Citroen C3 vs Tata Punch Feat. Maruti Alto K10 - Off-road Comparo

Published On Jan 08, 2023 08:42 AM By Tarun for Citroen C3

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They are essentially small hatchbacks but are they capable enough to be called an SUV? Let’s find out

Maruti Alto K10 Vs Tata Punch Vs Citroen C3

Any hatchback with the slightest of rugged looks and high ground clearance is nowadays calling itself an SUV. Two of the newer micro SUVs are the Citroen C3 and Tata Punch which are essentially hatchbacks with a crossover look. However, the most popular SUV in the country is one which is trusted by millions of people to get them out of tricky situations -- The Alto K10

So, let’s find out if the C3 and Punch have what it takes to beat the ultimate ‘SUV’ in three simple tests. And of course, all of these will happen off the road. Three points will be awarded to the winner, two to the runner up and one to the third place finisher in each test. 

Braking Test

Maruti Alto K10 Vs Tata Punch Vs Citroen C3

In this brake test, we drive the car at 40 kmph and then apply full brakes to see which one stops the earliest. It’s not a proper road but rather a gravel and muddy road, which makes things more challenging and interesting. 

  • First up is the Maruti Alto K10 which has the least braking distance. It stops the earliest since it is lightweight and also has thinner tyres which dig more into the ground. 

Maruti Alto K10 Vs Tata Punch Vs Citroen C3

  • The second up is the Tata Punch, which delivers good and confident braking performance but stops a few feet after the Alto due to its heavier weight. 

  • The C3’s ABS calibration on these surfaces forces it to have the farthest stopping distance here, despite having good braking performance on the road. 

Maruti Alto K10 Vs Tata Punch Vs Citroen C3

Just for reference, through our road tests, the C3 was able to stop from 100 kmph to zero in 41.04 metres, while the Punch stopped around two metres ahead. Alto is the winner even on the road with the least braking distance. 

Ride Comfort

Maruti Alto K10 Vs Tata Punch Vs Citroen C3

(Maruti Alto K10)

A family hatch needs to keep the occupants comfortable no after where you drive it. To test the comfort of these hatchbacks, we will be using water. A mug is placed on the roof (with help from magnets) and filled up with 700 millilitres of water. The car that spills the least amount of water after a set distance wins. 

Model

Alto K10

C3

Punch

Water left out of 700ml

175ml

155ml

145ml

Maruti Alto K10 Vs Tata Punch Vs Citroen C3

(Tata Punch)

  • The Maruti Alto K10 is the winner again. Since it’s shorter than the other two, the side-to-side movement is the least, and also the suspension can absorb the undulations still quite well. 

  • The C3’s ability to tackle rough roads comfortably puts it in the second position. However, it is taller than the Alto and hence spills more water due to more movement of the cabin. 

Maruti Alto K10 Vs Tata Punch Vs Citroen C3

(Citroen C3)

  • We were expecting the Punch to perform better due to its long suspension travel and flatter ride. But its tall height and stiffer suspension setup cause excessive side to-side movement on broken roads, thus spilling the most amount of water here. 

Hill Climb Test

Maruti Alto K10 Vs Tata Punch Vs Citroen C3

In this test, we loaded all the three cars with four people and tried to climb the upslope as quickly as possible. The uphill is filled with ruts and harsh undulations. So, the traction, engine performance, power delivery, ground clearance and the suspension all will be tested here. Hence, we have decided to award double points in this test. So it’s 6, 4 and 2 for first, second and third. 

Model

Alto K10

C3

Punch

Time

27.03 seconds

32.45 seconds

24.32 seconds

Maruti Alto K10 Vs Tata Punch Vs Citroen C3

Off we go, and all three cars do a lot of wheel spinning. The stones can be loudly heard hitting the underbelly as we tackle broken roads. 

  • Maruti Alto K10’s peppy performance and light weight makes it quick on its toes. The thin wheels again are able to generate some grip and make it easy to steer to avoid rocks. 

  • The C3 takes the most time since the lower-end torque is weaker which leads you to rev up the motor, resulting in excessive wheelspin. 

Maruti Alto K10 Vs Tata Punch Vs Citroen C3

  • The Tata Punch’s long travel suspension finds the most traction despite having a weak low-end torque. It is able to keep going despite being low on power. It ended up being the smoothest - hence the fastest with a time of 24.32 seconds, which is eight seconds quicker than the Citroen.  

Verdict

Maruti Alto K10 Vs Tata Punch Vs Citroen C3

Test

Alto K10

Citroen C3

Tata Punch

Braking 

3

1

2

Comfort

3

2

1

Hill Climb

4

2

6

TOTAL

10

5

9

So, the Alto K10 scores the maximum points here and the Punch comes very close to it. Despite Punch winning the hill climb race, the K10 was the winner in braking and comfort tests. The Punch scores well in the comfort test but comes third in braking and hill climb. 

Maruti Alto K10 Vs Tata Punch Vs Citroen C3

However, we still can’t call these cars ‘SUVs’. But yes, they are capable to some extent. The Tata Punch and Citroen C3 are best on the regular roads but it’s good to know that they have the ability to be of some help on different terrains. The Maruti Alto K10 is the most affordable here but is also the most capable. It’s the winner in the mug/water and braking test and isn’t too far back in the hill climb too. It is lightweight, peppy in performance, and has a good ride quality which helps it be the king of rough roads and hilly regions.

Read More on : Citroen C3 on road price

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