On an average, while cost remains the basis of choice during the purchase of a small car, another extremely important aspect is fuel economy. This is the reason why diesel or alternative fuels like LPG or CNG have caught the fancy of a lot of people. Maruti is known for making one of the most fuel efficient cars in the country and this time they have raised the bar higher with a diesel variant of the Celerio. Does this car have the required stuff to be a success? We bring you the details to help you decide.
The Celerio Diesel has a two-cylinder 800cc engine, which has been indigenously developed by Maruti, unlike its other diesel engines that have been sourced from Fiat. This engine develops 47bhp of power at 3500rpm with a torque of 125Nm at 2000rpm. Smaller hatchbacks having diesel engines is a relatively new trend which began with the Chevrolet Beat diesel and the Hyundai Grand i10 Diesel.
The car comes to life with a rather shaky start and this feeling is a bit weird. The engine has a high decibel level and the noise only increases with the rise in the engine rpm along with apparent vibrations too. It takes some time getting used to this. The Celerio diesel is more of a city car and the engine performance underlines that. Highway driving is not what this car is happy about and flooring the throttle does not result in quick acceleration either. However, what is commendable is the way in which it delivers optimum power, which is concentrated below 4000rpm. This suits city drivability and the car has enough grunt to keep it going within its power band. Beyond 4000 rpm, it is dead. The Celerio weighs 880kgs and the low weight aids in extracting acceptable performance. It is most comfortable when driven in a relaxed manner.
The engine is noisy and vibrates too. As the revs rise, the engine gets noisier, however, its not too bad and the NVH levels are acceptable. Performance is not what this car is made for and this is clearly felt while driving. The car will suit your needs if you are a relaxed driver. The Celerio diesel starts off from standstill pretty well, with very little lag and 125 Nm of torque eagerly pushes the car forward, though the power band is very narrow.
The Celerio, otherwise offers decent space as well as good comfort. The suspension is well balanced to take care of everyday potholes and bad road surfaces, neither too soft nor stiff. The current generation Maruti cars are a marked improvement in the suspension department. We found the steering response to be more than acceptable, providing better feedback than some competing cars and the handling too is not bad at all. The clutch is pretty light for a diesel car and is perfectly comfortable to use. The fit and finish on the Celerio is also quite impressive. During our test, the Celerio diesel returned a fuel efficiency of 19.2 km/l in city traffic. Now that is certainly impressive.
The ZDi variant, which we tested comes feature laden with stuff like dual airbags, ABS, power windows, powered mirrors, fog lamps, rear wash/wipe, tilt steering, driver seat height adjustment, steering mounted audio and Bluetooth controls, full function remote control for the audio and 14-inch alloy wheels. The instrument cluster has a multi-information display that calculates distance to empty and average fuel consumption. The car additionally gets illuminated door sills and soft LED lamps below the dashboard which help in illuminating the footwell, thereby adding some premium feel to the car. The air-conditioner is as good as it can get.
Now that we have seen what all the Celerio offers, it is time to check whether it makes buying sense or not. The Celerio diesel starts at Rs.5.2 lakhs (ex-showroom, Mumbai) while the top of the line ZDi variant as high as Rs. 6.3 lakhs. The car is certainly expensive and this cost it comes close to the entry level variant of its bigger cousin, the Swift, which offers a proven, powerful and a bigger diesel engine. We would recommend the Celerio diesel only and only if you have an excessive running within city limits and high fuel efficiency is of prime importance to you.