On my way back from work in the evening I noticed a Xylo in a similar red color parked behind my Thar in the parking building in office. I spent a couple of minutes trying to get a decent photograph with all the harsh lighting and multiple other vehicles cluttering up the space.
I notice there is a TUV300 also there on the same floor and with empty spots available around it. Quickly abandoned the Xylo and moved the Thar close to it to get a better look and get some photos.
First Impressions on the Exterior:
It was a T8 version and seemed to have been just brought from the showroom as it had ribbons, flower garland and a paper on the front windshield with the owners name that wished him happy motoring. Poor chap probably had work to finish and had to do his first drive right back to office!
I don’t like this angle of the TUV300. There is a problem with the high sides and small skinny tires. Also too much of body color without any contrast.
Bonnets almost at the same level. TUV bonnet slightly higher.
Rear visibility will be a challenge with the high rear tire and rear seats. I struggle to back up with the Thar in tight spots.
The rear of the TUV300 ends a bit abruptly.
Side view is ok. The Thar is not visible in this angle is parked just after the TUV300. Door angle will take some getting used to. Take care opening the doors else you will hurt your head.
View from within the Thar.One of the very few other vehicles that has the same seat height as the Thar.
The paint quality seemed nice and color was good and the TUV300 definitely had presence. I was most surprised at the overall height of the vehicle and the height of the bonnet. The driver seating position is around the same height as the Thar. This commanding seating position is what the whole SUV driving experience is all about for city dwellers where you get to see over the roofs of other vehicles. I think Mahindra have really got this facet right.
Tires look very skinny @ 215 . Up-sizing to 235 or going crazy till 245/255 may drastically alter its appearance (Don’t complain if your Fuel efficiency comes down as well) for better.
Overall appearance is really boxy but in a good way I feel. The photos without any other vehicle in the background do not do it justice. Up close in person it doesn’t look too awkward.
Wish its front had been better designed. The huge rectangular lower grille and almost square fog lamps don’t go very well with the upper grille and angular headlamps. With a rectangular headlamp design this may have been a true Bolero successor and really could have taken off well. Its current design has split the opinion of most people and most are really confused whether to like it or not. Some people on the floor saw it and came over to take a closer look and among the 4 that were there – 2 seemed to like it while 2 didn’t !
I was surprised to see the Dimensions as it shows the TUV is longer and wider than the Thar:
The width and height of the TUV show the reason for its square boxy look.
Tried my best to get the lens flare out but the parking lot lights seemed extra bright and my poor cell phone camera was not able to manage at all.
PS: Am still waiting a chance to go to the dealership for a TD as they didn’t want to bring a vehicle all the way for me :-(.
The diesel hatchback comparison chart is now updated to include the Hyundai I20 CRDI Diesel. The comparison is for the highest end trims for all models. Why ? Because only then can we compare features to features. the lower end trims are basically diesel engine and chassis.
The list now contains the following:
Ford Fusion Plus TDCi
Skoda Fabia 1.4 TDI Elegance
Getz Prime 1.5 CRDI GVS
Suzuki Swift VDI ABS
Suzuki Ritz VDI ABS
Grande Punto Emotion Pack Multijet
Hyundai I20 Asta (O) CRDI
Palio Stile 1.3 SDX
Indica Vista Aura Quadrajet
Indica Vista Aqua TDI
Tata Indica V2 DLS BS III
The specifications are now color coded to indicate the largest dimension/best value/cheapest cost(green) and lowest dimension/value /highest cost(red). Hope this sheet is easier to read now.
The costliest is still the Skoda Fabia and the cheapest still remains the Indica V2.
The I20 is the second costliest in this comparison but also comes with a long list of features even longer than the Fabia.
Middle of the list with medium features and middle of road price is the Swift and the Ritz.
Thanks: A lot of feedback, errata identification and great suggestions from Jacob, Manoj and Vasu were used to update the older sheet – Thank you for reading through in detail and giving valuable feedback and pointing out the many errors !
Some items still pending such as mileage data for the latest updated cars and the performance figures for acceleration and braking. This will be done in the next update.
The I20 & I: I tried checking with the Hyundai dealership I bought my Getz from but they still do not have a registered Diesel or Automatic available for TD. They have promised to get me a TD as soon as their vehicles get registered.
