The newbie in the premium hatchback segment is the all-new Tata Altroz that joins the fray just at the right time when the market is seeing a trend of premiumisation as entry-level buyers move towards upmarket offerings. Carmakers haven't thronged the segment yet and there is a great market potential, and chance for new models to further expand volumes instead of just competing. Tata Motors will finally enter the segment with the Altroz next month and it's the first models coming off the much talked about ALPHA architecture platform. Read on to know how it takes on the competition in terms of specifications.
|Dimensions||Tata Altroz||Maruti Suzuki Baleno||Hyundai i20||Honda Jazz|
|Length||3990 mm||3995 mm||3985 mm||3955 mm|
|Width||1755 mm||1745 mm||1734 mm||1654 mm|
|Height||1523 mm||1510 mm||1505 mm||1544 mm|
|Wheelbase||2501 mm||2520 mm||2570 mm||2530 mm|
|Ground Clearance||165 mm||170 mm||170 mm||165 mm|
|Tyre Size||14-inch / 16 inch||15-inch / 16-inch||14-inch / 16-inch||14-inch / 15-inch|
Looks have always been subjective to talk about and opinions will always vary in this regard. In our book, the Altroz definitely looks the sharpest of all and the hunkered down stance with protruding hood line make for a strong impression. The IMPCAT 2.0 design philosophy works well giving it a very sleek wraparound front and plenty sculpting across proportions do wonder to make it the most aggressive and stylish looking premium hatches around. Elements like piano black highlights on the profile and rear blend really well with some body colours and make it look sporty. The proportion of the Altroz is also more or less in-line with the competition. It is the widest model on offer in the segment and only marginally shorter in length than the Baleno and in height than the Jazz. However, at 2501 mm it has the shortest wheelbase. But going by our review, it looks that Tata Motors has made proper use of the wheelbase as the legroom seems to be adequate. At 165 mm, the ground clearance is just 5 mm shorter than the Baleno and i20.
The Maruti Suzuki Baleno despite the facelift looks a bit understated but that is actually something which buyers prefer, more so because that design looks more mature and sophisticated. Though, there is no such element that pulls your attention at the first glance, altogether it looks a thoughtfully put together and better proportionate model, very urban in nature and we love that part about its looks. Nothing looks overdone on the Baleno, be it the use of chrome on its face or muscles on the fenders and haunches. The Baleno has the class leading length and stands second in terms of width and wheelbase. It also offers 15-inch steel rims and 16-inch alloy rims while the Altroz and i20 offer 14-inch steel rim on lower variants and 16-inch alloy wheels on top trims. The Honda Jazz offers 14-inch steels rims on lower variants and 15-inch alloy wheels on higher variants.
That said, the Hyundai i20 looks more angular and in-turn young and athletic. It makes a stronger road presence and that wide cascade grille actually adds a sense of boldness in its appeal. Even this model is not out of proportion and the rear gives an impression of being a bit wider than it actually is. The facelift had done a couple of changes to its design like the licence plate at the rear now moved to the boot gate and the single unit grille is a dash bigger. Surprisingly, the i20 is shorter and narrower than the Altroz and Baleno but offers a class leading wheelbase and by quite a margin. It is the shortest of all in height which does make ingress and egress a hassle but works for the looks.
The Honda Jazz can safely be termed as the tall boy among the premium hatches. It is the tallest of the lot, however falls marginally short in height and width. The wheelbase is 10 mm more than the Baleno and Honda has used that space between the wheels quite well, it doesn't feel short on the inside. It boasts the typical Japanese design with a tapering A-Pillar that falls onto the diving bonnet while there are some creases and sculpting in the profile to not make it look bland. The boot gate too is a short while the rear bumper is quite tall and that makes loading and unloading things, bit of a task. One more grouse that we have is that while all other models offer projector headlamps on the top-end variants, why the Jazz misses one. It would have helped it fit in better in the premium segment category.
|Interiors||Tata Altroz||Maruti Suzuki Baleno||Hyundai i20||Honda Jazz|
Car buyers nowadays are obsessed with touchscreens and carmakers are putting their best foot forward to make it as intuitive as possible and it goes a long way in doing justice with the premium quotient of the car. The Altroz too gets the 7-inch unit from the Nexon but Tata Motors needs to understand that size alone cannot match the sheen of the screens that the competitions offer. Though it has got all the essentials like smartphone connectivity and a premium Harman sourced sound system, but the overall packaging in the screen doesn't appeal with the resolution. In fact, plenty elements in the cabin like the grey textured plastic or the curved charcoal grey palette covering the length of the dashboard are a carryover from the Nexon and so we have the same complaints with the quality. That said, the design is something where Tata Motors hasn't failed to impress us even on the inside. Be it the segmentation of the dashboard or the upright central console, everything looks neat and contemporary. Even charcoal grey highlights on the central console and door pads are well executed. The cabin is practical as well with lots of space to store knick-knacks and at 345-litres it has the second largest boot in the segment. A special mention about the doors that open 90-degrees making ingress and egress a breeze.
Maruti Suzuki is quite proud of its new 7.0-inch Smartplay 2.0 infotainment system and the Baleno was the second model to receive it. Well! It is the most intuitive system in business, at least in its segment, primarily due to its layout and high resolution and that favours the premium quotient of the car. The interior is finished in all-black and while we do have some issues with the fit and finish, it doesn't bother much. The top end Baleno also gets silver fringes around the central console and air-con vents along with contrasting seat fabric. At 339-litres it offers a decent sized boot as well.
