Car tested: 2010 Chevrolet Beat 1.2 LT (O)
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 5,20,672/-
India is the hub of the global small car revolution and every manufacturer is pushing hard to get it just right. Enter the new Chevrolet Beat. The Beat is based on the new “Series 300” platform, the same one on which the Cruze is based, and is the new generation “Spark” so as to speak, however it is named “Beat” as GM India will continue selling the Spark for a while. Officially launched at the Auto Expo 2010, GM surprised everyone with pretty competitive pricing for a car which looks modern, stylish, young and promises to be good value for money. Its obvious that the Chevrolet Beat is aimed into eating away market share from the Hyundai i10 and the Maruti Ritz. We test the top of the line Chevrolet Beat LT Option pack and find out how exactly it fares.
Exteriors – The Chevrolet Beat is an epitome of modern design with stylish and sporty looks, and is therefore targeted at the younger generation. It clearly has evolved vastly form the Spark. The design has a similar skeleton as that seen on the Ritz. Lets start from the front, the first thing which catches your attention is the large bow tie batch which is placed on a body coloured bar which runs across the front grill. The front grill gives the car a somewhat mouth open appearance but looks classic all the same. Sharp lines on the bonnet clearly de-mark the front from the top of the bonnet.
On either side large clear lens headlight assembly runs all the way to the sides giving it a sleek look and accommodates the headlight, parking light and the indicator lights. The bumper has sharp lines running along the sides which subtly blend into the main body. Large round fog lamps are seen which provide very good lighting at night. The chrome surrounding the fog lamps adds to the looks. Hint of black around the headlamp and fog lamp blends well into the body and look great. Viewing the Beat from the sides one has an impression that its a three door hatch. The rear door handles are clearly missing from the body. But are they?
Blacked out window frames look sporty and the windows tapering from front to back looks elegant but somehow makes the rear window a bit smaller than we would have liked. Just at the end of the window frame are the rear door handles. Very nicely placed and make the Beat look like a sports car. Silver roof rails are standard on the top variant. Something which also stands out is a slightly oversized antenna, wonder why it had to be so long? 7 spoke 14 inch alloy wheels go well with the overall looks of the car and define the muscular stance. Coming to the rear, rear spoiler is merges well with the roof and looks classy and the rear lights assembly is neat and the round lights look very good indeed. Though the Beat puts up an extremely sporty design, it may not be appealing to everyone.
Interiors – Turn the key and getting inside, the Beat looks spacious and the interiors look good. Yes, you heard it right, though central locking is provided, even the top end Beat lacks keyless entry. The dash is well designed and plastic quality is way better than we have seen. The black trim on the sides goes well and looks good. 3 spoke steering feels good to hold with depressions provided for a comfortable grip. Mounted above the steering is an amazingly looking super bike styled speedometer with a digital display which displays the tacho, clock and the fuel gauge. The steering is equipped with a height adjuster and somehow the temperature gauge is surprisingly missing from the digital display but the Beat probably warns you when the engine has overheated.
The front driver seat is comfortable and has good back support. Height adjustment is not available. For a tall person, the left leg always hits the curvy dash, just where the temperature dial is placed and we noticed that over a long stretch of driving, the continous hitting of the left knee also ends up fiddling with the temperature dial thereby changing the cabin temp. Annoying indeed. Interior design is very good and has a futuristic feel. Right at the front, a dummy sensor for central locking is seen. Probably the international version will get a keyless entry system as it comes on the Cruze. OVRM are internally adjustable as seen with most cars in the segment.
Rear legroom is adequate, not great but certainly good enough. Due to the small size of the rear window, it does get a bit claustrophobic in the rear seat. Also worthy to note is that enough space is provided to keep odds and ends. Even the cup holders can comfortably store a large sized glass and a coin holder next to headlamp leveler is very thoughtful of GM.
