The Maruti Suzuki Ritz and Chevrolet Beat don’t exactly belong in the same segment with the higher-priced Ritz sitting a notch above the Chevy. But then, is the Beat as reliable and hassle-free as the Maruti? Does it offer better fuel economy? More importantly, is the Ritz really worth paying the higher premium? DWS Auto answers a few pertinent questions.
To some, the Maruti Suzuki Ritz’s styling may appear a bit awkward. The rear, in particular, looks like it was shunted before Maruti bosses approved the design. It isn’t ugly or garish – just a bit odd and boring to look at. The vertical tail lamp cluster does liven up things a bit but overall, it’s a love-it-or-hate-it styling. Having said that, the design did grow on us every time we looked at it. The Ritz is available in 8 different shades but the car looks most attractive in green, blue and red.
The Ritz is a much longer and wider car than the Beat. At 1,620 mm, it is also taller compared to the Beat, which is a good100 mm shorter. The increased height facilitates easy entry and exit – a boon for elderly passengers as they don’t have to bend their bodies too much to enter the car.
The Chevrolet Beat looks futuristic and it’s bold, aggressive front fascia is targeted to appeal to a younger buyer as against the Ritz, which is designed for those with slightly more mature, conservative tastes. The dynamic split grille and twin-barrel headlamps give it a striking stance while the rear with twin circular tail lamps gives off a retro charm.
GM has done its best to make the Beat look cool, which is why it retains most of the design cues from the Beat concept car. Cool bits include the rear door handles, which are fixed to the edge of the windows instead of their traditional location.
Winner: Both are equally good (or bad) to look at and it really is a matter of which target group you fall in. If you are young and into your first job, the Beat’s trendy looks may appeal more to you than the Ritz’s slightly conservative styling.
The “cool” theme of the Chevrolet Beat is carried on to the inside as well starting with a cockpit-like dashboard that lights up in ice-blue illumination. Another unique feature is the steering column-mounted instrument pod that has an LED backlit analogue speedometer and an LCD with a fuel gauge, tachometer, odo/tripmeter and clock. The plastic quality, though, feels cheap and doesn’t quite gel with the otherwise premium-looking interior.
The Maruti Ritz also has a stylish interior, and the quality of materials used appears to be high. However, Maruti went too far in its bid to act cool by upholstering the seats in blue, which looks slightly tacky. The Ritz offers a high seating position – owing to its tallboy nature – from where you get a commanding view of the road. But the thick C-pillars and steeply-raked rear window do hinder rear visibility.
Rear seat legroom in the Ritz is just about adequate but it makes up for its shortcomings with a generous headroom and sufficient under-thigh support. At 236 litres, the Ritz also has a larger boot compared to the Beat, which had to compromise on its cargo space for improved leg space at the rear. But while the Chevy’s seats are comfy, the stiff underthigh support may not make for relaxed long-distance trips.
Winner: Both cars have smart interiors though the Beat’s futuristic cockpit looks more interesting. Space-wise, this is a tie mostly.
The Maruti Ritz’s 4-cylinder, 1,242 cc K-Series petrol engine is an amazingly refined and smooth motor that loves to be revved, though not as much as the Swift. Mated to a slick 5-speed gearbox that slots into place effortlessly, the engine develops 84 bhp at 6,000 rpm and a 113 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm. What’s impressive is that a lot of the torque is produced low down in the rev range, which makes cruising in city traffic a breeze.
The Chevrolet Beat has a 4-pot, 1.2-litre engine that puts out about 5 bhp less power than the Ritz’s K-Series mill. The S-TEC II engine develops 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.
Winner: The Ritz’s K-Series engine is the peppier of the two and makes for a better driver’s car.
Handling & Performance
Both cars have similar ground clearance (165-170 mm), though the additional 5mm on the Ritz offers a more planted ride. Suspension is set up soft which causes a fair amount of body roll in corners. The upshot is that the car feels rock solid over bumpy roads and potholes.
On the downside, straight-line stability on highways is not as confidence-inspiring, forcing you to lift that right foot off the accelerator pedal to slow things down. But that precisely is the dilemma of the Ritz owner as the supremely willing K-series engine simply keeps egging you on to floor the throttle. In terms of acceleration, the Maruti Suzuki Ritz does a 0-100 kmph in 14.5 seconds.
The Chevrolet Beat, on the other hand, is known more for its remarkable ride quality. Small bumps and undulations don’t pose much of a problem to the Chevy. GM has also managed to plug the engine and road noise efficiently. However, like the Ritz, the Beat too suffers from body roll. And that’s not it’s only Achilles heel.
The Beat is quick but it doesn’t quite have the nimble character of the Ritz despite it weighing lesser than the Maruti (965 kg vs 1,015 kg). That’s because the Beat’s engine is better equipped for ambling at moderate speeds than full-throttle acceleration. The Chevy is built to be a sporty-looking city car whose main task is to lug occupants from point A to B effortlessly. And that it does commendably.
However, the S-TEC II engine of the Beat just doesn’t feel relaxed enough on highways prompting you to keep that speedo needle below 100 km/hr. Even then, the Beat delivers respectable acceleration – with 0-100 kmph achieved in 15 seconds, which really is just 0.5 seconds more than the Ritz’s – hardly a difference!
Winner: Ritz wins this battle comfortably, though, not by a huge margin.
Mileage compared: Ritz petrol vs Beat
One would assume the Ritz to be the more fuel-efficient car here owing to its virtue of being a Maruti. But surprise of all surprises, it’s the Beat that turns out to be the less thirsty hatch. The Beat delivers a claimed18.6 kmpl compared to the Ritz’s 17.7 kmpl. Actual figures may vary depending on your driving style and where the car is driven more – on city roads or highways.
So which one should you opt for? Before answering that question, let’s take a look at the variants and the equipment they offer. The Beat is offered in 6 trims, including 2 LPG variants. The base 1.2 PS model comes with a price tag of tarts at Rs 3.55 lakh while the top-of-the-line 1.2 LT Option will set you back by Rs 4.66 lakh. For this money, you get ABS, front fog lamps, twin airbags, climate control, all four power windows, integrated stereo, power and tilt steering, rear wash/wipe, remote boot lid and central locking. The base version comes with only AC (but no climate control), power steering, remote boot lid and tubeless tyres.
The Ritz is available in only three trims: LXi, VXi and ZXi. The LXi priced at Rs 4.01 lakh is Rs 45,000 more expensive than the base Beat model. The top-end Ritz ZXi is priced at Rs 4.97 lakh and comes with ABS, EBD, front and rear fog lamps, twin airbags, AC (but no climate control), all four power windows, power and tilt steering, audio controls on steering, rear defogger integrated stereo, alloy wheels, etc.
The equipment list in the base models of both the Beat and the Ritz are par for the course. But among the top-end variants, the Ritz ZXi offers a bit more bang for your buck. If the vast service and support network of Maruti attracts you more than anything else, the answer is clear: The Ritz it is for you.
Eventually, it all boils down to whether you want to shell out the extra moolah on the Ritz. If you like the looks of the Chevrolet Beat, go for it. It is definitely a hugely practical car and offers tremendous value. To add to its advantages is Chevrolet’s 3-year/100,000 km warranty, which ensures low running costs and peace of mind.