2014 Chevrolet Beat Review
Car Tested: 2014 Chevrolet Beat Facelift
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 7,18,826/-
The Chevrolet Beat is a fun to drive small car with a peppy and frugal diesel engine on offer
All generations of the Chevrolet Beat have been offered in our country but with different names and as most of us are aware, the Chevrolet Beat is internationally known as the Chevrolet Spark. The first generation was offered as the Daewoo Matiz by General Motors in India. The second generation was launched in 2007 as the Chevrolet Spark, which is still offered alongside the Chevrolet Beat. The Beat was launched in India in 2009 and until the 2014 Auto Expo, it didn’t get any significant visual update. We get our hands on the 2014 Chevrolet Beat facelift to see whether the changes are significant or not.
Exteriors – The Chevrolet Beat has always been one heck of a looker with its futuristic yet funky styling. Oh yes, how can we forget the American science fiction action film with the aggressive green/black toned Beat, smashing indeed. We are all familiar with the Beat’s styling and the visual updates make it look sharper and fresh. The changes are minimal though and one has to have a keen eye to spot the difference. At the front you get a new dual port grille that extends further down for better presence and a fresher set of revised headlamps. Then there is a restyled front bumper that now integrates the foglamps with a hint of chrome in a more fluid manner.
There are absolutely no changes on the side profile of the new Chevrolet Beat. Even the alloy wheel pattern remains unchanged, which could have been new. At the rear it gets new tail lamps with red inserts or ‘jewel effect’ as General Motors like to call. There is a new dual tone rear bumper with a sporty black faux diffuser integrating reflectors that looks good and sharp. Rest of the exteriors remains more or less the same.
Interiors – The changes on the interiors are minimal too. It gets silver inserts on the dashboard and the lower part of the front doors, which makes the cabin feel bright. The racy looking steering wheel that feels wonderful to hold now gets neatly integrated audio controls, which is convenient to use and the quality is fantastic. Another thing we noticed on the interiors is the omission of automatic climate control system. Now you get only manually adjustable air conditioning, which is quite effective in cooling. Rest of the interiors remains unchanged including the glaring pattern of the seat covers.
The funky semi-digital instrument cluster looks fantastic but we would have appreciated an analogue tachometer. The Chevrolet Beat’s interiors are ergonomically sound. There are impressive number of cup holders, bottle holders and even coin holders to keep your knick knacks in place. The space is used cleverly and despite being compact in size, there is good amount of legroom and shoulder room but the sloping roofline does hamper headroom for tall passengers and under-thigh support is lacking in all seats. Seats are adequately supportive and the driver has a confident driving position. However, the boot space feels short that can only hold a few bags and a big suitcase would be a tight fit.
Some features like the electrically adjustable ORVMs, keyless entry and Bluetooth connectivity are sorely missing on the Chevrolet Beat. There is no auto-lock feature and you have to manually lock/unlock the doors with a tiny lever. The steering mounted controls are convenient to use but they lack the buttons to switch tracks and channels. Otherwise the cabin of the Beat is a nice place to be in, especially with good quality plastics that have a nice touch and feel long lasting. All-round visibility isn’t great and the small rear windscreen does hamper when reversing.
Performance – There are no mechanical changes on the Chevrolet Beat. It is offered with a 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine, which is good for 80.5 PS of power and 108 Nm of torque. The petrol is also offered with LPG for lower running costs. The pick of the bunch though is the 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder diesel engine that churns out 58.5 PS of power at 4000 RPM and 150 Nm of torque at a low 1750 RPM. The 3-cylinder vibrations are felt while cranking the engine but it settles into a peaceful idle in an instant. Dab the throttle and it goes without the turbolag being apparent. The tiny oil burner feels quite peppy at the lower end of the rev range, which is a boon for city driving. It continues to pull till the mid-range strongly but loses steam near the redline, which comes in at 5000 RPM.
The throttle response is crisp and linear and you can easily cover the gaps in the city with the immediate grunt it offers. The performance figures might look scanty on paper but it feels lively on the road. However, show it a highway and the engine starts losing its ‘Beat’ post 3000 RPM. There is enough torque to handle city drivability but the power to hold the top range is lacking and the motor gets loud in the top-end. Mated to the oil burner is a 5-speed manual transmission that has well stacked ratios but feels very notchy to operate with some play. In gear acceleration at slow speeds is good and gear changing is minimal in city traffic conditions. The carmaker claims a fuel efficiency of 25.44 km/l for the 1.0-litre diesel and you can expect 17-19 km/l in real world conditions.
Driving Dynamics – The Chevrolet Beat feels light to drive and is extremely maneuverable with a 4.85 metres turning radius. Congested city runabout is a one handed job with the speed sensitive power assisted steering wheel that feels light at slow speeds. As the Beat gathers pace the electric steering tightens up and gives good feedback, of course not close to the hydraulic unit offered on the petrol Beat. Handling is quite fun and precise in the Beat with minimal body roll, where it feels confident chucking in and out of corners. Ride is excellent too and the suspension soaks up the bumps and crackled tarmac smoothly. It’s only at highway speeds where the Beat feels bouncy at the rear and doesn’t feel planted for confidence inspiring high speed stability. Brakes are well calibrated with positive pedal bite and an effective ABS.
Safety – The Chevrolet Beat has been crash tested by EuroNCAP and it gets a healthy four star safety rating. However, that’s the European version of the Beat, which comes with more safety features. The Chevrolet Beat in India comes with four variants, out of which only the range topping optional variant LT (O) comes with ABS and dual front airbags. Rest of the variants don’t get even a single airbag, which should be revised by the carmaker for better safety.
Verdict – The Chevrolet Beat facelift doesn’t get significant changes compared to the outgoing model but it is recognizable on road with its twinkling new face. The interiors too remain more or less the same but the new silver accents definitely add to the bright cabin feel amidst the dark theme of the interiors. On the performance and dynamics front, the Beat is quite a fun to drive hatchback with the peppy diesel and lively handling. The car is more city oriented though. It lacks the top end punch for highways and the rear tends to bounce a bit at high speeds. That said, the Chevrolet Beat is a tempting package at this price point with impressive fuel mileage and a fresher face for those who want a no-nonsense small car.
The Chevrolet Beat facelift looks fresh but the minimal changes are hard to find for a layman. There are no mechanical changes but still the Beat is quite an interesting car to drive in the city.
* Funky Styling
* Peppy Performance
* Fuel Efficiency
* Crisp Handling
What’s Not So Cool
* Minimal Facelift Changes
* Limited Boot Space