Hatchbacks have become fairly popular in recent years. Hatchbacks have a huge following and the practicality they provide is incomparable. They are usually cheaper to buy and maintain as well as they are cheaper to run since they are mostly equipped with smaller fuel efficient engines. Being small makes them easy to drive and park, especially in the cities that have become traffic nightmares. They can be an ideal candidate for people who are buying their first car on a budget or are looking for a second car that can be used as a grocery getter. So yes, I think it’s fair to say their utility cannot be disputed.
In the past, Pak Suzuki was the leader in this segment since there were no imports and no other local manufacturers were offering any car in the segment. But things have started to change in the last few years with not only the imported cars but also the fact that local manufacturers have started to offer hatchbacks as well.
In this blog we will be talking about all the new hatchbacks you can buy in Pakistan right now. Although there are a lot of options available if you count the used car market that not only contains hatchbacks of the past but also all the funky looking 660cc imported cars that you now see on our roads. But for the sake of some structure, we are only going to be talking about the new hatchbacks you can buy from manufacturers in this blog and maybe we can do another blog with used hatchbacks as well.
Let’s start with Suzuki hatchbacks since they are undoubtedly the kings of hatches in Pakistan. Suzuki cars have always been known for their reliability and “cheap” price tag (well this is something that has changed in last few years but let’s not focus on this aspect for now). So lets start with their cheapest car and work our way up to the most expensive model in their menu.
Alto was launched after the ever-beloved Suzuki Mehran was discontinued in 2019 and Alto was supposed to be the next “budget” car in Pak Suzuki’s arsenal. It is the same shape Alto that is available in Japan and has been imported in Pakistan as well with far more features and arguably better build quality than the local Alto.
Suzuki Alto comes in three variants:
- Alto VX (PKR 1,306,000)
- Alto VXR (PKR 1,546,000)
- Alto VXL-AGS (PKR 1,747,000)
VX is the most basic one that doesn’t even come with seatbelts for back seat passengers whereas the VXR has something like air conditioner and airbags as standard. The VXL-AGS is the top of the line model with all the bells and whistles Pak Suzuki has deemed necessary to offer. In fact, if you look around inside the local Alto, you will find a lot of empty covered up button spaces on its dashboard that are actually various operational switches in imported Alto.
Alto comes with a super fuel efficient 660cc petrol engine. It is also the first locally produced car to ever come with a 660cc engine. You can either get a 5-speed manual or Suzuki’s notorious AGS (Auto Gear Shift) automatic transmission system.
It was one of the first relatively newer-model vehicles launched by Suzuki Pakistan followed by the new Cultus and then the new Alto. The WagonR was launched by Pak Suzuki in 2014. The Wagon R is available in following variants:
- WagonR VXR (PKR 1,877,000)
- WagonR VXL (PKR 1,975,000)
- WagonR AGS (PKR 2,158,000)
At the time of the launch, it was not supposed to be the replacement of any car, but a new addition to Suzuki’s lineup. Although initially there was some resistance from the buyers due its unconventional shape and tall height, soon people realised that this car is more than what it seems.
It’s cheap to maintain, cheap to run since the engine is pretty fuel efficient, and has good cabin room for a small hatchback. The headroom is very good; maybe the best in its class thanks to its tall height. There is no point talking about the visuals of the car, since beauty is subjective. But due to its tall height, some might not consider it a good looking car. But as I said, that is subjective.
Since it’s a locally produced car, you will never have to worry about not being able to find any parts. Suzuki has a large countrywide 3S dealership system. Even if you do not want to go to the 3S dealerships, you can always go to 3rd party mechanics and part shops that sell genuine parts and literally everything is readily available all over Pakistan.
The new shape of Cultus was launched in Pakistan in April of 2017. A fun fact, if you want to call it that, the Cultus was launched at the price of around 14lac in 2017. Now the price is 2.4 million for the brand new top of the line AGS version. The prices took a hefty bump thanks to the 2022 mini-budget that imposed more taxes. Cutlus is available in following variants:
- Cultus VXR (PKR 2,030,000)
- Cultus VXL (PKR 2,244,000)
- Cultus AGS (PKR 2,422,000)
The new Cultus was launched with Suzuki’s 3-cylinder 1000cc K10 engine. The engine and the 5-speed manual gearbox available in the car are a pretty good combo actually. The engine provides decent torque that makes driving in the city’s slow traffic quite easier. If you are in 2nd gear, and the car is about to come to a halt, just give it a little race and the car will happily speed up. Basically you don’t need to change gears all the time.
Since this engine was previously introduced in WagonR years ago, people are fairly familiar with it and maintaining it is not a problem at all. Since Pak Suzuki is everywhere, getting hold of spare parts is not an issue. They are slightly expensive to be fair but they are easily available.
I am mentioning this because there is a chance the new Swift has already been launched when you are reading this blog in the future. The current 1300cc fuel guzzling Swift has already been discontinued by the company and new 1.2 Swift is expected to be launched in the February of 2022. The new Swift has already been spotted several times. There isn’t much known about the upcoming Swift, but something can be carefully guessed, like its 1.2L engine. Or that it will come with both the 5-speed manual and an automatic transmission. Whether that transmission is going to a CVT or AGS, that is yet to be seen.
The price is also rumoured to be around 2.7 to 2.9 million which is frankly ridiculous for a hatchback but considering the new top of the line Cultus now costs 2.4 million, it pretty much is possible for Swift as well.
