Hatchbacks are certainly going to be the talk of town in 2018 as a number of manufacturers are going to bring in a whole bunch of offerings to the segment. Though SUVs have been a dominant segment for the past couple of years, hatchbacks, may they be small cars or premium ones have always been fun to drive. Everyone, right from Maruti Suzuki to Hyundai to even Ford have are looking to enter the segment. While some will be new generation models, some are facelifts and some will get updated features. We take a look at all the upcoming hatchbacks of 2018.
Datsun redi-GO AMT
The Datsun redi-GO was launched in India back in June 2016, while the 1.0-litre version of the car went on sale in the country about a year later in July 2017. The redi-GO AMT was obviously on the cards all that was remaining to know was when, and we finally have an answer for that as well. Although the company hasn't announced a launch date yet, we expect the car to be launched towards the end of January. Like we saw with the Renault Kwid, Datsun will also be offering the redi-GO AMT only with the 1.0 version of the car, while the 0.8-litre model will continue to use the existing 5-speed manual gearbox. Powering the car will be the same 999 cc iSAT engine that makes 67 bhp and develops a peak torque of 91 Nm. The automatic version will come mated to a 5-speed AMT unit. Although, we are but curious to see whether Datsun will go with the conventional gear lever or a rotary dial system like the one we get in the Renault Kwid AMT.
Maruti Suzuki Swift
The new-gen Maruti Suzuki Swift is clearly one of the most-awaited car launches of 2018. Expected to go on sale in India in the next couple of months, some of the Maruti Suzuki dealers have now started accepting bookings for the car for ₹ 11,000. Maruti Suzuki has already stopped the production of the previous-gen Swift hatchback and dealers have confirmed that the dispatches have stopped. The new-gen Maruti Suzuki Swift will be based on the company's new lighter and rigid HEARTECT design platform, which also underpins the new-gen Dzire that was launched in India last year. The new Swift also gets a major design and styling overhaul with new bold single-frame grille flanked by the bug-like headlamps with projector units and LED daytime running lamps and LED taillights. The car also gets new sportier alloys, a floating-style roof design with blackened B-pillar, and new front a rear bumper. The new Swift will also get an extensively updated cabin similar to the Dzire with a flat-bottom steering wheel, new infotainment system and other improved features.
Ford Figo Cross
Come 2018 and Ford India will be the latest carmaker to join the hatchback-SUV crossover club with the Figo based crossover. The model has been in the works for a while now and was recently spied sans camouflage revealing the new offering. The Ford Figo Cross, as it might be called, is based on the current generation Figo hatchback but comes with additional body cladding, new features and an updated design too. The leaked images do show the model being ready for launch and could be showcased at the upcoming 2018 Auto Expo. The Figo Cross will lock horns against the Hyundai i20 Active, Toyota Etios Cross, Fiat Urban Cross and the likes in the segment. Inside, the new Ford Figo Cross gets an updated dashboard, which will make it to the Figo/Aspire facelift as well. More prominently, there's a new and massive floating touchscreen infotainment system borrowed from the EcoSport facelift. The system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Ford's SYNC3 connectivity system.
Hyundai is all set to revive the Santro nameplate in the Indian market and that's good news for all of us. In fact we hope to see the car at the 2018 Auto Expo and the launch will happen soon after. However, the company has been extensively testing the car in India and we have some spy shots that give us a glimpse into what to expect. Judging by the images, this particular model appears to be one of the top-spec versions of the upcoming Hyundai Santro based on some of the exterior features that are visible. For instance, the car comes with a rear windshield wiper along with a set of block headlamps, and high mounted taillamps. Also, the car gets a set of nice wheel covers, which we believe will be offered even in the top-end model, considering the new Santro will be priced quite aggressively.
Tata Motors Premium Hatch
Tata Motors is planning to launch its first new car based on the new AMP or Advanced Modular Platform. The premium hatchback will take on the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno and Hyundai i20. Codenamed as X451, the new premium hatchback from Tata Motors is expected to be launched in India in 2019. Seeing the current design language of Tata's latest models - the Tiago, Tigor, and the Nexon, it's clear that visually, the upcoming premium hatchback will also be a lot more advanced and stylish compared to the competition. Tata will keep the upcoming premium hatchback car under 4-metre in length, similar to the other cars in this segment. Specifications and other technical details of the car will still take some time to be revealed, but, in terms of powertrain options, we expect the new premium hatchback to come with the same petrol and diesel engines that do duty on the Tiago. The engines, however, will be offered in a higher state of tune and there is a change that Tata might consider offering the Nexon's turbocharged units with the new premium hatchback.
Hyundai i20 Facelift
The upcoming Hyundai i20 facelift will come with a bunch of styling upgrades and some new features as well. The car is expected to be launched sometime next year and there is a change Hyundai might do it at the 2018 Auto Expo itself. While Hyundai has already updated the Grand i10 and the Xcent sedan, and the new-gen Verna is also on sale now, the i20 is the only car that has not received an update. Mechanically, we do not expect to see any changes, so the Hyundai i20 facelift is very much likely to continue to get the same 82 bhp 1.2-litre Kappa Dual VTVT petrol engine mated to a 5-speed manual unit, and an 89 bhp 1.4-litre U2 CRDI diesel engine paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The car also gets a more powerful 99 bhp 1.4-litre dual VTVT petrol engine that comes mated to a 4-speed automatic torque converter. The car will continue to rival the likes of Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Volkswagen Polo and even Tata's all-new premium hatch based on the company's new AMP platform.