Quickest budget hatchbacks for drag racing

Quickest budget hatchbacks for drag racing in India

Here’s a list of the quickest budget hatchbacks in India, which you can kick-start your drag racing journey with. Since there aren’t too many new options on sale, this list includes both new and pre-owned examples, along with their quarter mile (402-metre) times.

7. Hyundai i20 N Line DCT: 17.71s

Hyundai i20 N Line DCT

The Hyundai i20 N Line is the only affordable, sporty hatchback currently on sale. It is available with a 120hp, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, with either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. We’ve extensively tested the latter and its quarter mile time is 17.71 seconds, the slowest of the bunch here. Expect the manual to be half a second quicker, as it does support more aggressive launches off the line, unlike the automatic iteration.

6. Maruti Baleno RS: 17.36s

Maruti Baleno RS

The Baleno RS is a sportier iteration of the Baleno, premium hatchback. Maruti launched it with a 100hp, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and a 5-speed manual gearbox. Besides the higher torque than the standard petrol Baleno, the RS also had a tweaked chassis and it weighed under 1 tonne (950kg), making it more fun to drive than the standard version. In our drag races held in 2018, the Baleno RS managed to complete the quarter mile sprint in 17.36 seconds. Watch the Baleno RS take on the Abarth Punto here.

5. Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo: 17.1s

Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo

For a short duration, Hyundai introduced the Grand i10 Nios with a 100hp, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The lightweight Nios was among the quickest sprinters, accelerating from 0-100kph in just 9.8 seconds. However, its unusually tall gearing dulled acceleration post 100kph, which is why in our races held in 2021, its best quarter mile time was 17.1 seconds, putting it at the number eight spot on this list. Watch how the Nios Turbo fared against the Polo TSI here

4. Ford Figo diesel: 16.98s

Ford Figo S

The headline figure of the Ford Figo was the 215Nm of torque, which its 100hp, 1.5-litre turbo-diesel produced. Coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission with well-judged gear ratios and a sorted suspension tune, the Figo impressed with its sprinting abilities when we raced it in 2019, where it clocked 16.98 seconds. Watch the Figo diesel trounce the Polo GT TDI here

3. Citroen C3 Turbo: 16.84s

Citroen C3 Turbo

A car that amazed us with its rapid acceleration is the Citroen C3 Turbo, which is powered by a 110hp, 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine that is paired to a slick-shifting 6-speed manual gearbox. In our drag races held in 2023, it punched above its weight and beat a 131hp Mahindra XUV300 T-GDI, clocking a quarter mile time of an impressive 16.84 seconds. Watch the video here.

2. Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI: 16.36s

Volkswagen Polo TSI MT

The Polo sold in India with multiple engines throughout its 12-year stint – a 1.2-litre petrol, a 1.6-litre petrol, a 1.2-litre diesel, a 1.6-litre diesel, a 1.5-litre diesel, a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol, a 1.0-litre petrol, and, finally, a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol. The sportiest of these is the 110hp, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol with its 6-speed manual transmission, which raced to the finish line at the end of the quarter mile in just 16.36 seconds in 2021, four-hundredths of a second slower than hatchback at number four on this list. The Polo TSI took on the Figo S diesel at last year's drag races, which you can catch here.

1. Fiat Abarth Punto: 16.32s

Fiat Abarth Punto

The Fiat Abarth Punto packed the strongest performance this side of Rs 10 lakh. It was powered by a 145hp, 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engine, which delivered its tidal wave of torque in a rather dramatic manner. The 5-speed manual’s shifts aren’t as slick as some others on this list, neither is its clutch the easiest to modulate. However, get it right and the Abarth Punto will complete the quarter mile run faster than any other affordable hatchback, in just 16.32 seconds. Watch the Abarth Punto beat the Polo TSI here. Also watch a 170hp tuned Abarth Punto take on a stock model here.

Also see:

Budget Diwali rockets: 5 quickest cars under Rs 15 lakh

Top 10 quickest electric cars, SUVs in India

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