Shootout: Chevrolet Beat vs Maruti Celerio vs Hyundai Grand i10
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 6.13 – 7.60 lakhs (Chevrolet Beat), Rs. 5.65 – 6.93 lakhs (Maruti Celerio), Rs. 6.69 – 8.10 lakhs (Hyundai Grand i10)
The affordable diesel hatchback space is a booming one in India and the Celerio DDiS 125 is a promising car in this segment
We are living in a country where around 50 percent cars sold are hatchbacks and when you buy a petrol car these days in the same country, our acquaintances make faces. Why do they make faces? Because diesel is the in thing! However the sales of diesel cars have been declining of late. It is a known fact that diesel vehicles don’t come cheap but manufacturers are focusing on entry level diesel hatchbacks. General Motors was the first manufacturer to make the move with the Chevrolet Beat having a 936cc oil burner. It was launched when the trend of diesel was at its peak and the car did quite well for the company. Then came the Hyundai Grand i10 with a 1.1-litre CRDI being an instant hit. Now the king of hatchbacks, Maruti Suzuki has launched the Celerio with the smallest diesel engine in the world, also making it the most fuel efficient car in India. We compare the trio and find out who’s the boss of the affordable diesel hatch segment.
Motor Quest: The Chevrolet Beat is the oldest car here that was launched in India in 2009, getting a facelift in 2014. The new generation Beat recently got revealed globally, which is expected to be launched in India in 2017 but won’t have the same underpinnings as the new model. The Hyundai Grand i10 was launched in 2013 making the debut of the 1.1-litre CRDi U2 diesel engine, which is derived from the 1.4-litre CRDi motor. The Maruti Celerio is the latest kid on the block, launched in 2014 with the option of an AMT gearbox but the diesel version has just been launched in June 2015.
Styling – Each one of them have their own identity if we talk about their styling. The Maruti Celerio having the most neutral design of them all, looks simple and works well with the majority of people. It passes by as a usual hatchback having regular styling elements and a tallboy stance. What goes against it is the Alto inspired rear profile that doesn’t match well with the mature and broad front look. Having a rather funky styling, the Chevrolet Beat looks out of the box and appeals to the youth. Some of the interesting bits of the Beat includes the dual port Chevrolet grille, boomerang shaped headlamps and C-pillar mounted rear door handle, which makes it look like a 2-door car. That said, the Beat has started showing its age now and specially since the next generation Beat has been revealed with an aggressive new styling.
In comparison, the Hyundai Grand i10 looks confident and premium when you put it against these two cars. It simply has that visually polished character that strikes you at one glance. The Korean carmaker’s Fluidic design theme works well and makes it look complete. The front profile is dominated by the hexagonal grille and swept back headlamps. The diamond cut alloy wheels lend a sporty appeal while the curves at the rear add to the presence. The Grand i10 is hence the most appealing hatchback here while the Beat follows closely.
Interiors – All of these cars have well designed interiors but the most pleasing of them all is the Grand i10’s dashboard which gets a dual-tone beige and black layered styling. It also has a user friendly centre console with sizeable screen for the audio system and uncluttered layout of buttons. The steering of the Grand i10 also feels rich to hold, having illuminated controls. The Celerio also gets beige and black interiors with a neatly integrated audio system on the range topping variant. Just like the Grand i10, the Celerio too gets dashboard mounted gear lever which is convenient to use. The Swift derived steering of the Celerio looks incomplete though. The Beat has an all-black dashboard with silver accents that looks sporty but the centre console is too basic with a tiny screen on it. The steering feels the best to hold out of the trio and the motorcycle inspired instrument console is quite attractive. The gear lever of the Beat looks out of place being too tall and no use of beige won’t attract many eyeballs from the Indian audience.
The Grand i10 has more features, better quality & space than the rest
Now in terms of quality, fit and finish the Maruti Celerio just scores average marks because there are hard plastics on the dashboard and some controls don’t provide reassuring feedback while using. The Beat gets better build quality with sturdy panels and controls that feel long lasting. However, none of these two can hold a candle against the Hyundai when it comes to quality. The Grand i10 just has lip smacking feel to the interiors with soft touch plastics, feedback rich controls and that strong European thud that you get while shutting the doors. The Hyundai also comes well equipped with features that are unheard of in this segment. The Celerio gets enough features to boast on the range topping variant while the Beat is sparsely equipped considering its price. Both the Grand i10 and Celerio get Bluetooth connectivity which is missing on the Beat. There is no lane changing indicator on the Chevy while the other two get it. The Grand i10 gets smart key with push button start, Celerio gets keyless entry while the Beat has basic manual key on offer. ORVMs are manually adjustable in the Beat while the Celerio gets electrically adjustable ones and the Grand i10 in addition to electrical adjustment offers auto folding with lock/unlock. The Grand i10 is the only hatchback here offering parking sensors, rear air con vents and 1 GB storage for the audio system. All of them get rear wipers on the top trims.
