An ultra-efficient diesel version of Maruti’s budget hatch is here, thanks to Maruti Suzuki’s first ever diesel motor – a 793cc 2-cylinder unit! (What an idea Sirji!!??!)
There was once a time, not so long ago, when people used to boast their car’s whooping engine capacity and power outputs. When usual hatches had less than 1000cc engines under their hoods, mostly petrols, some special hatches were powered by larger 1.4-liter plus engines, which was something astonishing and worth swaggering. To the extent that Fiat Palio came with a massive 1.9-liter diesel mill. But now it’s becoming vicey-versa. The recent downsizing trend in the car industry, where progressively smaller engines are being used in cars once came with larger motors, is slowly changing the scenario. This trend is increasingly felt in the small and compact diesel segment, much to our surprise.
Take for instance the Hyundai’s Grand i10, which uses a 1120cc three-cylinder engine making out 70bhp, or the celebrated Chevrolet Beat powered by the 936cc mill, a 3-cylinder version of the Fiat’s 1.3 Multijet diesel. For quite some years Skoda and Volkswagen are using a 3-cylinder diesel engines for their hatches. Technological improvements in electronics and compact construction enables engineers to make smaller engines in a cost-effective manner.
This is significant, since it enables small and entry-level hatches to feature diesel engines by overcoming the myth that small capacity diesel engines are both hard to engineer well and expensive to make. They are adequately powerful and decent in performances, with mouth-watering mileage figures and emission levels.
That way, the recently launched Celerio Diesel is packed with a lot of surprises. In a bit to spruce up the diesel game in the small hatch segment, Maruti has gone a step further with by giving more to the Celerio hatch than just being the most affordable diesel burner in the country. Instead of chopping off a cylinder from its Fiat-sourced engine, the company has designed an all-new one (codenamed E08A), right from scratch, with its small cars and reduced cylinder count specifically in mind. Maruti Suzuki, until now, was devoid of an in-house diesel technology and was fully dependent on other suppliers such as Opel and Fiat. With a mere 793cc displacement, this new engine would be the second 2-cylinder unit after Tata Nano and also world’s smallest automotive diesel engine.
Producing a mere 47bhp at a relatively relaxed engine speed of 3500rpm, the Celerio’s diesel motor takes advantage from the healthy pulling power or torque of diesel – 12.1kgm (versus 9.1kgm of petrol). Light curb weight of the car will be advantageous as well. Otherwise, the kind of power delivered by the tiny motor is barely sufficient.
Ever since I got to know about this tiny 2-cylinder engine, I was curious to feel how it drives. As any diesel, the engine vibrates and wheezes to settle a lumpy idle. Especially when compared with Celerio’s petrol motor, this is excruciatingly noisy. Revving further increases noise but the engine settles smoothly around 2000 rpm, and becomes gruff beyond that again.
Obviously, the performance isn’t as punchy as other diesels in the segment, say, that of Beat’s or Grand i10. The car drives gently and is best suited for relaxed driving. In city traffic, you have to play with lower gears more often than other diesels, though the tiny turbo gives a little boost with incredibly low lag.The comfort zone for the engine for smooth power delivery seems too narrow, mostly at medium engine speeds. Acceleration isn’t great either, it takes hell lot of time to reach 100 kmph mark, which is understandable. While the clutch is light, the gearbox needs a bit of effort to engage gears at times.
#N for Neutral
Thus, not a soaring diesel rocket, yet the Celerio diesel has enough performance to drive around in a cozy manner. Think of the fuel efficiency it promises, the ARAI tested stands at 27.62 kmpl. Though ARAI figures differ largely to real life driving conditions, we can solidly expect this Celerio to run around 20 kms for a litre of fuel in city-highway conditions. That’s would really be impressive.
Further, the Celerio is decent looking and is well equipped. It has been doing fairly well on the sales charts since its debut, though ranks below Alto K10 and the Wagon R that still bring better numbers. A diesel version with low running costs may cheer buyers in the segment and hike up its sales figures. However, fairly equipped VDi and ZDi trims are a bit expensive, but the “Maruti” tag will neutralise the pricey feel for most of buyers.
Photo Credits: Indianautosblog