General Motors launched the Beat diesel at a very competitive starting price of Rs. 4.29 lakh, (ex-showroom Delhi). Prices go up to Rs. 5.45 lakh for the top-end variant. The Beat diesel will be available in four variants. So how does the Beat’ proposition stand up against the competition? We find out.
What makes the Beat diesel an attractive vehicle is the fact that it is much cheaper than most of its competition. It beats cars like the Ford Figo and Maruti Ritz on the price front and loses out only to the Tata Indica eV2. The base diesel variant of the Ford Figo starts at Rs. 4.58 lakh, while the base variant of the Maruti Ritz starts at Rs. 4.85 lakh.
GM has been able to price the Beat so competitively because of a high degree of localization. The Smartech diesel engine (a derivative of the 1.3-litre Multijet from Fiat) is produced at its plant in Talegaon. Let’s take a look at how prices of the Beat diesel vary from variant to variant.
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Look, space and comfort
The only place that the Beat diesel may not be as good as Figo and Ritz is on interior space. While the front seats are comfortable and spacious for city drives, the Beat has a cramped rear seat and minimal luggage space. In terms of ride comfort, it has a well sorted suspension and good ground clearance. So it stands up to the Figo and Ritz on this front.
The Beat has better mileage than Maruti Suzuki Ritz and Ford Figo. The Beat may not be as powerful as its competitors but it provides immense value at this price. The Beat diesel is powered by a 936 cc, 3-cylinder “Smartech” diesel engine that produces 58 PS of power at 4000 rpm and 150 Nm of torque at 1,750 rpm, mated to a five-speed manual transmission.
The Ford Figo is powered by a 1.4 litre engine that puts out 68 bhp of power and 160 Nm of torque. The Maruti Ritz is far more powerful, with its 1.3-litre multijet engine putting out 75 bhp of power and 190 Nm of torque. Buyers of diesel hatchbacks are essentially looking for mileage. And that’s one area where the Beat diesel beats the others. It has an ARAI-certified mileage of 24 kmpl, while the Figo claims 20 kmpl and the Ritz claims 21.1 kmpl. Only the Tata Indica eV2 manages better mileage at 25 kmpl.
Price and features
What makes the Beat good value is in the features that it offers. The top-end Beat diesel (LT Option) offers climate control, ABS, airbags and alloy wheels at a price point of Rs. 5.45 lakh. This is similar to the top-end Ford Figo Titanium priced at Rs. 5.49 lakh. But the Figo does not have climate control and alloy wheels. The top-end Ritz diesel, the VDi, is priced at Rs. 5.40 lakh, but does not provide airbags, alloy wheels or climate control.
There are no other major changes to the Beat diesel compared to its petrol sibling, except that the diesel Beat uses electronic power steering instead of hydraulic power. Electronic power steering helps in improving mileage as it takes the load off the engine, and is also easier to package as it does not require elaborate plumbing like a hydraulic unit.
The Beat diesel, at this very aggressive pricing, is one of the cheapest diesel hatchbacks in the country today, other than the Indica eV2. It will appeal to individual buyers looking for a well-built and refined, economical car to drive in the city. Where it loses out is in space compared to Figo and Ritz. Expect this car to quickly climb the sales charts in the next few months. If space is not a big factor for you, then Beat diesel is a great option with its contemporary styling and good mileage.
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