessed lots of new entries; Renault launched the 1.0-litre and the AMT version of the Kwid; Tata won many hearts with its Tiago; Volkswagen made ABS and dual airbags standard on the Polo; and the Maruti premium hatchback – the Baleno – became a blockbuster. Let's see what the coming year has to offer.
Maruti Suzuki Ignis
Maruti Suzuki showcased the production-ready Ignis Concept at the 2016 Indian Auto Expo. The Ignis was supposed to be launched around the festive season this year. However, the launch has been pushed to 2017 and is likely to happen in January. With its smaller proportions and boxy styling, featuring projector headlamps with daytime running LEDs and LED tail lamps, the hatchback will stand out of the crowd.
The Ignis will come loaded with features like a seven-inch Suzuki SmartPlay infotainment system with support for both Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto. It will be powered by the 1.2-litre petrol engine found in the Swift and the Baleno while the diesel variant will feature a 1.3-litre DDiS190 engine. It is expected to be priced around Rs 5 Lakh.
Hyundai Grand i10 Facelift
Hyundai revealed the Grand i10 facelift in August this year and the hatchback is expected to launch in India as early as January 2017. The facelift features a new 'Cascading' grille and daytime running LEDs. In terms of equipment, the hatchback has a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with support for Apple CarPlay as well as Google Android Auto. It is likely to get the same 1.2-litre petrol engine with five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions, along with the 1.1-litre diesel coupled to a five-speed manual.
The facelift is expected to be priced slightly higher than the current Grand i10 which starts at Rs 4.9 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi).
Tata Tiago Sport
The Tiago has played a crucial role in uplifting Tata's image in the passenger vehicle segment. It has gained a lot of popularity and the waiting period for the car has shot up to four months for certain variants. Now Tata is expected to launch a performance-spec Tiago in the first half of 2017, which could be named the 'Tiago Sport'.
It might feature the same 120PS engine which was showcased in the Bolt Sport at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show or will have a turbocharged and remapped version of the three-cylinder ‘Revotron’ petrol engine currently used in the Tiago. It is likely to be priced between Rs 6 and 7 lakh.
The Baleno RS will be the most powerful of Maruti's hatchbacks in the country. To be powered by the Boosterjet series of engines (which will make it the first turbocharged petrol-powered Maruti Suzuki in India), the production-ready concept of the Balneo RS was showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo. It will borrow all the features from the top-spec Baleno and is likely to be priced slightly above the top-end petrol version of the Baleno, which would be around Rs 9 lakh.
With several test mules being spotted on many occasions, the hatchback is likely to be launched in the first half of 2017.