Any Hyundai has never failed to impress on the inside and the i20 has it as one of its core strengths. The fit and finish is top notch and the material quality too is A-Grade by segment standards and the facelifted model gets a new tooth-hound pattern on the seat fabric which looks upmarket. The design itself is very neat and the use of colours (black and peach beige) goes well together. If anything, there are still many switched on the central console which could have been replaced with rotary knobs which are easier to operate. The 7-inch touchscreen unit isn't as intuitive as the one on Baleno but does the Job quite well with all sorts of smartphone connectivity options. That said, it has the smallest boot of 285-litres and that can be a problem to pack-in for four.
The Honda Jazz also offers all the essentials on the inside, but the cabin doesn't feel as premium as you would expect in a Honda. The use of beige inside is too bright and it contrasts a bit too much with the black. Also thee piano black touches are prone to dust and would require TLC in the long run. The 7-inch unit even here offers everything technically to match the competition but Jazz's biggest strength is the huge 354-litres boot that is the best-in-class.
All models here are offered with a petrol and diesel engine. The i20 though also gets a bigger 1.4-litre engine with a 4-speed automatic transmission but we have excluded it in this comparison because it exceeds the tax criteria of a sub-four metre model which can only have a petrol engine of up to 1200 cc.
|Petrol||Tata Altroz||Maruti Suzuki Baleno||Hyundai i20||Honda Jazz|
|Displacement||1199 cc||1197 cc||1197 cc||1199 cc|
|Max Output||81 bhp @ 6000 rpm||81 bhp @ 6000 rpm||81 bhp @ 6000 rpm||85 bhp @ 6000 rpm|
|Max Torque||113 Nm @ 3300 rpm||113 Nm @ 4200 rpm||115 Nm @ 4000 rpm||110 Nm @ 4800 rpm|
|Transmission||5-Speed M/T||5- Speed M/T & CVT||5-Speed M/T||5-Speed M/T & CVT|
All four cars here get a 1.2-litre petrol unit but the Altroz has a three-cylinder motor while all other models have four-cylinder units. The Honda Jazz here is marginally more powerful at 85 bhp at 6000 rpm while all other models offer 81 bhp at 6000 rpm. The Hyundai i20 offers better torque of 115 Nm at higher revs while the Jazz offers least torque at 110 Nm but that is accessible till 4800 rpm. The Baleno and Altroz both have 113 Nm on tap but it's the Baleno that can be revved hard with a torque band of 4200 rpm while it tapers off in the Altroz after 3300 rpm. The 1.2-litre motors in all four are mated to a 5-speed manual transmission as standard but the Baleno and Jazz also gets a CVT unit as an option. That said, Tata Motors has hinted at introducing a more potent gearbox in the petrol Altroz very soon.
|Diesel||Tata Altroz||Maruti Suzuki Baleno||Hyundai i20||Honda Jazz|
|Displacement||1497 cc||1248 cc||1396 cc||1498 cc|
|No. Of Cylinders||4||4||4||4|
|Max Output||87 bhp @ 4000 rpm||72 bhp @ 4000 rpm||87 bhp @ 4000 rpm||96 bhp @ 3600 rpm|
|Max Torque||200 Nm 1250 - 3000 rpm||190 Nm @ 2000 rpm||220 Nm @ 1250 - 2750 rpm||200 Nm @ 1750 rpm|
|Transmission||5-Speed M/T||5-Speed M/T||6-speed M/T||6-Speed M/T|
The Maruti Suzuki Baleno diesel on paper is the least powerful model here. It has the fiat sourced 1.3-litre, four-cylinder unit under the hood that makes the least power and torque. The Hyundai i20 gets a 1.4-litre unit that is as powerful as the 1.5-litre unit on the Altroz but the i20 offers 20 Nm more torque in about similar rev band. The Honda Jazz on other hand promises more power and torque, but that figure is faltered with a very limited rev band of 96 bhp at 3600 rpm and 200 nm at just 1750 rpm. The diesel motors on the Altroz and Baleno are mated to a five-speed manual gearbox as standard while the i20 and Jazz get a six-speed manual unit.
|Specifications||Tata Altroz||Maruti Suzuki Baleno||Hyundai i20||Honda Jazz|
|Turning Radius||5.0 m||4.9 m||N.A.||5.1 m|
|Kerb Weight||N.A.||865 kg - 890 kg||N.A.||1042 kg - 1155 kg|
A big deciding factor in terms of performance is the kerb weight of the vehicle and a tight turning radius ensures ease of driving along with keeping oversteer and understeer in check. Now we don't have the figures for the Altroz and i20 but we do realize that at 890 kg the Baleno can be quicker even with fewer grunts in the motor, thanks to the light and sturdy heartect platform. Similarly, the Jazz which is about 200 kg heavier need not be as fast with a limited rev band and extra weight.
We don't know the turning radius of the i20 but with 4.9 m and 5.0 m, the Baleno and Altroz should be easy to potter around with even in tight traffic and narrow streets of the Indian cities.
So being a premium hatchback all four of them get the requisite features like auto climate control, smartphone connectivity with 7-inch touchscreen units, front armrests, auto wash-wipe, rear defogger and four-door power windows among others. However, there are tiny extras that some offer and some lack a few standard fitments. For starters, the Altroz and i20 get an edge offering rear air-con vents while the Altroz also offers ambient lighting around the central console which is a first in segment. As mentioned, the Honda Jazz misses on projector headlamps while the Baleno doesn't offer an armrest on the rear seat and both miss out on rear air-con vents.
All models come standard with dual airbags, antilock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), rear parking sensors, speed-alert warning and seatbelt reminder and we already know that the Baleno, i20 and Jazz have classified as safe cars to meet the upcoming safety regulations. Having said that, Tata Motors has alluded that the Altroz has been designed to repeat the history and match the strength of the Nexon which was the first made-in-India car to score a five-star crash test rating.