The only positive takeaway from growth-gloomy year of 2013 is revival of petrol hatchback category of Indian automobile industry. After bearing with years of dwindling demand, finally small gasoline cars are back in action with customers’once again flocking back to these practical and city-friendly creatures. Courtesy of currently prevailing high interest rates and consistently reducing price margin between fuel forms, these gasoline vehicles are sure to top priority list of prospective buyers in the near future too. In order to cash-in this raised small car affinity of buyers; Maruti-Suzuki has lately launched its new hatchback called Celerio in market. One can safely assume odds in favour of Celerio that has got backing of one of the most credible brand names of industry though it’s won’t be an easy task for this new incarnation to carve a place for itself. For starters, to win over informed and savvy customers of hatchback category is formidable challenge for Celerio. Over and above it number of already present stalwarts who are hanging tough in their places with competing vociferously for each single prospective customer poses another daunting task for this new Maruti. Among these tenacious players, we believe Hyundai’s i10 is one such veteran player that has firmly held its ground for years since its market debut in 2007. Despite being familiar face even today Hyundai makes a compelling case for itself in minds of prospective buyers. Maruti-Suzuki seems to be well-aware of i10’s brand power and hence chosen to take i10’s challenge head-on. By overlapping Celerio’s price with Hyundai’s i10, Maruti has minced no words in expressing open hostility towards its Korean counterpart. With almost similar starting price Celerio and i10 will compete for same pie of hatchback market; making these two vehicles formidable contenders to venture into road-test comparison ring of your favourite online car portal; ecardlr. Now whether experienced i10 will prevail over newbie Celerio or fresh blood Maruti gets the better of rather aged Hyundai is something that lies at the heart of this comparison. Read further to catch every nuance of tactics both these formidable rivals are applying in order to vie for your attention.
Celerio comes as a breath of fresh air as this new Maruti signifies a design leap forward for India’s largest car maker. Unlike the quirky A-Star or bland Estilo, Celerio strikes a fine balance between young and sensibility aspects of personality. Wider grill, swept back headlamps and subtle bulge on the hood equips Celerio with generous road presence. Despite of being a small car, Celerio has got some muscles and along with sleek character lines, these announce the presence of Celerio in quite a style. Rear portion though feels a bit over worked-up as pronounced bumper seems a bit odd as it try too hard to gel with rest of the design. Glass area is generous and has sure to lend airy feeling to the occupants of this new Maruti.
Design of Hyndai’s i10 has always been a segment benchmark and even though this vehicle is now over-familiar, still there is no suspicion about its aesthetics. Hexagonal grill, angular headlamps and sleek profile lines still contest furiously for design crown of segment. Best thing about the i10’s design is its effortless nature that despite being tall boy doesn’t seem to offend anybody. Hyundai’s designers have cunningly executed all the sheet metal work with virtually every area has been designed to perfection. This explains even seven years down the line, Hyundai still holds the best design trophy in i10’s living room.
Overall both designs are practical and sensible. Dimensions within the restricted range of 4 meters make both these cars eligible for the excise duty sop along with their obvious benefit of zipping through the tight places. Celerio makes a decent case for itself as car looks quite cool in design terms but in head-on comparison with Hyundai, it feels a bit pale. Hyundai i10 still holds on to its design crown and it’s really commendable especially even after more than half-a-decade of market stint.
Celerio: *****i10: *****
Cabin fight between both these cars is based upon the crucial parameters of aesthetics, quality, space and ergonomics. New Maruti Celerio comes with good quality cabin as two-tone interiors and higher quality grain instantly strike chord with you. Steering wheel; directed taken from Swift bin is chunky and even comes with mounted controls. Black-beige dash board is welcome change from the mundane interiors budget Maruti’s used to come with and so is the roomy cabin space. In fact finally Maruti seems to moving towards perfecting the space liberalization art; something its compatriots like Honda and Toyota have already honed. Both front and rear seat of Celerio come with generous space and though the rear space is not in league of Vista or Liva’ it’s definitely a step up compared to all other Maruti small models currently on sale in market. Front driver seat has got a generous wide squat though finding correct driving situation is a bit tricky as legroom is not that good. However at rear there is generous supply of all sorts of room and two passengers will sit there without any complaint. Head room is in good supply and Celerio’s tall boy design gives ample freedom to occupants to move here and there. That said don’t expect Celerio to fit three adults abreast in comfort as shoulders are sure to get roughed up.
