Cheapest diesel small cars in India: Which one is for you?

(Updated February 2013)
Last update on: 04/06/2012
In the 2012 Union budget, the government has not levied any extra taxes on diesel cars specifically. However, the government has increased the excise duty of cars across all the segments. Among small cars, the excise duty has been hiked from 10% to 12%. For diesel small cars, this has resulted in a price hike in the range of Rs. 7,000 – 10,000. For buyers looking for cheapest diesel cars with post budget prices, here is our list which includes the base variants of the Tata Indica eV2, Chevrolet Beat, Ford Figo and Maruti Ritz.

Tata Indica eV2 L – Rs. 4.01 lakh*

tata indica ev2 photo
Photo: The Tata Indica eV2 is the least expensive diesel car you can own in India

The Tata Indica eV2 is the cheapest diesel car you can buy today in India. Post 2012 budget, the price of Indica eV2 base variant has been hiked by Rs. 7,000 and once again hiked the price by Rs. 6,000 more than the post-budget price. At present, the Indica eV2 L costs Rs. 4.01 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi. The eV2 is powered by a BS-IV compliant 1,396 cc, CR4 engine that produces 69 bhp of maximum power and 140 Nm of maximum torque and returns a mileage of 25 kmpl (ARAI-certified). The cheapest (BS IV) variant of the Indica eV2 is the L variant. The L variant has no air-conditioning and no power steering! Research Tata Indica EV2

What we like

On the exterior, the L variant features clear lens headlamps, clear lens side indicator lamps, chrome strip on grille, an intermittent front wiper, and manually adjustable outer rear view mirrors. On the inside the car has features like a front power outlet, adjustable front head rests, remotely operated fuel lid opening and boot door opening, tachometer, beige interiors and pockets in front doors and parcel shelf. Safety is pretty basic, with only the mandatory child safety locks on rear doors, high mounted stop lamp, collapsible steering, and 3-point seat belts for 4 passengers, and lap belt for fifth.


Though the Indica eV2 L variant is the cheapest diesel car, it lacks some of the most common features such as AC and power steering. Only the LE variant (Rs. 4.63 lakh) gets the AC and only the LS variant (Rs. 4.77 lakh) gets both power steering and AC. Hence, the Indica eV2 L is for those who are on an extremely tight budget.

Chevrolet Beat diesel 1.0 – Rs. 4.61 lakh*

beat diesel exterior photo
Photo: The Chevrolet Beat diesel has become an instant hit with sales of over 5,000 units already

Post 2012 budget, the price of Beat diesel has been hiked by Rs. 8,000. But now, the actual price is Rs. 4,000 more than the post-budget price and hence the base variant costs Rs. 4.61 lakh. The Beat diesel currently holds the ‘most fuel efficient’ hatchback title. This small car is powered by a 1.0 litre XSDE Smartech engine that produces 57.4 bhp of peak power and 150 Nm of peak torque and returns a claimed mileage of 25.4 kmpl.

What we like

On the exterior, the base variant of the Beat diesel features 14” stylized steel wheels, body colored bumpers, a body colored tailgate handle and sporty black spoiler. The 1.0 PS features electronic power steering, manual HVAC, rear seat folding, battery saver, digital tachometer, odometer and trip meter and internally adjustable mirrors. In terms of safety features, the Beat diesel also has only basic features such as height adjustable front headrests, centre high mount stop lamp and dual horn. There are map pockets and bottle holders in the front doors. Also see: Chevrolet Beat diesel video review


Though the PS variant comes only with basic features such as a single door mirror, plain-glass windows without tint and no power windows, it still has electronic power steering and AC making it a ‘value for money’ diesel small car. But if you want more features, you can go for the LS variant (Rs. 4.73 lakh) which comes with gets front power windows, central locking and rear parcel shelf. Also see: Beat diesel vs Figo

Ford Figo 1.4 Duratorq LXI – Rs. 4.82 lakh*


The Figo 1.4 Duratorq LXI is powered by a 1.4 litre, diesel engine that makes 68 bhp of maximum power and 160 Nm of maximum torque and returns 20 kmpl (ARAI claimed). It is relatively more spacious than the Beat. The updated Figo in October 2012, gets better styling now. Prices haven’t changed much.

What we like

On the exterior, the LXI comes with body colored front & rear bumpers. On the inside, this base variant gets AC, power steering and pre-installed stereo wiring. The instrument cluster comes with digital odometer & trip-meter, distance to empty, low fuel warning, door-ajar warning, water-in-fuel indicator and a headlamp on reminder. Safety features are basic, with three-point seatbelts for four and lap-belt for fifth passenger, child locks on rear doors and a dual-tone horn. Also read: The ups and downs of owning a Ford Figo


Summing up, the base variant of the Figo, the LXI, has fundamental features such as power steering and AC, but lacks front power windows, front power socket (12V) and full wheel covers that are offered in the EXI variant (Rs. 5.17 lakh). However, when compared to the Beat 1.0 PS, the Figo LXI is better in rear seat space, boot space (284 litres), has better highway drivability and hence could be termed as a more ‘practical’ hatchback.

Maruti Suzuki Ritz LDI – Rs. 5.42 lakh*


The Ritz LDI is powered by a 1,248 cc, DDiS diesel motor that makes 74 bhp of maximum power and 190 Nm of maximum torque while returning a mileage of 21.1 kmpl (claimed). It has a tall boy design that gives a feeling of space. It was updated in October 2012.

What we like

The Ritz LDI gets body colored bumpers, internally adjustable (manual) outside rear view mirrors and wheel hub caps. On the inside, this base variant of Ritz has 60:40 split rear seats, foldable hand grips, front door trim pocket, adjustable front seat head restraint, roof antenna, cup holders, clock and an anti-glare interior rear view mirror. With regard to safety, the Ritz LDI has iCATS (immobilizer), rear fog lamp and child locks for rear doors. Also see: Ford Figo vs Maruti Swift diesel: Comparison


Summing up, the base variant of Ritz is a contemporarily-featured small car. Maruti Suzuki’s wide service network and lower maintenance cost, makes Ritz LDI, a ‘safe buy’ among small cars with diesel engines. *All are prices as on 13 February, 2013, ex-showroom, Delhi

Technical Specifications

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