Already surcharged atmosphere of premium hatchback category of Indian automobile industry has further flared up with the recent advent of new Hyundai Elite i20. Firstly VW staked its claim on this hatchback turf with new 2014 Polo with brand-new powerful diesel engine under its hood. Fiat was then quick to respond and gave the befitted reply in terms of new Punto Evo. Just when it seemed that the supremacy debate had been finally contested between VW and Fiat, Hyundai came along with its own candidature in form of new Elite i20. This latest Korean entrant in list has led to conversion of dual contest into triangular fight and once again we at ECARDLR have decided to referee this bout. Read on to find which one of these three propositions makes more sense and eventually emerge on top on this 3-way fight.
All three cars in this comparison is nothing but beautiful. Each respective manufacturer has given high importance to the styling aspect and it becomes instantly clear with even a casual glance to any of these three cars. Each proposition has got unique styling philosophy that is spot-on in its own way.
Elite i20: Handsome design
Blessed by Fluidic Design philosophy 2.0, this Hyundai wraps an understated air of sleekness that covers this car from head to toe. Low slung nose dominated by large grille, swept back headlamps and excellently designed rear makes this Hyundai every bit of a looker. Latest kid on block i.e. Hyundai i20 is one of the handsomest cars on sale in India now. Modern, elegant and sophisticated in its pretensions, Elite i20 is sure to turn the heads with its majestic presence.
Fiat Punto Evo: Gorgeously styled
Low-slung nose, large grill, swept-back headlamps and a bit muscular chin defines frontage of new Punto Evo.A very proportioned and balanced side view of Evo is a treat for eyes and addition of new 15” alloy wheels gives this Italian beauty quite a robust stance. Rear styling of Evo is characterized by new LED tail lamps and chrome garnished reflectors housed in redesigned rear bumper. Bonnet power bulge and strong shoulder line very subtly lends an air of character to the overall design of this 5-door Italian chariot.
VW POLO: Sleek beauty
VW Polo, on other hand, has got more muscular chin with integrated fog lamps on beefed up new front bumper. New bezel headlamps now have separate elements for high and low beam though on skin these are hardly perceptible. Strong character lines running across the length of Polo, when looked in profile, is capable to win this Teutonic beauty a number of beauty awards.
Although style being subjective in nature, we believe that all these designs will cater to design aspirations of different kind of human beings. Still we think Hyundai has pulled off designing task with aplomb and even though with competent Fiat and VW in fray, Hyundai walks away with design honour.
Elite i20: 4.5 out of 5 Punto Evo: 4 out of 5 VW Polo: 4 out of 5
Elite i20 comes with class leading features and equipment list that gives it edge over the rivals even before this bout starts. True to Hyundai philosophy, the top variants of Elite i20 come loaded with all bells and whistles and on any other day can give even segment higher cars a run for their money. Further adding to cabin appeal is the quality interiors and soothing choice of colours. Top class fit and finish whips up the luring factor as this Hyundai surges ahead of its competitors. VW match to level of Hyundai stitching capabilities with equally well build cabin quality but falls short on flair aspect. Though Polo comes with quality interiors and ergonomic friendly arrangement, it feels pale in front of its Korean counterpart on features front. The Spartan centre console and lack of zing in the overall scheme of interiors hampers its prospects in this comparison test.
Elite i20: Feature-packed cabin
Fiat has given a massive makeover to cabin of new Punto Evo and though now it comes across as hugely improved version over its predecessor, there are still some rough edges that glare right on one’s face. Despite of jump in quality, Punto Evo still requires some more improvement shots; especially on door pads and key-insert areas.
Fiat Punto Evo: Linea owed cabin
Another crucial area where Elite i20 shines very brightly is interior space. With best-in-class wheelbase, Elite i20 is leagues ahead from other two contenders in terms of all-sort of room usually discussed in comparison test. This Korean is roomiest of the three and back seat recline angle is perfect too. With abundance of space and comfortable seats, Elite i20 is sure to strike chord with buyers looking for comfortable hatch.
VW POLO: Lack of Rear Space
Punto Evo and VW Polo fare average on space as both fails to make any positive impression with their available cabin room. Especially the Polo feels most cramped at the rear and though it comes with wonderful front row driving and passenger seats, it fares quite bad on back seat space. Punto Evo does marginally better than Polo but nowhere has it come even close to overall space available in Elite i20.
Elite i20: 4 out of 5 Punto Evo: 3 out of 5 VW Polo: 3 out of 5
UNDER THE HOOD
Elite i20 and VW Polo come with output of 90 PS from their 1.4-lire and 1.5-litre diesel engines respectively. Even on torque front, both the cars are almost equally matched with Polo leading by margin of 10 Nm with total of 230 Nm of max torque in comparison to 220 Nm of Elite i20. Fiat on other hand has slipped in 1.3-litre multi-jet diesel engine under the hood of new Evo that produces the output of 75 PS and 197 of max power and max torque respectively. On paper VW dominated the proceeding with Hyundai closely following and Fiat stacking at number three place. And even in reality the same picture emerges with some minor modifications here and there.
VW POLO: Grunt and Punch
With its higher output resulting from biggest heart Polo leads the charge on highway driving. Its mid-range is gratifying and even the city ambling is good especially compared to its predecessor. New engine has brought in a lot of improvement and new Polo comes across as better drivable proposition.
Elite i20: Refined and city-friendly
But then if one has to choose on aspect of ease of driving and refinement, than Elite i20 fits the bill completely. It’s very smooth, refined and sound inside the cabin is absolutely non-existential. Yes there is some turbo lag that stil haunt this Hyundai motor but it is not something that will act as a big deterrent. However we can’t say the same about the Fiat Punto Evo where the lag problem is indeed very serious in nature.
Punto Evo: Tamed and paled
Punto Evo even with very rev-happy muti-jet diesel engine under its hood fails to invite any praise irrespective of city or highway driving. In city Punto is bogged down bu low drivability while on highway the ability of this Italian beauty is severely hampered by its heavy kerb-weight of 1190 kg. Further the rubbery and imprecise gearshift of Evo further deteriorates the overall feel of engine-transmission duo.
Elite i20: 4 out of 5 Punto Evo: 3 out of 5 VW Polo: 4 out of 5
After a serious debacle in previous round, Punto Evo gets a reprieve in term of wining this ride and handling bout. Undoubtedly and unequivocally Punto Evo is best car when it comes to road manners. No other manufacturer has been able to understand Indian roads better than Fiat and testimony to this is excellent road virtues possessed by all the cars in Fiat’s staple. Punto Evo smoothens out the road, glides over the bumps and remain in its line even in hard cornering.
Punto Evo: Benchmark-level dynamic abilities
Elite i20 is not as competent as Fiat Punto especially on handling front. On ride aspect, one can probably compare and put this Hyundai baby in the same league as of Fiat but even a naïve won’t put these cars in the same league when it comes to handling. Elite i20 has to cover much more miles before it can dream to reach to Fiat finesse and though this new Hyundai is far more accomplished on handling than its predecessor, it still has to evolve further.
Elite i20: Still learning
VW Polo too comes across as a competent dynamic package though it lacks the slow-speed composure as displayed by Fiat in this road test comparison. This German beauty finds itself in a spot as its slow-speed ride is a bit jittery as a bit stiff suspension setting acts as a spoil-sport.
VW Polo: Jittery slow-speed ride
Having said that things improve quickly once Polo gains the momentum and then afterwards it matches with the bright proceedings shown by its rivals especially of Punto Evo. Further on handling front too, Polo stiff suspension and taut chassis keep a strict vigil on any threatening movement of creeping body roll.
Elite i20: 3 out of 5 Punto Evo: 4.5 out of 5 VW Polo: 3 out of 5
On crucial parameter of value for money, all three contenders here score almost equal grade with their respective manufacturers adopting similar pricing strategy. Elite range spreads between Rs 4.89 – 7.67 lakh in comparison to Rs 4.56 – 7.20 lakh and Rs 4.99 – 7.99 lakh of Punto Evo and VW Polo respectively. Fiat Punto Evo comes with heavy inside and outside makeover is best in this lot in terms of dynamic abilities. Even the interiors are better though it lacks the finesses of other two in comparison. VW Polo on the other hand has lot of character and with brand new diesel engine; chassis of Polo has got the power it really deserves. Further the quality interiors and flawless finish make Polo a great cabin to enjoy. But then the ghost of back seat space continuous to haunt Polo even in its new avatar and this is exactly where Elite i20 steps in and seal the deal in its favour. Spacious cabin, quality interiors and impeccable finish make this Hyundai a warrior that is difficult to get past. Add to this the juicy exteriors and Elite i20 emerges as a clear winner among this lot.
Elite i20: 4 out of 5 Punto Evo: 3 out of 5 VW Polo: 3.5 out of 5