On the similar lines, Hyundai’s i10 is also not a happy place to be in with 3 members boarding at the back. Although it feels roomier and spacious than Celerio on each single count, still it fails to appease three persons sitting abreast at the back. Like Celerio, i10 has also got some problem with shoulder space as overall width of the car falls short of comfort benchmark set by Vista and Liva. Although i10 feels similar to Celerio in space aspect with scoring a wee bit better; it is actually cabin ambience and ergonomics where i10 clinches a decisive margin over Celerio. Hyundai’s internal fit-finish is of benchmark standard as i10 scores better than most of the class rivals. Two-tone colour scheme and soft-touch grain gives i10 a class higher quality that has still maintained its relevance even after years of its market stint. Celerio’s interiors without any doubt feel plush and luxurious though they still falls short of the overall sophistication that Hyundai i10 comes with.
Celerio: *****i10: *****
Celerio comes with 1.0-L K10B; next generation K-series engine that develops 68 PS of power with 90 Nm of max torque. The engine features double overhead cam mechanism that pave the way for 4 valves/cylinder configuration. In comparison, Hyundai’s i10 uses 3 valves per cylinder mechanism to push out almost similar 69 PS of power though there is torque advantage of 9 Nm that goes into kitty of i10. That said it is in fact Celerio that feels more eager on part throttle responses as small Maruti lunges forwards with great alacrity. However after initial enthusiasm Celerio loses its steam and one needs to put foot down in order to extract performance from this rev-happy motor. This simply means the frequent gear shift in town where even partial foot reflexes is not that frequent. Maruti motor picks up the speed out on highway and surprisingly feel peppy for its rear capacity.
Hyundai i10 on the other hand scores equally well both in city and out on highway. Its motor is not as rev-happy as Maruti’s K-series engine is; still Hyundai has managed to meet best of both worlds. In city i10 is quite drivable and it won’t bother you until you are driving without switching on AC. Hyundai baby is happy to putter around even in higher gear and feels quite capable on highway too. However once the vehicle crosses 120 km/h mark, the iRDE2 engine starts losing its steam and there is
no use to unwind the motor above 130 km/h mark.
Both the cars come mated with 5-speed manual transmission and in shifting quality department it is Maruti that has got some sure-fitted clogs. Teeth of Celerio fit well and though it requires a bit effort, there is positive mechanical feel to overall shift experience of Celerio. Hyundai’s gear shift quality is bit notch and though it won’t be very distracting, still it’s not as sure as Celerio’s gearbox.
Celerio: *****i10: *****
SWIRL & TWIRL
Both Celerio and Hyundai i10 uses McPherson strut up front and torsion beam at rear to suspend the wheels. Both the cars use 13” wheels to ride upon though the cushioning ability of Hyundai is better than Celerio especially at slow speeds. There is hint of firmness in the Celerio’s suspension that is particularly perceptible at crawling though Hyundai i10 successfully manages to mask in this slow speed firmness. Hyundai i10 cushions passengers better than Celerio though the high speed stability of both the cars is almost equally matched. As whack rises, Celerio’s a bit firm suspension comes with its merit as roll is quite less in this Maruti than Hyundai. Chucking along the corner is manoeuvre that Celerio’s like more than Hyundai i10. Hyundai baby tends to lose its composure every now and then on twisty roads though Celerio taut chassis and firm suspension keeps the body roll quite in check. Further the dimensions of Celerio help its body to contain any misadventure seeking attempt.
Both cars come with electronic power steering though it is Celerio that once again comes out with flying colour. Unless Hyundai’s almost lifeless steering, Maruti has got some feedback in its wheel that feels quite good especially at slow speeds. However as this Maruti picks up speed steering tends to behave in similar fashion as that of i10. Still Maruti steering feels a bit more communicative than Hyundai’s i10.
Celerio: *****i10: *****
Both the cars are matched equally on starting price; thus making crucial component of value for money almost null and void in this comparison. This boils down the choice to crucial factors that we have discussed above. New kid on block; Celerio comes with host of features that no other small Maruti has got till date. It looks contemporary, got roomy cabin and rev-happy K-series motor. It also strikes good balance between ride and handling aspect. In sum, Celerio has got optimum mixture of all the ingredients that a small car requires to crack the market code. In isolation Celerio makes a compelling case for itself though in comparison to Hyundai i10 it feels edgy and vulnerable. Hyundai i10 has been fighting this hatchback war for years and thoroughly know what it takes to hook the buyers. With its all-around capabilities ranging from contemporary design to outstanding fit-finish, i10 dwarfs Celerio is almost every single count. Just put aside i10’s handling nervousness and a bit notchy gearshift and it makes a perfect city package; far better than Celerio.
Celerio: *****i10: *****