Maruti Suzuki SX4 to be powered by Fiat-supplied 1.3-liter turbodiesel

Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) is planning to launch Sx4 diesel version with an optional 1.3 litre turbocharged diesel engine. M.M. Singh, Maruti Suzuki Managing Executive Officer has told a news agency that the production of 1.3 litre diesel engine with turbo charger is going on and Maruti will start adding it to SX4 once its plants reopen on January 3 next year.

Update 22/2/2011: Maruti Suzuki SX4 diesel launched, price Rs. 7.74 lakh-Rs. 8.62 lakh

We had earlier reported that Maruti was planning to launch the SX4 diesel in January 2011 which now stands confirmed. Update 24/1/2011: SX4 diesel launch in February 2011

Singh added that the production will start after the annual weekly maintenance shutdown (Dec 27, 2010 – Jan 2, 2011). We expect the Sx4 diesel to be priced somewhere around Rs. 9 lakh.

Maruti Suzuki is developing a diesel engine not just for Sx4 but also for its upcoming MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle) dubbed as RIII. RIII was showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo 2010 and could be launched in 2012 to compete with Toyota Innova and Mahindra Xylo.

sx4 royale
Photo: Maruti Suzuki SX4

We expect Sx4 diesel to have a few changes in the exterior and subtle changes in the interior to distinguish itself from Sx4 petrol version. Sx4 petrol is an overall good package with features list in par with what competition offers. The car’s higher ground clearance helps tackling almost all bad roads in India where other sedan owners may come short.

Fiat’s multijet engine is known for its fuel efficiency and performance in Maruti cars such as Swift diesel, Swift Dzire diesel and Ritz diesel. Thus, using the same tried and tested motor should assure prospective owners of the new Maruti Suzuki SX4 diesel, a peace of mind.

The 1.3 litre diesel engine with turbo charger reminds us of the Fiat Linea diesel which is powered by the 1.3 litre multijet motor that produces 86 bhp of power and 20.7 kgm of torque.

During our test drive of Linea diesel, we found it to be an average performer because, 86 bhp is just not enough to attempt those highways overtaking maneuvers with confidence for a car of Linea’s size and weight.

Acceleration is a slow affair in Linea diesel, with 100 kmph coming up in some 16 seconds! However, the only good thing is that the variable geometry turbo ensures availability of turbo boost even at relatively low engine revolutions (2200 rpm). Hence, too many gear changes are not required while driving in slow city traffic.

If Maruti can offer a torquey 1.3 litre diesel VGT with a healthy 105 bhp of power unlike the Linea diesel VGT with 86 bhp, Sx4 diesel will pose a greater threat to other sedans in its category. Otherwise, the car may lose points in performance aspect and could very well give way to the Vento diesel or Verna diesel.

The sub Rs.10 lakh segment is filled with competent cars: the leading Honda City, recently launched Volkswagen (VW) Vento, face-lifted Hyundai Verna and gorgeous Fiat Linea.

We have to wait for a couple of weeks as to how Maruti will price Sx4 diesel against these cars in order to grab the attention of C segment buyers!