The new-gen Maruti Suzuki Swift, the Hyundai Elite i20 facelift, and the Honda Jazz facelift are set to mark their presence this year

Last year, we saw some significant car launches like the next-generation Maruti Suzuki Dzire and the Hyundai Verna apart from completely new models such as the Tata Nexon and the Renault Captur. The year 2018 is expected to continue the momentum forwards in the automotive industry. This time around, the focus will be more on newer hatchbacks though. Let’s get straight to the list of upcoming hatchbacks that are set to make their way into the country in 2018.

Starting with Hyundai, the carmaker is readying the facelift of its premium hatchback, the Elite i20, which is expected to be unveiled at the upcoming Auto Expo 2018. The launch is expected to take place later in the year.  Inspired by its elder cousin Hyundai Verna, the i20 is set to get changes that are skin deep. It will feature Hyundai’s new family grille and is expected to get different headlamps and fog lamps units, diamond-cut alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights (DRLs) among others. Both the engines – the 1.2-litre petrol and the 1.4-litre diesel – are likely to be carried forward from the present hatchback.

Some say it will come with the Santro badge while others say it’ll bear a completely new name. Whatever it is, this small car has had us intrigued from the time it was announced. The small car with a tall boy design is expected to offer more headroom and increased interior space compared to some of the other entry-level offerings like the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 and Alto K10. The car is expected to be loaded to the brim just like a typical Hyundai. If showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo, the concept could be the Korean carmaker’s showstopper at its pavilion.

The Ford Figo facelift is also expected to be launched this year The company’s most affordable offering in the country is expected to feature subtle changes on the outside, which could include a reworked front fascia.  The interiors are likely to be bestowed with the 6.5-inch SYNC 3 touchscreen unit from the lower variants of the EcoSport. While the 1.2-litre petrol engine is likely to be swapped with the Dragon series 1.2-litre motor, the 1.5-litre diesel will continue to serve its duty under the Figo’s bonnet.

The American automaker is working on the cross-hatch version of the Figo hatchback. The pumped-up Figo Cross gets a raised stance than its stock cousin along with body decals, plastic cladding all-around the body and newer alloy wheels. The Cross’ cabin is expected to get updated upholstery and a new touchscreen infotainment system. It is likely to get the new 1.2-litre Dragon series petrol engine along with the 1.5-litre diesel engine seen in the regular hatchback and compact sedan versions of the Figo.

Slated to be the biggest launch of the year, the Maruti Suzuki Swift will be launched at the 2018 Auto Expo. The popular Suzuki offering will borrow most of the internal bits from its new-gen compact sedan derivative, the Dzire. Like the BalenoIgnis and the Dzire, the new-gen hatchback is underpinned by the Heartect platform that helps make it lighter than ever before. With the reduced weight and same set of engines, the fun-to-drive character of the Swift is likely to climb a rung higher. Apart from the 5-speed manual gearbox, the Swift, like the Dzire that came before it, is expected to feature the AMT (automated manual transmission) option with both the 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines. 

The electric version of the Tata Tiago is likely to debut this year. The upcoming electric vehicle from Tata is likely to be powered by an 85-kilowatt motor which makes 200Nm of peak torque and is expected to have a range of 100km. Developed by the European Technical Centre, the Tiago Electric accelerates from 0-100kmph in 11 seconds and has a top speed of 135kmph. In Tata displayed the production model of the Tiago electric in September last year. Hence, we expect it to be launched in the first half of this year with a showcase at the next month’s expo.

Mahindra’s name is bound to come up everytime someone talks about electric cars in India. The homegrown automaker is gearing to launch an electric version of the KUV100 in 2018. Expected to be powered by the Mahindra e2o’s 19kW motor, the e-KUV100 will put out a max torque of 70Nm. Mahindra could stack up some kilowatts to increase power output though. We’re expecting it to be up showcased at the upcoming 2018 Auto Expo.

Although we expect Honda to launch the new-gen CR-V at the expo next month, the Japanese carmaker could use the opportunity to launch an updated version of the Jazz hatchback as well. The Elite i20-rival is expected to get a mild facelift with changes mostly limited to the grille, headlamps, tail lamps and bumpers. Expect a new set of 15-inch alloy wheels as well. The refreshed Jazz is likely to get Honda’s Digiplay touchscreen infotainment system that we’ve seen in the City and the WR-V. With respect to engines, the updated hatchback is expected to carry forward the engine-gearbox transmission as before. So expect a 5-speed manual or a CVT gearbox paired with the 1.2-litre petrol motor along with a 1.5-litre diesel engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission as well.