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Three good looking hatchbacks, all powered by 1.2-litre mills and manufactured by the best in the business – the Hyundai i10, the reigning champion in the segment, the urbane Ritz from India’s number one carmaker Maruti Suzuki and the newly launched and much talked about Chevrolet Beat. With options such as these, we are definitely spoilt for choice and also a little confused at the same time. This isn’t going to be easy, so grab your steaming cuppa and keep your senses focused as we speed ahead. The overall abilities of the three cars are almost on par with each other. Thus, even the slightest of advantage could have a major impact on the verdict.

The first look

The Beat and the i10 are essentially Korean cars. The Beat has been designed by boffins at the GM-Daewoo design studio in South Korea and the end product is an absolute eye grabber. The first thing that commands your attention is the oversized front and the chunky grille flaunting the Chevrolet bow-tie. This gives the Beat a very dynamic stance. The high waistline and sloped roof with rails on top make the car look interesting from the side as well. To give a two-door appearance, the rear door handles have been disguised in the C pillars. These look good but do eat up the rear window glass and can seem claustrophobic to some. Like I mentioned in the first drive article on the Beat (January ‘10 issue), the large chrome trimmed tail lamps disappoint me. But that’s it. Much to my delight, the Beat looks radical overall and remains true to the concept design.

While we are still musing about radical designs, Maruti’s attempt of making the Ritz futuristic has not succeeded to the extent they would have expected it to. The biggest letdown is the car’s sliced rear and the large boomerang shaped tail lights. Yes, it does look distinct, but not in the best sense of the word. The more subtle Hyundai i10 crawls ahead of the Ritz in terms of design and appeal. But the showstopper among the three is the Beat with its futuristic lines and aggressive stance. The Beat knocks out the others in this round.

 

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