Tata Punch vs rivals: sub-compact SUV specs, features and price comparison
Tata Motors has finally launched its much-anticipated sub-compact SUV, the Punch. The pricing of the Tata Punch is very competitive with the features that it offers along with an excellent five-star safety rating at the Global NCAP safety crash test, making it one of the safest cars in the Indian market. We fare the Tata Punch against the sub-compact SUVs like the Renault Kiger, Nissan Magnite and Mahindra KUV100 NXT as well as the hatchbacks that offer similar features like the Maruti Suzuki Ignis, WagonR and Hyundai Grand i10 Nios. We compare the dimensions, powertrains, transmission options, features and pricing of these cars. Whatever you may call it, a compact SUV or a big hatchback, Tata Punch certainly packs a punch for its rivals.
The Tata Punch gets a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine producing 84bhp and 113Nm. In this segment, 1-litre and 1.2-litre petrol engines are constant and are featured on most of the vehicles as seen above in the table. Only the WagonR and Ignis get the smooth 4-cylinder engines producing more or less the same power as the other 3-cylinder nat-asp engines. Even though Punch gets a 3-cyl engine, Tata has managed to keep the engine on the quieter side.
Talking about the transmission options featured in this segment, the Punch gets an MT as well as an AMT but it misses out on a CVT. Only the Kiger and the Magnite in this line of cars receive a CVT gearbox. CVTs are much more refined as compared to AMT and offer a smoother gear shifting experience. The Mahindra KUV100 NXT gets only a manual gearbox. As shown above, most of the vehicles get an AMT option.
If we talk about more power, we do get turbo-petrol engines on offer on the Renault Kiger, Nissan Magnite and Hyundai Grand i10 Nios which produce much more power than the rest of the vehicles on the list. The Punch makes more power than the nat-asp variants of the same cars and would be more effective, considering the sizes of these cars. Having bigger dimensions as compared to the hatchback rivals, the smaller nat-asp engines would not seem to power these compact SUVs sufficiently. The Punch, although, would make a great city commuter and has enough power for the highway runs as well.
The dimensions are where the differentiation between the hatchbacks and sub-compact SUVs takes place. With Punch, Tata has attempted to create a new segment between the hatchbacks and the SUVs. Punch is the longest and widest right after the sister SUVs Magnite and Kiger that are built on the same platform, and the Punch is distinctly less than the sub-four metre size. With more mm’s in length and width, Punch offers spacious interiors as compared to the rest of the rivals. WagonR has the least length but also sits the tallest among all the vehicles in the comparison. Tata Punch sits a little above the centre of the segment when it comes to height, and is just a bit shorter than the WagonR and KUV100 NXT.
With the wheelbase, the Punch gets 2445mm of it, which although closer to the sister SUVs, puts it right in the centre of the segment, with Kiger and Magnite flaunting 2500mm and KUV100 NXT with the least at 2385mm. More wheelbase, means more legroom, and Punch will offer a sufficient amount of it.
The numbers suggest that Punch sits respectably in the centre of this car segment with spacious interiors and adequate legroom as compared to the hatchbacks and the sub-compact SUVs with the compactness of a hatchback and the SUV-esque exterior dimensions, creating a different segment less than the sub-four metre.
Features & Safety
All of the sub-compact SUVs and the hatchbacks come packed with features that are modern-day essential in cars for convenience, comfort and entertainment like the infotainment screens with connectivity, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, ABS, push-button start, keyless entry among others. Tata Punch also gets a rear parking camera, like some of the cars in the segment, and does not fall short in any of the features as compared to its rivals.
Additionally, Punch has received a five-star safety rating at the Global NCAP crash safety test, making it one of the safest vehicles in the Indian market. Tata Punch also gets two drive modes — Eco and City, the only rival that gets drive modes in this segment is the Kiger with three driving modes — Eco, Normal and Sport.
What sets the Punch apart from all the cars in the segment has to be the traction pro mode, a feature missing on all the rivals. The traction pro mode comes in handy when you are in a sticky situation, stuck. It gives you the option to lock the wheel that is stuck and deliver all the power to the wheel that has a grip. The Punch also gets rain-sensing wipers, which is a feature usually on a segment higher.
Tata Punch offers one petrol engine with two transmission options — an MT and an AMT, even then the Punch ranges wide on the price scale from 5.49 lakh to Rs 9.39 lakh for the top of the line AMT variant. The punch comes in four distinct variants — Pure, Adventure, Accomplished and Creative. The Pure being the most basic variant is available only in a manual transmission guise.
Punch draws a distinct, although subtle line between the hatchbacks and the compact SUVs with its price point, more than the hatchbacks but visibly less than the compact SUVs.
The Maruti Suzuki WagonR in this segment is the cheapest with a starting price of Rs 4.93 lakh, whereas the highest starting price among the lot is of the KUV100 NXT at Rs 6.05 lakh.
Although the Magnite and Kiger get a turbo-petrol and a CVT, they still are priced at Rs 10 lakh and Rs 10.09 lakh respectively for the top variant, just Rs 61,000 and Rs 70,000 respectively, more than the Tata Punch’s nat-as, AMT variant. So the Punch for its lower variants offers a great price point, being right in the middle of the hatchbacks and the compact SUVs. In the top of the line variant although, the Kiger and Magnite do have a better deal to offer.
The Tata Punch is absolutely a capable rival in its segment with dimensions, powertrain, safety and features that go either head to head with the competitors or in some cases even better. Although the top-line variant does demand a higher price of Rs 9.39 lakh which is a nat-as AMT, whereas the Kiger and Magnite offer turbo-petrol mated to a CVT for which the price is Rs 10.09 and Rs 10.00 lakh respectively. Which would make you think twice, as the Kiger and Magnite are also a bit bigger in dimensions offering more space. Stay tuned to evo India for the upcoming comparison of the Tata Punch with its rivals.