The least priced set of diesel powered four wheels in India is the Tata Indica eV2, and the car is a firm cabbie favourite. What this means is, driving around in one can actually get you flagged down by ride seekers. And this is the worst nightmare of family car buyers, in a country where cars are still considered luxuries. It’s 2015, and even Tata Motors has finally realized that the Indica eV2 is past its sell-by date, with the Kite hatchback all set to replace the old girl. The race for India’s cheapest set of diesel powered wheels is now on. Maruti Suzuki could pip Tata Motors to the post, yet again. Enter the Celerio Diesel.
The Celerio Diesel has been in the works for over a year now, with a barrage of differently clad test mules keeping spy photographers busy. Why, the car has even been pictured with zero camouflage and ZDi badging, indicating that the launch is all but a certainty. The car will use a 792cc, twin cylinder turbo diesel motor, borrowed from Maruti Suzuki’s Y9T code-named light pick up truck. 40 Bhp and 120 Nm are speculated power and torque numbers for this motor. This diesel engine will also be the smallest one that has ever powered a hatchback in India, even as concerns about refinement levels remain.
April 2015 is when the Maruti Suzuki Celerio Diesel is likely to make its debut in India. With its petrol powered variants starting at 3.9 lakh rupees, the diesel powered variant – considering the nature and size of the engine in question – isn’t expected to command a premium of more than 60,000 rupees. A starting price tag that’s a touch under 4.5 lakh rupees will give the Celerio Diesel bragging rights of being the least priced diesel car in the country, undercutting the Indica eV2 by a few thousands. The car’s claim to fame will be something different though. Fuel efficiency is the reason why buyers buy diesel powered cars in the first place.
Playing on this sentiment, Maruti Suzuki is said to be targeting a 30 Kmpl fuel efficiency figure for the Celerio Diesel. This kind of efficiency will make the hatchback the most frugal car in the country. While the automaker can project low running costs as a big draw for the car, the landscape in India has now changed dramatically with diesel prices deregulated and crude prices at an all time low. Under these changed circumstances, it would take a special effort from Maruti to drive enough buyers towards the Celerio Diesel, a car that’s one of the boldest experiments in recent times, from the Gurgaon headquartered automaker.