It would not be wrong to say that Picanto by Kia is arguably the first headon competitor to Suzuki’s any hatchback; more specifically, Suzuki Cultus. Kia Picanto is available in following variants:
- Picanto 1.0 Manual (PKR 2,186,000)
- Picanto 1.0 Automatic (PKR 2,292,000)
One of the biggest selling points of Picanto is its build quality. The car is far better than in terms of fit and finish compared to its competitors like the Suzuki Cultus. However, the downside is that it is slightly cramped especially for the rear passengers and has not that great fuel economy than the new Cultus.
Where Cultus can easily cross 17 km/l, the Picanto usually hovers around 13 km/l. But if you can bear the relatively poor fuel average against the better build quality of the car, the Picanto is one for you.
United Motors, one of those small companies that stand alone in the pool of big sharks like Kia and Suzuki, has two cars to offer in the hatchback segment.
Although in the past there have been others, like Fiat Uno, but in more recent history, the United were the first local car company to offer a hatchback other than Pak Suzuki. Bravo was launched in 2018 and is available in only one variant:
- United Bravo (PKR 1,149,000)
There was a lot of anticipation around Bravo’s launch since people were in dire need of an affordable local hatchback since Mehran was still a thing back then and people wanted an alternative. Initially the car had some quality control issues but with the passage of time United improved on some of the things. It was launched for Rs 850,000 back in 2018.
United Bravo comes with a 3-cylinder 800cc engine that is pretty similar to Mehran’s engine. The engine parts are mostly swappable among the two. The gearbox is also 4-speed, just like Mehran’s. As for the average is concerned, you can get somewhere around 14 to 16 km/l.
There are a few things that are available in Bravo that were not offered in something like Mehran. It comes with LED brake lights, coloured side mirrors, keyless entry, the boot opens with a button inside the cabin, the dashboard itself kind of looks premium with a touch of wood texture and silver highlights, and even touch screen with reverse camera and parking sensors to name a few. The Bravo has many such small details that add value to the overall package. One of the quirks of the car is the placement of its spare tyre. United literally gives the spare tyre wrapped in United branded cover standing in the already small boot of the car. There is no proper spare wheel holding space in Bravo.
After Bravo, United Pakistan decided to launch another hatchback, and that was United Alpha. Like Bravo, Alpha is available in only one variant as well.
- United Alpha 1000cc (PKR 1,399,000)
Alpha was launched at the start of 2021 and comes with a 1000cc DOHC 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed manual transmission. The car can do 13 to 14 km/l within the city. If you remember the old Chinese hatchback, the Cherry QQ launched years and years ago in Pakistan, the new Alpha is basically the next generation of that car. It is bigger than the Bravo and Suzuki Alto.
Like other Chinese cars on the list including its smaller sibling Bravo, the Alphas also comes with a lot of features. Some are just gimmicks whereas some are actually useful like the fact you can put all 4 windows up or down by long pressing a button on its key remote. The build quality is probably not that great and you can see it in the shape of its misaligned panels and cheap plastic interior. Cabin noise is also a problem.
Both Bravo and Alpha are new to Pakistan. It takes time for companies to make their mark and gather aftermarket support like Mehran or other cars that have been in Pakistan for a long period of time. So keep in mind before you buy any of these cars.
Pearl is maybe the odd one from this list. It stands on its own in a weird way like it is trying to compete with other local hatchbacks with its low price point but the competition is already pretty tough in this category. Prince Pearl comes in only one variant and is priced at PKR 1,334,000 at least for now.
Talking about powertrain, it comes with a 796 cc 3-cylinder petrol engine that is mated to a 4-speed manual gearbox. The car makes 40 bhp. That is smidge more than the new 660cc Alto makes by the way (29kW/38bhp). The car does around 10 to 12 km/l within the city making it far more heavier on the fuel compared to something like an EFi Mehran that can do 15 to 17 km/l. Prince Pearl is the 3rd car in Pakistan that was launched with a 800cc engine. First was Mehran, then the United Bravo and then Pearl. The Pearl was launched in January of 2020.
Initially, the car had some quality issues. Maybe not as many as United Bravo had, but there were still some problems that were highlighted by the customers. The panels and gaps don’t match exactly like they should for a new car. But there are a lot of small gimmicky features like LEDs, digital cluster and touch panel, and unnecessary dashboard curves and styling with generous use of silver plastic, trying hard to make it seem like a premium product. The dashboard does look futuristic, but the quality is kind of questionable. It does come with some good features like keyless entry, power windows, power steering, etc. Like Bravo, all these little things add value to the overall package.
The car is a little bigger than the Bravo especially for the rear passengers. The engine makes a little too much noise for its size. You get a full size spare wheel instead of a puncture repair kit. If you are looking to buy one, make sure you have their dealership near you. Since it is a new car in the market, the aftermarket support is definitely a question.
Probably the least renowned among this list. Zotye was launched in 2019 by Topsun Motors to a fairly mild reception and since then, not many have seen them on the roads, or even heard of it at all. The car is available in one variant only:
- Zotye Z100 1.0 Manual (PKR 1,490,000)
Z100 comes with a 1000cc 4-cylinder petrol engine and 5-speed manual gearbox, like the United Alpha. But its engine is far more fuel efficient than Alpha’s and reportedly could do as much as 18 km/l if you drive it carefully.
Initially it was supposed to be launched by another group (HRL) of Pakistan but their deal with the Chinese carmaker fell through and Topsun picked up the pieces. Topsun is also collaborating with JMC China to assemble pickup trucks in Pakistan. The company is also interested in launching electric cars but considering the lack of interest people have shown in their current product, it is hard to say it will be any better in the future.
So these are all the new hatchbacks you can buy right now in Pakistan. If you are interested in getting one of these, and want to get rid of your current car, selling your car through CarFirst is the easiest and fastest way possible. So visit carfirst.com and book an appointment to sell your current car in quickest way possible.
*car prices were verified on the day of publishing of the blog