Maruti A-Star vs Chevrolet Beat: Popular small cars compared

Beat or A-Star? Tough question considering both of them are priced similarly. The Beat starts at Rs 3.55 lakh for the 1.2 PS and goes all the way till Rs 4.20 lakh for the 1.2 LT. The base A-Star, on the other hand, commands a price tag of Rs 3.57 lakh while the top-of-the-line ZXi is available for Rs 4.21 lakhs.

While the A-Star is backed up Maruti’s reliability and excellent service, the Beat comes with Chevrolet’s 3 years/1,00000kms warranty package. DWS Auto helps break through the confusion with a comparison of the two models.

Exterior styling

Despite being around for a considerable time now, the Chevrolet Beat still looks fresh and youthful. That’s because GM retained most of the futuristic design cues of the Beat concept car in the production model. Read our Chevrolet Beat road test for details.

chevrolet beat photo
Photo: Chevrolet Beat is the cooler car of the two

The Beat has a rather bold, aggressive styling – something that appeals to a younger buyer set. The front is dominated by a massive split grille and headlamps that give it an intimidating look. The rear door handles are fixed on the edge of the windows instead of their traditional location. The Beat has 14-inch wheels, which is the largest in its class though could have shod them with meatier tyres.

The A-Star is not as futuristic but it’s smart and funky nevertheless. And despite its low-slung chassis, the A-Star has a slightly higher ground clearance of 170 mm – 5 mm more than the Beat’s. The A-Star’s high-mounted teardrop-shaped headlights with integrated turn indicators can be cute or creepy depending on your tastes.

Verdict: Chevrolet Beat is the more modern-looking car. However, it might be too funky for the tastes of many; then the A-Star is for you!

maruti suzuki a-star photo
Photo: Suzuki A-Star

Interior styling

The Beat is definitely the bigger and taller of the two with length of 3,640 mm, width of 1,595 mm and height of 1,520 mm compared to the A-Star’s 3,500 mm length, 1,600 mm width and 1,490 mm height.

Inside, GM carries on the futuristic theme with a unique steering column-mounted instrument cluster comprising a cool blue LED backlit analogue speedometer and an LCD with RPM reader, odo/tripmeter and clock.

The door panels give off an incredibly cheap, plasticy look. Seats are comfy though underthigh support is stiff and may feel inadequate over long journeys. There’s plenty of legroom for rear seat passengers, which does eat into the boot space, rated at 170 litres. It’s still way better than the A-Star’s puny 129 litre boot, for which Maruti has taken a lot of flak.

The A-Star’s interior, too, is modern. It has plenty of storage spaces, a few cupholders and an additional shelf above the glove box though the front door pockets are quite narrow.

Interestingly, both cars have small rear windows owing to the rising waistline. However, the A-Star’s rear feels more claustrophobic because of the cramped interiors.

Verdict: It’s your personal choice when it comes to looks inside. However, space-wise, the Chevrolet Beat wins.

Engine & Transmission

The Maruti Suzuki A-star’s 3-cylinder, 1,000 cc engine puts out 66 bhp at 6,200 rpm and 90 Nm at 3,500 rpm. The all-aluminium, superlight engine is mated to 5-speed gearbox that feels pleasantly positive. While the A-Star is no hot hatch, the free-revving does help the A-Star accelerate rather briskly even with all four passengers onboard. The engine sounds refined on most occasions but revved beyond 4,000 rpm, it hits a buzzy note.

The Chevrolet Beat has a 4-pot, 1.2-litre engine that develops a lot more power than the A-Star’s K-series mill. The S-TEC II engine puts out 79.5 bhp at 6,200 rpm and 108 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm. The 5-speed gearbox has decent shift quality but requires frequent downshifts while overtaking. Also read: Chevrolet Beat diesel spied

Winner: Beat. However, your driving style is what decides the matter.

Handling

The Chevrolet Beat has a solid build quality and weighs 965 kgs – over 100 kgs more than the A-Star (880 kgs). The A-Star’s lightweight frame does give it an edge in terms of performance.

Despite its small size, the Beat’s ride quality is remarkable. The suspension copes with small bumps and undulations without much difficulty. Engine and road noise, too, is well damped out.

However, when it comes to handling, it’s the A-Star that sticks its tongue out at the Beat. The electronic-assist steering on the A-Star doesn’t feel as light as on some other Maruti cars and is, in fact, a lot more responsive. The A-Star feels rock solid in straight-line drives and tackles corners without tossing occupants about. The Beat’s hydraulic steering, while managing to keep costs low, just doesn’t convey feedback well. Besides, it also suffers from significant body roll through tight corners.

Winner: Maruti A-Star. Beat is quite good too, so drive them both to see which you prefer!

Mileage

This is where the A-Star has a slight advantage over the Beat. The smaller size, taller gearing and all those lightweight materials play their part in pushing up the A-Star’s fuel efficiency. According to Maruti, the A-Star delivers a mileage of 19 kmpl and that’s with the aircon turned on. The Beat isn’t too thirsty either with a claimed fuel economy of 18.6 kmpl.

Verdict: Technically, the winner is the Maruti A-Star. However, it all comes down to driving conditions and driving styles’ they are quite closely matched.

Verdict

The top-of-the-line A-Star ZXi model comes with a slew of features such as ABS, airbags, EBD, front and rear fog lamps, AC (but no climate control), all power windows, power steering (but no tilt or telescopic steering) and central locking.

The top-end Beat 1.2 LT Option, on the other hand, has ABS, twin airbags, rear wash/wipe, rear defogger, roof rails, spoiler, alloy wheels, climate control and music system with aux and mini-USB.

The Chevrolet Beat is one of the best styled hatches around. It has a robust build quality, comfortable ride and is great for pottering about town and to work. But while it looks sporty, it’s not quite as fun to drive. For that, you might want to take a look at the A-Star. It’s peppy and easy to dart around in traffic. Besides, it would also make fewer stops at the fuel bunk. Yes, you do have to live with a cramped rear and the cargo space disappoints, so it’s the most ideal family car. But if you are single and want a hatchback for your daily office commutes and grocery shopping, the Maruti Suzuki A-Star would do just fine.