Call me biased but I think my very favourite Automotive Bloggers (IndianAutosBlog.com, Motorbeam.com, Vicky.in & wheelosphere.org etc.) and discussion forum (www.team-bhp.com) did a much better job than mainstream media and Fiat India before and after the launch of the Grande Punto on the 17th providing photos, writeups and specifications for several days and weeks prior. Most information about the new vehicle and the specifications were out on the net for several days.www.zigwheels.com even had a review of the car yesterday. It was no surprise to hear of the engine options at all from Fiat. The only item worthy of waiting for the launch was the price of the variants.
My hatchback comparison charts are updated with the Grande Punto details for both the Petrol and Diesel versions. Please click here for the Petrol Comparisons and here for the Diesel Comparisons. I have used only the top of the line versions of petrol and diesel in the comparison.
Innovative and useful features of the Grande Punto:
Tail Lamps are out of harms way. Hopefully fewer dings will occur where they are placed.
The climate control with pollen filter – good for those with allergies.
The service check reminders are useful. They can get annoying if they malfunction however :-).
Having the ignition key in a position that the driver can easily see is definitely a welcome feature.
The Programmable speed limit warning again is useful but may get annoying.
The Blue & Me seems like a cool thing to have – hopefully it is not too complicated for our regular folks to understand. Do not want to hear about crashes because of jokers fiddling with the system on the move.
The fold-able key is another cool feature.
Dimensions wise it is the 3rd longest hatchback currently on the market behind the Fusion and the Fabia. Legroom should be pretty decent. It just about as wide as the Swift (narrower by 3mm). Wider hatch backs include the Fusion, I20, Swift, Jazz & Vista. So seating space for 5 inside should be adequate.
I need to see it in person to really say how it looks. I like the looks of the car in most colors. Just felt the grille for the red or lighter colored cars should have been defaulted to black. The silver colored grille and fog lamp surrounds seems a bit out of place. The straight on front view is the best followed by the front 3 quarter view. I really do not care for its looks from the side or from the back where it just looks like every other hatchback and leaning towards plainness. I fear there may be a huge blind spot up front at the A-pillar – will need to test drive to make sure.
Fiat has really played it safe and made the car available in the most common and popular colors. I think they are playing it too safe. A few uncommon colors would have helped the car stand out. Their famous purple that was there on the Palio 1.6 and the brilliant yellow of the Palio S10 are notable omissions. I predict the hot color for the car will be the Exotica Red.
The top of the line petrol 1.4 Emotion Pack is the 5th costliest in the list with the Jazz, Fusion, Fabia and I20 being costlier.
The top of the line Diesel 1.3 Emotion Pack is the 3rd costliest after the Fabia and Fiesta.
The real competition for the Grande Punto is the Hyundai I20 which is close to it in size and price and has a similar bag of feature laden trims that will entice buyers. There really will be bloodshed when the I20 diesel comes out. The Jazz looks very overpriced now and there is a lot of sentiment on the net and on Twitter mentioning cancelling Jazz bookings/thoughts to go for the Punto. I also predict to see some movement away from the Ritz to the GP as well.
I think the Grande Punto has been well priced and provides enough trim options for customers wanting a hatchback of that size. The design looks good, the price is right and the features are just right including the most sought after safety features of ABS & Airbags. The Diesel trims are as well equipped as the Petrol trims. Yes the price is higher but thats still fine.
The key to its success in India will now depend on the sales and service experience. I just hope the Fiat/Tata alliance can somehow work together well to pull it off.
I want to test drive the Grande Punto just to get an idea of how it handles. Have registered for a TD and am now waiting for the call confirming the TD. Will post updates after that.
I was cribbing while waiting for the Ritz launch, I held my tongue during the Jazz launch since I had a feeling we would have a huge let down and then finally the Grande Punto launch was no different. The manufacturers of all these three vehicles seem to think that their online presence can be ignored and all that matters is the big press conference where they call journos from the big mainstream media like print and TV and for the heck of it some of the major online websites. I think they need to carefully coordinate the launch at the press conference and at the online presence to happen simultaneously or within a matter of minutes – or hell kick it off during the press conference and show off their website as well. In the past 3 launches the online sites were updated only several hours past the official unveiling and till then had almost useless information with no time mentioned for the release of useful info. Its not like they are building the website after the official launch. The product has been ready for years, features and engines decided for India, website content is ready for weeks if not months, the pricing has been planned well in advance – all that is pending is to push a button which is the equivalent of “publish” to make all the data available to the thousands like myself who were sitting in office on their day jobs checking the official Indian website of the Fiat Grande Punto www.fiatpunto.in at every free moment for details and also hoplessly checking the Fiat India website as well . After my initial enthu on noticing Fiat has a blog called Fiat For You– which was not being updated after June 17th morning a lot of my enthu went away.
