Keeping the diesel hatchback buyer in mind, Maruti Suzuki launched a diesel engined version of the Celerio earlier this month. The car, prices of which start at Rs 4.7 lakh onwards (ex-showroom), is the company’s answer to other diesel powered vehicles in the segment viz. Tata Indica, Chevrolet Beat, Ford Figo, etc. We take a brief look at what the new product has to offer, and how it could end up redefining the segment in India.
Positioned as an affordable hatchback – something Maruti Suzuki is very good at – the Celerio Diesel is priced between Rs 4.7 lakh and Rs 5.71 lakh, ex-showroom. At about Rs 80,000 dearer than corresponding petrol-powered variants, the diesel versions range from LDi at the bottom end of the range going all the way up to the top-spec ZDi (O).
While the Celerio appears to be a great choice at the lower end of the spectrum, go higher and the list of alternatives include larger vehicles like the Tata Bolt, Chevrolet Sail, Nissan Micra, etc. But then again, the ZDI(O) variant of the Celerio offers ABS, dual airbags, 4-speaker audio system, etc. – which not all of the competitors offer.
2. New Engine
While the price difference between diesel and petrol fuel might be getting narrower, but the former’s still the preferred choice for those who travel a lot. Increased efficiency, lower fuel cost, and longer range (in most cases) work in its favour.
Developed by Suzuki, the 2-cylinder, 793cc ‘big’ engine in the Celerio diesel makes 47.5 PS and 125Nm of torque. Unlike the Fiat-sourced Multijet (or DDiS in the company’s lingo), this engine is currently available only in the Celerio in India. Called DDiS 125, the unit comes mated to a 5-speed gearbox (no AMT here, yet) but with max. torque available at a lowly 2,000 rpm, gearshifts are kept to a minimum.
3. Fuel Efficiency
The Celerio is a light car – its kerb weight is 900 kg while gross weight comes up to 1310 kilos – so it doesn’t really need a hugely powerful engine to set the thing moving. Also, given the size and positioning, the Celerio is more likely to remain a city car (and occasional highway cruiser), so that puny engine won’t be a problem.
The same small capacity will be a boon for those looking for maximum efficiency, though. The company claims a fuel economy of 27.62 km/l, which could very well be the decision maker for a lot of prospective customers out there. And while the figure is likely to go down when the vehicle is subjected to the everyday driving conditions, Maruti appears to be on a good start with the engine.
4. Space and size
With the rather small footprint (3,600mm long; 1,600mm wide; and 1,560mm tall), the Celerio diesel promises to be an easy car to live with, especially if you’re an urban dweller, and things like lack of parking space and abundance of traffic trouble you every single day of the year. And there’s also the rather small 4.7m turning radius as well.
But that doesn’t mean space on the inside is compromised. It can seat five, carry up to 235 litres of luggage (company claimed) and with a wheelbase of 2425mm, it’s not going to be a tough fight for space at the rear.
The 165mm of ground clearance also endows it to ride over bad surfaces. All variants (VDI and above) are offered with 14-inch tyres, which should help even further. Only the base-spec LDI comes with 13-inch wheels.
5. And some quirks and negatives
With everything mentioned above, it’s evident how the Celerio diesel promises to be the kind of small car that was missing from the company’s portfolio. It not just gives buyers one more choice, it provides Maruti Suzuki a platform to showcase the new engine and its capabilities.
On the design front, it still looks decent, far from stunning but equally far from boring, too. It’s not too small on the inside, either, and could prove to be an easy car to live with. The positives don’t end just yet: there’s also MSIL’s very wide sales and service network, which everyone swears by!
On the flipside, the negatives include the fact that ABS is only available on the top variant. Airbags, too, are available only on the said version, while ZDi gets driver airbags and the lower models get nothing, which is disappointing.
But on the whole, the Maruti Suzuki Celerio Diesel looks like a winner. And a winner in the right hands.