The Maruti Celerio has the best steering angle to the seat giving a confidence inspiring position to the driver, which is closely followed by the Beat that has an upright seating position and then comes the Grand i10, which, unlike the regular i10 feels a tad low. The seats of the Grand i10 though feel the most comfortable having enough support all around. The Celerio’s seats are comfortable too but the Beat has narrow seats for sizeable passengers. During our shootout, one of our crew members with a height of 6’1 was testing the rear legroom in each car with his driving position at the front. The Grand i10 was surprisingly spacious with a big margin, leaving a tad bit legroom further to spare and having ample headroom for the tall guy. The Celerio also has decent legroom with the knees slightly brushing against the front seat but headroom is impressive thanks to the tallboy design. The Beat appears to have a smartly spaced out cabin for average height adults but our tall crew member was relatively feeling cramped with the knees pushing against the front seats and the raked rear roofline making the headroom limited. Same is the case with the boot space, the Beat offers 170 litres of luggage capacity, the Celerio offers 235 litres while the Grand i10 boasts of 256 litres of boot capacity.
Performance – The highlight of this shootout is the brand new 2-cylinder diesel in the Celerio that is an in-house diesel motor made by Maruti Suzuki for the first time. Christened as DDiS 125, the 793cc engine produces 47.6 PS of power at 3500 RPM and 125 Nm of torque at 2000 RPM. This is the only 2-cylinder diesel here while the Grand i10 and Beat get 3-cylinder motors. The 1120cc engine of the Grand i10 is the most powerful here producing 71 PS of power at 4000 RPM and 160 Nm of torque between 1500-2750 RPM. The Beat’s 936cc engine churns out 57.1 PS at 4000 RPM and 142.5 Nm at 1750 RPM. While cranking the engine, the Celerio vibrates the most and is the loudest engine compared to the Beat, which has the inherent 3-cylinder vibrations that settle down in a while but the Grand i10’s 3-cylinder is a gem of a motor, which keeps the vibrations well under control and you won’t be able to make out that it’s a 3-cylinder while sitting inside the cabin. Hyundai has worked hard on the NVH front, providing a balancer shaft and extensive sound deadening materials. For a twin-cylinder, the Celerio’s cabin feels well insulated but when you compare it with the other two cars, the refinement is quite lacking.
Hyundai’s CRDi offers excellent NVH & good drivability, the Chevy provides instant power while the Celerio DDiS has a rich mid-range
None of these hatchbacks have prominent turbo lag and are tuned for city driving, providing a punchy low-end and mid-range. The Celerio has a short band of torque and gets past the mid-range quickly so it needs short shifts to get going otherwise you feel like hitting a wall at the top-range, where there is no power. This makes the Celerio a strict car for city usage and not for the highways. The Beat in comparison feels quite refined and doesn’t sound as crude as Maruti’s 2-pot motor. The Chevy pulls confidently until mid-range, feeling quite peppy and energetic in the city but rev it harder post 3000 RPM and it loses steam. The 5-speed transmission doesn’t feel as slick as the Celerio but the Beat has better overtaking capability on the highways. The Hyundai has the widest band of torque offering excellent drivability in the city with linear acceleration and no lag. Post the mid-range too, the power doesn’t taper off sharply and it is relatively potent on the highways. The 5-speed transmission is butter smooth with the lightest clutch of them all and you don’t need to shift gears in the Grand i10 frequently because in-gear acceleration is strong. As far as ARAI certified fuel efficiency is concerned, the Celerio is the most frugal car out here, in fact it is the country’s most fuel efficient car that returns 27.62 km/l. The Chevrolet Beat follows closely returning a claimed mileage of 25.44 km/l while the Grand i10 returns 24 km/l. In real world conditions though you will not get similar mileage but the Celerio currently tops the chart when it comes to fuel economy.