I finally stopped checking the site after coming home and still checking till around 8.00 PM. Had dinner and came back to check it and finally saw that the details are showing up hours later. The blog was also updated aroudn the same time.
If you are looking for a Diesel Hatchback and need an easy reference comparison sheet for all the new vehicle models available in India – you have come to the right post. If you have reached here in error and Petrol Hatchbacks are what you want take a look at Petrol Super Hatchbacks Comparison.
The vehicles I have compiled the technical specifications and key features for include the Ford Fusion Plus TDCi, Skoda Fabia TDI Elegance, Hyundai Getz Prime CDRI GVS, Maruti Suzuki Swift VDI ABS, Maruti Suzuki Ritz VDI ABS, Tata Indica Vista Aura Quadrajet, Fiat Palio Stile Multijet SDX and the long running Tata Indica V2 DLS. The maximum price of the vehicles I have listed is under 9 Lakhs (on road). Frankly – if you are spending more than 6.5 lakhs for a hatchback – you better have some really good reasons not to go in for a sedan.
Indian Diesel Hatchback Trivia: Shortest:Tata Indica V2 DLS Longest Hatchback & Longest Wheel Base: Ford Fusion Plus Widest: Ford Fusion Plus Largest Fuel Tank:Fiat Palio Stile Tallest:Maruti Suzuki Ritz VDI Most Fuel Efficient:Maruti Suzuki Ritz VDI/ Runner Up: Maruti Suzuki Swift VDI Most Powerful Engine, Highest Top Speed and Fastest in 0-100 time:Hyundai Getz Prime CRDI Smallest Turning Radius:Maruti Suzuki Swift & Ritz Lightest Weight:Tata Indica V2
**Best Ground Clearance: Ford Fusion Plus (The number needs to be checked – I got it from the Ford website – but it puts offroaders to shame)
Here is the data sheet: Diesel Hatchbacks Comparison to help you choose the car for you. If you need help deciding or have questions please feel free to ask through the comments or through the contact form.
PS: Please let me know if you have any additional data that can be added to the sheet to improve it.
Updated: June 18th to add details of the Fiat Grande Punto to the comparison.
I test drove the Maruti Suzuki Ritz ZXI (Petrol) last weekend. I am comparing it to the Swift as I think customers will find it tough to decide between these two cars from Maruti.
I like the front and the front 3 quarter view. Looks like a mature grown up Swift !
To get used to the rear I may have to start drinking something stronger than non-alcoholic beverages and quite a bit of it as well till my vision blurs. The rear doesn’t look too bad when the car has wider tires (like on the ZXI) and also when it is on the move. When stopped and up close it does look a oddish nice kind of strange.
The side view is interesting till the C pillar – then almost like the designers ran out of paper/screen space while making the drawing they stopped with a vertical line and ended the rear !
You will tire of hearing about the “boomerang” shaped tail lights from the dealer sales person very quickly. You would wish you had a real boomerang to fling at the sales guy. The tail lamps are pulled inwards and a strange window lineof the side windows is seen when viewed from the full straight rear position.
The exterior door handles, ORVMS are the same/very similar as the Swift. Rear bumper fog lamp looks similar.
The bonnet seems higher than the Swift. Good for gently tapping errant pedestrians and accounts for better pedestrian safety for sure.
Here is a side by side comparison of the Swift (my own car) and the Ritz exteriors.
The seating position is a bit higher than in the Swift and seats feel the same. Almost like sitting on a cushion and driving the Swift.
The front quarter glass was a nice touch and helps a bit with visibility up front but there is still a huge blind spot at the A-pillar. Otherwise front visibility is good.
Visibility from the back will take some getting used to as the rear glass seems a bit small.
Rear wash/wipe & defogger only on the ZXI (just like the Swift).
The space saved by moving the gear lever in front isn’t used for anything.
The outside rear view mirrors are well placed, right sized and useful.