Audio system looks sleek but sound quality is anything but to speak for. The speakers crack at hardly any volume and better speakers would have been appreciated. USB and AUX support have been catered for but again the port on the car is a mini USB, cant understand why? A regular sized USB does not take up too much space. Air conditioning is impressive and the car cools quickly even after basking in the sun. Automatic climate control is a boon. Temperature can be adjusted to every half degree starting from 16. Boot is a little compact as compared to the competition but just about enough. Night light has been provided in the boot for better visibility in the dark.
Built Quality – As expected from GM, built quality is top notch. Plastic quality and quality of fabrics used in the interiors is better than most of the competition. It is also well put together with hardly any panel gaps. Over a patchy road, no rattles heard. The suspension absorbs most of the bumps but maybe the tires let down a bit.
On the Move – Crank the engine and it takes a while to notice that the engine is running, the new S-TECH II engine is super silent and one hardly hears the car while idling. First gear and we are off. The steering is comfortable and the Beat is sharp and responds to steering input quickly. Power delivery is smooth and the engine punches out decent amount of power and at the same give returns highest in class fuel efficiency figures as certified by ARAI. Gearshift was a bit notchy but again we have seen that with most GM cars. It takes a while to get used to the gearbox. Clutch rest is missing and it makes its absence felt over long drives. Though the Beat is a small hatch, high speed stability was found to be exceptionally good. While other cars in the competition are short of taking off at about 130 km/h, the beat is stuck to the ground and is very stable at high speeds.
Ride, Handling and Braking – 155/70/14 tyres are a big letdown and thicker rubber would have been ideal and would certainly make a good car better, but in the quest to get good fuel economy, GM probably decided against going for fatter tyres. Hence the Beat offers best in class mileage. Ride is good and the suspension soaks of most of the bumps but again the tyres play a vital role here again. Handling is predictable and the car turns in easily but the tyres give up soon. Braking is the same story. Equipped with ABS the Beat responds to the slightest touch of the brake pedal. On hard braking the car tends to slide as if running on ice. We are pretty sure that once the tyres are upgraded the Beat is a tough performer in all the above categories.
Performance – The Beat is powered by a 1199cc S-TECH II, Bharat IV compliant, engine (petrol) producing 79bhp @ 6200rpm and producing torque of 108Nm @ 4400rpm which is adequate and the car does not really feel underpowered. The engine is peppy and smooth power delivery boosts the package. However if your expecting performance to be anywhere close to the 1.2 liter K-Series powerplant which features in the Ritz and Swift you will be disappointed. The Beat’s engine doesn’t have the red line nature possessed by its Japanese counterparts but it is decent to do the job.
Conclusion – The Beat offers stunning , sporty and muscular looks along with gadgetry like ABS, front airbags, Climate control etc and at the same time delivers a good mileage. Icing to cake is Chevrolet’s 3 years zero maintenance package and with the new diesel engine on the cards, the Beat is bound to be a top seller from Chevrolet and we are pretty sure that once the diesel engine arrives the competition is bound to skip a heartBEAT.
- Stunning looks
- Superbike style instrumentation
- Good quality of plastics
- Zero maintenance package from Chevrolet
- Ride quality
- Puny tires
- Poor audio quality
- Lack of keyless entry
- No height adjuster for drivers seat
Chevrolet Beat Specifications
- Engine: 1199cc, 16V, DOHC
- Power: 79 BHP @ 6200 rpm
- Torque: 108 Nm @ 4400 rpm
- Transmission: 5-speed manual
- Top Speed: 155 km/h
- 0-100kmph: 16.50 seconds (est)
- Fuel Consumption: 18.6 kmpl (ARAI)
- Fuel Type: Petrol
- Suspension: Mcpherson Struts (Front) Compound link type (Rear)
- Tires: 155/70/14 Tubeless Radials
- Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drums (Rear), ABS, EBD
- Safety: ABS, EBD, Dual SRS Front Airbags
Chevrolet Beat Dimensions
- Overall length x width x height: 3640 mm X 1595 mm X 1520 mm
- Wheelbase: 2375 mm
- Ground clearance: 165 mm
- Boot Volume: 170-litres
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 35-litres
- Kerb Weight: 965 kgs