‘Hot hatchback’ or should i write performance hatchbacks, had been a cult all over the globe.
A small car, with a perfect chassis, ride and handling balance mixed with a superior powerful engine is what referred as a ‘hot hatch’ in automotive world.
For India the ‘hot hatch’ market has been like a weak patient that is lying on the ventilator waiting for a sudden death but still manages to stay alive. May it have been Fiat Palio Stile Sport 1.6 that had a staggering 1600cc, 100 BHP engine under the hood about a decade ago or may it be the recent Fiat Punto Abarth with a 146 HP engine under the hood, this market had always acted as a sour fruit for local masses. It failed and so does the following products that tried to do the same in the segment.
Paying 2 lakh plus over the same model of the same car just with a bigger engine that is low on fuel efficiency and high on maintenance is surely a topic that every sensible buyer will ask but that’s the essence of ‘hot hatchbacks’. The ain’t manufactured for sensibility or being understandable or be economical.
Petrolheads are not normal crowd, it’s the man & machine for them and that’s where these cars succeed. Yes i have always loved the driving abilities of a Punto despite of it being bulky as a ‘Sumo’ wrestler but when i got a chance of getting behind the wheel of Abarth, the 146 BHP made sure that my eyes don’t close for next one week and neither my mouth shut down.
Yes, manufacturers know that these cars are not mass specific but these target a particular genre of customers that are crazy for automobiles. But at the end of the day it’s all about sales & profit figures and that’s where ‘hot hatchback’ concept fails. Maruti Suzuki have Swift Sport selling worldwide but not here despite of the fact that Swift is the most loved product from them.
India is a democratic country and in democracy majority wins. May it be a VW Polo GT TSI or Punto Abarth, the tale of hot hatchbacks in India is still a sad one with a very few of them visible on regular basis.