Lot of the interior is borrowed/shared with the Swift but still some cost cutting seems to have been there. Indicator/Wiper stalks, steering wheel, door locks & power window switches are all the same. Ashtray is the same. Gear lever knob is almost the same. Interior roof light seems the same.
The open glove box in addition to the closed one on the ZXI with the airbags is very useful – something the Swift ZXI doesn’t have and wastes space because of the airbags. The coin holder and storage space on the top of the dashboard is also good. Glove box seems similar in size to the Swift.
The front door pockets have storage space for bottles. There is only one central console mounted cup holder.
The steering mounted stereo controls are good but a bit annoying till u get used to them since they are in the spot the horn is on my car. Instead of honking I found myself increasing the stereo volume or muting the stereo without wanting to. The buttons seem a bit delicate and fiddly. More video game like than car like.
The increased head room allows 3 people to sit a lot more comfortably at the back than in a Swift. Legroom in the back was more than adequate. Feels more spacious than the Swift.
Luggage space was almost the same as the swift. If you want to carry a lot of luggage you should look at other vehicles possibly sedans. The 60:40 split is possibly the only saving grace of this car – I really wish the Swift had this.
The two tone dashboard was of a slightly vague light blue-grey color. I didn’t care for it too much. Matching colors to the exterior would have made sense but someone at Suzuki likes that weird color of blue.
The front under seat storage is a joke. Very small and without a lock. A newspaper and a magazine may just fit into it. If it were metal it could have been used to bake brownies – it was shaped like that.
Air conditioning seemed just about adequate (maybe the larger glass areas and lack of tints on the Demo car and the hot summer sun was a factor). I may have been spoilt by driving around with climate control and dark tinted small windows in the Swift. Blower fan gets noisy at “3” position. The side vents close fully and are a design different from the Swift. The climate control is the only key feature missing on the Ritz that the Swift has.
Drive & Handling:
It took some time to get used to the gear shifter because it is positioned almost a half a foot ahead of the gear shifter in the Swift/most cars. The gear shifter felt really good and the shifts were very precise – even better than the Swift. For people with multiple cars this gear shift will be a difficult to get used to, especially when you have to switch cars daily. On the move the car is very silent and the engine barely lets you know it is on and running and at idle it was very silent. It did make some minimal noise when pushed but for it to move you have to push it past 3000 RPM. The older Swift engine would be screaming a nice song at 3K RPM.
Clutch, brake & accelerator pedals are the same as the Swift. Clutch is light and easy to use.
First gear seemed ok enough but the 2nd gear seemed a bit lethargic and the 3rd gear seemed pretty decent. I barely managed to get to 4th before I had to shift down because of traffic. By then the TD was over and we were back at the dealership.
The separate tachometer was a bit distracting in my view. Maybe since I am used to a tachometer next to the speedometer.
The ride was smooth and handled rough patches of road without too much noise and without losing balance. It didn’t feel top heavy like the Wagon-R does when taking turns at speed. The wider stance has to be thanked for it.
Visibility out front is very good and maneuvering the car in traffic is easy. Of course it is not an 800 but easy enough to drive.
There seems to be sufficient interest in the car at the dealership and there was a steady stream of people coming to do test drives. Was almost knocked down by an 80 year old man and his wife who were rushing to TD the Ritz. This couple was doing the TD after finalizing the deal for buying the car !!!!! The people coming to TD the Ritz seem to primarily be ones who are married and have a family.
The dealer also mentioned that Maruti is forecasting long delays on all other vehicles other than the A-Star, Ritz and SX4 to make sure the sales of these continues. They are also trying as much as possible to not take bookings of any vehicle other than the above mentioned 3 cars. Even test drives of other vehicles are not being done ! I think this may backfire and cause people to defect to Hyundai , Tata and other manufacturers. Need to wait and see how well the Ritz is received and also if Hyundai and Tata sales go up because of Maruti.
Which one is better ? There is no binary answer to this question. The Ritz is better than the Swift because of its fuel efficient, lighter, newer engine, interior space, features. The Swift is better than the Ritz for its looks, sporty responsive drive, slightly better trim level and features. Both seem to have their good features.
If you want a new car that does everything well, has seating space for 5 and will offend no one – take the Ritz.
If you have dreams of up-sized/wide alloys rims, low profile tires, spoilers, body kits, vinyl stickering and sports tuning then go for the Swift.
Test drive both and then just flip a coin and choose whichever one. You win with either of the two !