A long before anyone thought of plonking diesel under the hood of small hatchback, Chevrolet actually came out and launched its Beat with India’s smallest 1.0-litre, 3 - cylinder oil burner. Since then, it held on to this distinction of being the compact yet competent motor though now Maruti has come out with Celerio diesel starring, not India’s but world's smallest diesel engine. Another boasting right company has secured with Celerio diesel is claim of India's most fuel - efficient car as Celerio got ARAI certified mileage of 27.6 km/l. So while on the one hand Chevrolet Beat kick started small diesel hatchback trend in India, Maruti has raised the benchmark with its latest offering. So how these two products stack up against each other? Which one of these deserves your hard earned money? Whether you should go with Beat which kicked off small diesel trend or Maruti whose Celerio has already started minting money for Maruti? All this and much more in this road test comparison review.
Matter of the Looks
A look at the both the cars parked side by side, and one will easily identify with the different design philosophy behind their turn out. While Beat boasts of plenty of X-factor, Celerio takes care not to offend anyone with its demeanor. Beat's strength lies in its young and vibrant personality. Plethora of cuts creases, sculpted bonnet, pillars with mounted door handles and wrap around rear; all designed to attract young and affluent youth who wanted to drive something better than bread - butter cars.
Celerio doesn't feel as jaunty as Beat but then it’s not a plain Jane either. It has got its own share of attractions, and especially the rear has got some zingy cues. Taste being subjective will differ with in its taste among seekers still we found Beat design far more contemporary and with the times than Maruti Celerio. Chevrolet has designed Beat with heart and it really makes a lasting first impression.
Chevrolet Beat: 4/5 Maruti Celerio: 3/5
Like outside, theme of two cars differ vastly on inside too. Best has got a lot of flair thanks to use of bike-inspired instrument cluster, cool blue back light, dark shaded upholstery and chunky steering wheel. Space wise, Beat features good room and although it lacks in width to seat 3 at back, 2 occupants will easily travel in comfort.
Similar space issue creeps in the case of Celerio though surprisingly this Maruti feels roomier than Beat. Layout and control arrangements, too, are easier to operate and use. AC is damn good at its job while light steering wheel makes thing easier for chaotic life. Celerio interiors are also pleasant to look, feel and respond. Small turning radius makes for crisp turns and sharp handling; something that its prospects are sure to love it for.
Chevrolet Beat: 3/5 Maruti Celerio: 3.5/5
Engine & Road Manners
With twin cylinder geometry, Celerio has got world's first twin pod diesel engine. Displacing 0.8-litre motor has got typical diesel gravel to it. Of course it smoothens out once you start revving; still there is no going back on its noisy nature. On the flip side however, part throttle responses are good and will please most of the owners with its alacrity.
Beat uses its own multi-jet diesel engine jointly gat it has co-developed with Fiat. Company has looped off one cylinder and hence capacity of the unit is been reduced to 1.0-litre from original 1.3-litre. Engine feels very drivable and totally opposite of Maruti unit, feels quite refined too. Cubic capacity of the units also accounts for the way in which these cars tend to behave on the road. While Celerio runs out of the breath quit quickly, Beat retains the gas for most of the time. Still both cars are not in the league of proper big hatchback with 4 - cylinder running under their bonnets.
There is nothing much that differentiates road behavior of these cars. Both vehicles are a bit stiffly sprung, and pass their slow-speed inhibitions to occupants. Beat however feel more stable at high speed and on highway, the Chevrolet inspires more confidence than Maruti. That said, overall driving experience of Celerio is crispier. Light steering, low weight and small turning radius make Maruti driving a total fun.
Chevrolet Beat: 3/5 Maruti Celerio: 3.5/5
On pricing, Maruti has comfortable upper hand over Chevrolet though latter does offer more features and equipment. Chevrolet Beat has lot of potential which unfortunately remained untapped owing to company's inability to expand its touch points. Had it not for small dealership network, Beat would have lured many customers to its kitty. As a feature rich and sensible proposition, Beat makes a good case for itself though Maruti has been able to take decisive edge on the critically important fronts of fuel efficiency and value for money. Further, Maruti's brand name and its unrivalled country-wide network augment its appeal. So though in test our hearts feel more for Chevy, Maruti always retained its dominance over cognitive virtue.
Chevrolet Beat: 3/5 Maruti Celerio: 4/5