The premium hatchback space is one of the most exciting segments in the Indian car market right now, particularly because of offerings such as the new Hyundai i20 and the Tata Altroz. While the SUV trend is still growing in India, hatchbacks continue to be the leading body type sold in India. As per data released by Jato dynamics, SUVs comprised 34% of all PV sales in the first quarter of 2021 while hatchbacks made up a majority 42%. Here we have one of the most sought after comparisons in the hatchback segment - Maruti Suzuki Balenovs vs Hyundai i20 vs Tata Altroz - right from their owner's mouth.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno vs vs Hyundai i20 vs Tata Altroz - Styling
In terms of styling, the Hyundai i20 and the Tata Altroz clearly edge ahead of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno. While styling can be subjective and different cars look more attractive from certain angles, the Baleno is the most dated here and desperately feels in need for an update. In comparison, the i20 and the Altroz look much more stylish and contemporary. The Altroz really impressed us with its styling when it was first launched, but in light of the new i20, it is the latter that comes across as most stylish.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno vs vs Hyundai i20 vs Tata Altroz - Interior and Features
As for the interiors, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno faces the same issue as its exterior styling. It feels the most dated and is far behind in terms of features as compared to its rivals. The i20, on the other hand, feels the most techy and modern and is the best equipped as well. However, the all-black theme of the cabin robs away some aesthetics of the i20. In terms of design, it is the Altroz that has the most likeable interior. With a beautiful layered design and multiple textures and colors, the Altroz gets the upper hand here.
As for their features, the i20 is way ahead of the competition. It has the largest infotainment screen in the segment at 10.25-inches. It also gets a fully digital instrument cluster, connected car tech, ambient lighting, and much more. However, for these features, it is also the most expensive in this lot. The Altroz is next best feature loaded car in this comparison. It gets features like rain sensing wipers, semi-digital instrument cluster, cruise control, connected car tech, JBL sound system and much more. The ALtroz is very good value-for-money for the features it has to offer. The Baleno does not come with any standout feature but is at least equipped the essentials that's standard across all three models.
As for space in the second row, it is the i20 that is the most spacious, even for a 6-ft tall person. As shown the video, the i20 has most legroom and headroom. The Baleno comes second and the Altroz feels the most tight in terms of space in the second row. Both the i20 and Altroz get rear AC vents while the Baleno does not. As for their boot space, the Altroz has the largest boot, followed by the Baleno and then the i20.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno vs vs Hyundai i20 vs Tata Altroz - Engine Performance
Under the hood, the Baleno is just offered with one petrol engine option. Meanwhile, both the Altroz and the i20 are offered with as many as three engine options. The Baleno is powered by a sole 83PS 1.2L NA petrol engine. Meanwhile, the engine options on the Hyundai i20 include a 83PS 1.2L NA petrol engine, a 120PS 1.0L turbo-petrol engine and a 100PS 1.5L diesel engine. As for the Altroz, it comes with a 83PS 1.2L, three-cylinder NA petrol engine, a 110PS 1.2L three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine and a 90PS 1.5L diesel engine. All three cars here in the video come with the 1.2L NA petrol engine.
In terms of performance with their 1.2L engines, the Baleno feels the most spirited, primarily because it is the lightest of the lot. The i20 has decent performance and will keep most people happy. Meanwhile, the 1.2L engine on the Altroz feels really lacking. Even with its turbo-petrol engine, the Altroz still lags behind the i20 turbo. Its a similar case with the diesel engine as well. So in terms of engine and performance, it is the i20 that edges ahead.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno vs vs Hyundai i20 vs Tata Altroz - Ride and Handling
We have always loved the Altroz for its superior ride and handling balance and it remains untouched in this regard. It feels the most stable at speed and feels confident around corners. The i20 strikes a fair balance between handling and ride quality and while it does not excel in any particular front, it does nt disappoint either. As for the Baleno, although it has a good ride quality, it is very poor in terms of handling and dynamics.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno vs vs Hyundai i20 vs Tata Altroz - Price
All three models have been featured in their top-spec trims here in this video. The Baleno is most affordable of the lot at about INR 8 lakh (ex-showroom), but for that money you will have to live with a really dated car. The Tata Altroz is priced at about INR 8.50 lakh (ex-showroom) and is great value for money. The i20 is the most expensive here at about INR 10 lakh (ex-showroom) but is packaged well enough to justify its premium price tag.