The Maruti Suzuki Celerio recently crossed the one lakh sales mark in the market. Maruti achieved this in about one a half years since its launch, making it one of the fastest cars to achieve this milestone. The Celerio is one of those rare cars that are available in Petrol, CNG, Diesel, Manual and Automatic. In fact, the automated manual transmission made it an affordable automatic in the country and this particular variant has been a major driver behind the impressive sales. The Diesel is the newest addition to the long list of Celerio variants and is sure to fuel further sales in the crowded hatchback segment. Unlike a few years back there are many Diesel options now in the segment. This includes the Chevrolet Beat and the Hyundai Grand i10 and that makes things a little more interesting in the segment.
The Celerio Diesel is not powered by the now famous 1.3 litre Fiat engine that powers other Maruti Diesels like Swift and Dzire. Instead, what powers the Celerio is a two-cylinder 800 cc engine made internally by Maruti. Christened as DDiS 125, this engine according to Maruti delivers a high torque at low RPM’s which means there’ll be smooth sailing for you in the congested slow moving city traffic. A maximum power output of 47 bhp may not sound whopping but is adequate for use in the city. But the biggest attraction on the Celerio for now is its mileage. Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has certified it to be the most fuel efficient car in India. In ideal scenario this car will return with the impressive figures of 27.62 kmpl.
This small engine is a little slow off the blocks but once it goes past the 1500 rpm mark the 125 Nm torque starts coming into play a bit more. In mid-range the Celerio is very effortless to drive and you can very easily drive in the third gear without any downshifting. That’s a major boon while driving a manual car. The 5 speed manual gearbox is slick and the short gear changes really help during the drive. However the engine leaves a bit of its refinement behind when driven at higher rpm’s and speeds and what Maruti has done to control that is use thicker materials in order to control NVH levels. Some amount of noise still creeps in but it’s difficult to find a silent diesel car anywhere. In a nutshell, it will be safe to say that this a car made for the city more than for the highway.
Ride and Handling
The suspension settings on the Celerio diesel are tuned perfectly to take on the punishing Indian roads. During the rainy season on the pothole ridden roads driving the Celerio wasn’t an unpleasant experience at all. When compared to the petrol variants this one is slightly heavier owing to the weight of the diesel motor but that doesn’t not impact the way the car rides. The car also handles well and because of its good ground clearance of 165 mm offers a favorable driving position.
Design and Interiors
The Celerio follows a no nonsense tallboy design that looks like its derived from a combination of other Maruti’s like the Estilo and the WagonR. A DDiS badge on the rear differentiates the diesel from other variants. The car is really big on interior space and both the rows as well as the boot (235 litres) offer generous space. The fit and finish is decent and quality of materials used is as good as you would realistically expect in this segment. The dual tone colour scheme of grey and black gives the car a somewhat premium feel. Some other premium features include Bluetooth connectivity, keyless entry as well as airbags for front row occupants.
The Celerio diesel comes at a time when the urban market is tilting its way back to petrol cars. But even then the price and mileage of this Celerio cannot be ignored. At a starting price of Rs. 4.65 lakh it is almost about Rs. 50,000 cheaper than the Beat Diesel and almost a lakh lesser than the Grand i10. That makes the Celerio a very attractive proposition. This is the car with which you’ll answer that all important question very happily — Kitna deti hai?
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars.