After waiting for weeks for a Beat diesel for a comprehensive test, we at CarToq wangled a short test drive of the car from a Chevrolet showroom. The car does pack a few surprises and dispels myths about small-capacity engines. Read on.
The Beat diesel is available in three variants, the base PS model is available for Rs. 4.29 lakh , the mid trim LS model for Rs. 4.59 lakh, the top trim LT for Rs. 4.99 lakh and the top of the line LT option pack (with ABS and airbags) is priced at Rs. 5.45 lakh.
CarToq test drove the upper-trim LT variant. All the features on the Beat diesel are the same as the petrol variant, except for the engine and the power-steering system.
Looks, fit and finish
In terms of looks nothing has changed from the petrol Beat, except for the badging on the rear. In fact, the only way you can distinguish the diesel Beat from its petrol sibling is by the TCDI badge on the left corner of the boot. Fit and finish levels, as well as plastic quality is good on the vehicle.
The Beat diesel has the same dark interiors that the petrol variant sports. There are glossy black inserts on the lower part of the dashboard and the door panels. The centre console is the most eye catching aspect inside the Beat and houses controls for automatic climate control and the music system.
The Beat is up to date in terms of gadget support and sports both a USB port and an Aux-in port. It sadly misses out on steering mounted audio controls and Bluetooth connectivity.
Space is another issue for this car, the issue being the lack of it. Though three people can sit in the back they will constantly be elbowing each other irrespective of size and weight. Also, one can’t see the front of the car because of the sharply sloped bonnet, which means you drive purely on intuition. The lack of visibility continues when you look into the rear view mirror as the rear windshield too is pretty small.
But one point we must make is that once you actually start driving the car, visibility ceases to be an issue. The compact size of the car allows you to maneuver with ease even though you can’t see the corners of the car. Also read: Beat diesel vs Ritz
Performance and Handling
The Beat diesel is powered by a 936 cc, three-cylinder multijet diesel engine that puts out 58 bhp of power and 150 Nm of torque. This may seem tame on paper, but it surprises you with its performance and gives you more than what you’d expect from a 1-litre engine. Also read: Cheapest diesel small cars in India: Which one is for you?
The Beat’s peak torque comes in low in the rev band, with the small turbo spooling from as low as 1,300 rpm and full boost kicking in at 1,750 rpm onwards. This is more than enough to give the car really good pick up. Slot it in first and the car swiftly moves forward. Clutch action is light. It does not thrust you back into your seats, but has enough low-end torque to power out of a traffic signal.
In fact, we found the pick up in the Beat diesel comparable to the acceleration of the Ford Figo diesel.
When revved hard, there is a fair bit of engine noise that filters into the cabin, though NVH levels at regular cruising speeds are good, while at idle you hear the usual diesel clatter. The three-cylinder engine does have a bit of a rough edge compared to its four-cylinder Fiat multi-jet cousin that does duty in the Maruti Swift, Fiat Grande Punto and Indica Vista among others.
We didn’t really get enough time to test the car around twists and turns, but the car seems to have decent handling when darting in and around city traffic. The short turning radius of 4.6 metres, coupled with the speed-sensitive electronic power steering means that taking U-turns requires very little effort.
Another pleasant surprise we had with the Beat was in the steering feel and feedback. The Beat’s steering is precise and gives you just the right amount of feedback. If you’re looking for a car to drive primarily in the city, the Beat diesel won’t disappoint you.
We were driving the non-ABS variant of the Beat, but braking action was good. The suspension though felt a bit stiff over speed breakers.
Since our test drive was rather short we didn’t get down to doing any mileage tests and the car doesn’t have a multi-information display that gives you instant mileage. General Motors claims the car gives 24 kmpl.
Given the fact that the engine is derived from the Fiat Multijet, which is a very frugal performer, expect no less than 19-20 kmpl in the city. The Beat being just 995 kgs in weight has less load to lug around.
What we think
The Beat diesel is a value-for-money proposition. It is affordable, and although it isn’t exactly spacious, it is an ideal car for a family of four. More so, if you wish to save on fuel expenses.
The better part of the Beat proposition is that waiting period is minimal. We were told a Beat diesel LT variant could be delivered in a week’s time, depending on your choice of colour. Considering the waiting lines are long for the Ford Figo diesel and the Maruti Swift diesel, stretching to months, the Beat diesel is a good alternative.
What we like
Good road manners
What we dislike
Lack of space
Lack of Bluetooth and steering-mounted audio controls