General Motors told CarToq today (at a preview of the Beat electric) that the launch of the Chevrolet Beat diesel is now slated for the last week of July, not early July as had been expected. The car was recently revealed to some sections of the media and the specifications promise to make this a great value-for-money small diesel car, besides being the smallest diesel car available in India.
When it’s launched, the Chevrolet Beat diesel will compete with the Ford Figo and the Maruti Ritz diesel, besides the Indica eV2. We’ll take a look at how the Beat compares to the Figo and the Ritz. Also read our earlier story Why a diesel Beat will have unbeatable value
When it comes to looks, the Beat has a very modern, contemporary look, with radical styling. It’s creased bonnet, sharply raked headlamps, tall-boy stance and axed-off boot area look quite futuristic. On the insides too, the Beat is different from regular cars, with its motorcycle inspired instrument panel with digital tachometer and analog speedometer. The funky blue lighting all through the interiors, around the stereo and climate control also give it a futuristic feel.
The Ford Figo, in comparison, looks a generation older, with more conservative styling and squared off design. The Figo has a wider and flatter stance than the Beat, and is larger and roomier. It also has the largest boot space. The Maruti Ritz, is again a tall-boy design with good interior space for tall occupants. The rear seat in the Ritz though is a bit too upright. The dashboard in the Ritz is modern, with one single large dial housing the analog speedometer and other instrumentation. The tachometer on higher-end variants is a separate unit, sportily mounted on the top of the dash. Boot space is decent in the Ritz, but not as much as the Figo.
The Beat is smaller than both the Ritz and the Figo, but in terms of overall styling it holds its own against the other two.
Engine and Features
What will be a deal-maker for buyers is the choice of engines and the features on offer in each car. The Beat diesel, will be powered by a 936cc, three-cylinder, multi-jet diesel engine, that puts out 58 bhp of power and 150 Nm of torque, mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The Ford Figo is powered by a 1.4-litre diesel engine that puts out 68 bhp of power and 160 Nm of torque. This engine is well-suited to city driving conditions. The Maruti Ritz, on the other hand, uses the tried-and-tested, 1.3 litre, 4-cylinder, Fiat-derived multi-jet diesel engine. The Beat’s diesel engine is a derivative of this engine. The Ritz’s engine puts out 75 bhp of power and 190 Nm of torque, making it the most powerful engine among the three. Also read: Chevrolet Beat diesel specs revealed
The top-end variant of the Beat is expected to be loaded with features such as automatic climate control, integrated stereo, fog lamps, ABS and airbags. The Ford Figo and Maruti Ritz top-end variants have all these features, except for automatic climate control. The Figo also offers Bluetooth phone connectivity in the car.
The Beat appears to have an edge in equipment levels compared to the top-end Figo and the Maruti Ritz and it’s likely to be priced lower than its rivals.
Ride and Handling
We’ve not driven the Beat diesel yet, but according to reports the diesel Beat is quite silent and easy to drive. Torque comes in early and there’s apparently very little turbo lag, making it easy to drive in the city. The suspension has been stiffened on the diesel Beat and it now has electric power steering, which feels quite well tuned.
The Ford Figo has a nice tractable diesel engine, which works well in city traffic with well-spaced out gear ratios. Even though it makes just 160 Nm of torque it doesn’t feel under-powered at all. The Maruti Ritz, on the other hand, is the sportiest of the three, with the engine being quite rev-happy and pulls the car eagerly to three digits speeds. It’s also very refined and one hardly feels the vibes from the engine. The suspension on the Ritz though is quite stiff and it does pitch on uneven surfaces, while the Figo’s suspension is softer.
According to ARAI claims, the Beat diesel will be one of the most fuel-efficient small cars in India. It gives a claimed mileage of 24 kmpl, so expect anything above 18-20 kmpl in real world driving conditions. The Ford Figo has a claimed mileage of 20 kmpl, and we’ve got about 15.5 kmpl during our road tests, with air conditioning. The Maruti Ritz diesel is a frugal sipper. It has a claimed mileage of 21 kmpl, and users have reported mileage close to this figure on highway drives. In the City too, the Ritz gives close to 17 kmpl.
Maruti has the most extensive service network in the country, making the Ritz easily serviceable anywhere. But the good news is, since the Beat uses a derivative of the same engine, the technology used isn’t all that different. Ford, which was once notorious for the high cost of spares, has completely turned that around with the Figo. The Figo actually has one of the lowest cost of spares compared to other cars in its class.
General Motors is luring buyers with its 3-years’ maintenance-free service offering on the petrol Beat. This has been quite popular with buyers who anyway hope to resell their vehicles in three years. If this offer holds good on the diesel Beat, it will be quite attractive.
What We Think
The Chevrolet Beat diesel is an extremely well-timed diesel offering from General Motors, given the rising cost of petrol. There are no smaller diesel cars in the market right now, and we expect the Beat diesel to capture a large chunk of the market. The Beat currently sells an average of about 2,250 cars a month and we expect that figure to double once the diesel engine variant is introduced. Those looking for a fuel-efficient small car will be happy to pick up the Beat diesel.
Chevrolet Beat diesel vs Maruti Ritz vs Ford Figo
Specifications at a glance
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