Driving Dynamics – Let’s begin with the most fun to drive car out here, the Chevrolet Beat. This hatch is very chuck-able with its sprightly handling and feedback rich steering wheel, which is light at low speeds and weighs up well at high speeds. The Celerio is a neutral handler in comparison with predictable turn-ins, having a steering which remains on the lighter side at high speeds while the Grand i10 handles pretty well by Hyundai standards but the steering has artificial feedback, which is convenient but inconsistent at high speed corners. When it comes to ride quality, the case is different altogether. All cars handle the broken tarmac and undulations very well at low speeds but the Grand i10 feels the most well damped and comfortable on bad roads. The Celerio and Beat’s rear tends to bounce at high speeds but the Grand i10 surprisingly stays flat and glued to the tarmac giving the most confidence inspiring feel on the highways. The Celerio offers the best braking performance shedding speeds quickly with ideal pedal bite while the Grand i10 feels surefooted under braking, it has a bit spongy feel to the pedal though. The Beat also offers crisp braking but the pedal feel is woody. So when it comes to fun behind the wheel, the Beat will put a smile on your face while cutting around city traffic but the Grand i10 offers better comfort and stability. The Celerio does a neutral job in this department but feels quite simple and easy to drive around town.
Safety and After Sales Service – Dual airbags and ABS on the trio come only with the optional trim of their respective range topping variants – Celerio ZDi (Opt), Beat LT (O) and Grand i10 Asta (O). The Celerio has a slight edge over the two in terms of safety equipment as Maruti also offers driver-side airbag as standard on the ZDi variant. However, the EuroNCAP crash test rating of 3 stars makes the Celerio the most unsafe hatchback here while the Beat and Grand i10 get 4 stars each. That said, the Celerio tested by EuroNCAP had 4 airbags while the other two had 6 airbags. We all are aware of the fact that Maruti is the king when it comes to after sales service and such is the trust of Indian car buyers in the company that they can sell ice to eskimos. Maruti cars are light on the pocket to run and you can find a service centre literally anywhere you go. Hyundai is no less when it comes to after sales but the Grand i10 would be marginally more expensive to maintain than the Celerio but the company has a great network too. General Motors’ after sales is definitely on the weaker side, having a limited network and also the Indian audience is quite skeptical about the service experience of Chevrolet cars.
Verdict – The Chevrolet Beat is a car for enthusiasts that offers peppy performance and crisp handling. The styling too is unique and despite being the oldest car in the shootout, it manages to attract eye balls. However, considering the price point at which it is being offered, the car feels under equipped and basic. At Rs. 60,000/- less you get many more features and space in the Celerio with reliable Maruti after sales, which trumps the Beat by a decent margin. The Celerio with its upmarket and spacious interiors offers good value along with the frugal twin-cylinder diesel mill. The features offered in the ZDi trim are ample but go down to the lower variants and you would notice the lack of kit in the Maruti, which is not the case with the Grand i10. Hyundai offers enough features in the lower trims of the Grand i10 to satisfy all buyers with varying budgets. Yes, it is about a lakh rupees expensive than the Celerio but the Grand i10 is worth the extra money spent. It offers premium styling, better quality, more space, exceptionally longer list of features, powerful diesel engine and the ability to drive on the highways, which is quite lacking in the Celerio. Hence, the Grand i10 is the clear winner here offering more bang for your buck.
The Maruti Celerio is the most affordable diesel hatchback and the most frugal car too, providing enough features (in the ZDi trims) to make it a great value-for-money car. The Beat is quite an expensive proposition considering the lack of features and unsatisfying after sales of General Motors in India. The Hyundai Grand i10 is a car that gives you that premium feel and it doesn’t look like a car made on a budget. It is the ideal diesel hatchback and a very sensible buy if you can shell out that wee bit of extra money.
Pictures: Ram Yadav
Further Reading –
Chevrolet Beat Review
Maruti Celerio Diesel Review
Maruti Celerio Petrol Review
Hyundai Grand i10 Diesel Review
Hyundai Grand i10 Petrol Review
Maruti Celerio vs Hyundai Grand i10
Hyundai Grand i10 vs Maruti Swift
Hyundai Grand i10 vs Tata Bolt vs Maruti Swift
Tata Bolt vs Hyundai Grand i10 vs Maruti Swift – Video
Hyundai Grand i10 vs Rivals