India has been familiar with the concept of affordable performance cars for a while now. Cars like the Fiat Palio 1.6 and the Mitsubishi Cedia were the flagbearers of the performance segment in India. But they were not able to make a mark at that time because people were not ready to pay extra for some extra performance. But now, the times have changed, people have grown more enthusiastic about cars and are willing to pay extra for that extra bit of performance.
Let’s see what cars you can buy to keep alive the Schumacher inside you while keeping your pockets heavy.
Ford Figo S
If you are looking for a car that offers performance, is fun to drive and take around corners while being light on your wallet, Ford might just have the car for you. Now, you must be thinking what does the Figo S gets over its standard sibling to deserve a place in your garage. Ford has not tinkered with the engines on the Figo S as it gets the same 1.5-litre diesel engine and 1.2-litre petrol engine, but what’s changed are the bigger and chunkier tyres wrapped around 15-inch alloys which provide much better grip than before. Even the suspension setup is different as it gets shorter and stiffer suspension, allowing you to do high-speed manoeuvres while keeping it in control. The price for the Figo S starts at Rs 6.48 lakh for the petrol engine and Rs 7.49 lakh for diesel (Both prices are ex-showroom, Delhi).
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS
Now, if you think that the Figo looks old and you want something fresh and new, here is the Baleno RS. To make the RS sporty, Maruti has packed it with a new 1.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine that produces 102PS of power and 150Nm of torque and a new 5-speed manual gearbox. This combination of the two is capable enough to take it to 100kmph from standstill in 10.52 seconds. To stop this beast in time, the manufacturer has also given disc brakes on all four wheels, which is two more than the standard version. The Baleno RS is priced at Rs 8.37 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), which is about Rs 1.1 lakh more than the standard Baleno Alpha Petrol.
Volkswagen Polo GT TSI
After the funky Figo and the stylish Baleno, we now come to the oldest player in the segment, the Polo GT TSI. It gets a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine which produces 105PS of power and 175Nm of torque. It is mated to a 7-speed DSG gearbox which is very quick to upshift but resists downshift and tends to hold on to higher gears. The Polo GT TSI is the only car to get an automatic DSG gearbox in its segment. To keep you safe when doing high speeds, it is equipped with ESP.The Polo GT TSI can go from 0-100kmph in 10.61 seconds, a tad slower than the Baleno RS. Unlike the RS, it gets disc brakes only at the front. The Polo GT TSI is priced at Rs 9.19 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
After the departure of the Palio a decade ago, Fiat came up with a new hot hatch in its portfolio, the Abarth Punto, a few years back. As the name suggests, it is a Punto which has got the Abarth treatment. It gets a 1.4-litre T-jet petrol engine which produces 145PS of power and 212Nm of torque, making it the most powerful car in the sub-Rs 15 lakh price bracket. This engine is capable enough to shoot the car from 0-100kmh in 9.17 seconds, the quickest in its segment. It’s just not the engine that has been replaced; Fiat has also stiffened the suspension and the car sits now 30mm lower than the standard one. To tame this extra power the Abarth Punto has got all-wheel disc brakes in place. On the outside, it gets 16-inch alloy wheels which allow more grip and stability when the car is pushed to the limit, along with Abarth-inspired graphics. Like the Abarth? You can get one for Rs 9.67 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Fiat Urban Cross
If you are impressed with the powerful Abarth Punto but are looking for something more imposing on the road, here is the Urban Cross for you. It is based on the Avventura Crossover and gets the same 1.4-litre T-jet petrol engine which produces 140PS of power and 210Nm of torque, mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Being a crossover, it gets a ground clearance of 210mm, so you can have fun with this even off the road. To differentiate it from the standard variant, it gets Abarth badging on the rear doors. The tailgate-mounted spare wheel has also been removed. The Urban Cross is priced at Rs 9.77 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
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