India specific diesel engines seem to be the next big thing as far as car makers are concerned. Mahindra has a twin-turbo diesel engine that it uses to power the Quanto compact SUV. Volkswagen and Skoda have already brought in the 1.5 liter-4 cylinder TDI turbo diesel engine, a downsized version of the 1.6 liter TDI motor for use in the likes of the Polo, Vento and Rapid cars. Fiat is planning a 1.5 liter, downsized version of its 1.6 liter MultiJet diesel motor, which will be used in the next generation Linea sedan and upcoming X3U codenamed compact SUV.
Maruti Suzuki will soon join the 1.5 liter diesel engine part with a motor that is also a downsized version of the 1.6 liter diesel motor being currently developed by Suzuki. The 1.5 liter diesel engine from Maruti Suzuki will be used in cars such as the next generation Ertiga MPV and Ciaz sedan, and the upcoming XA Alpha compact SUV. Maruti Suzuki taking aim of the 1.5 liter engine capacity has to do with excise duty considerations. Under India’s prevailing excise duty norms, cars that measure under 4 meters in length can claim a lower excise if their petrol engines displace under 1.2 liters and diesel engines displace under 1.5 liters.
The excise norms have prompted car makers to not only build India-specific engines but to also build India-specific cars. Sub-4 meter compact sedans and compact SUVs are direct offshoots of the excise duty norms. These vehicle classes are limited to the Indian car market as international markets do not prefer cars with lengths tailored just for excise considerations elsewhere. Maruti Suzuki is also working on a new 792 cc, twin cylinder turbo diesel engine for use in its small cars such as the Celerio and the WagonR.
The 792 cc twin pot diesel was originally developed for use in the upcoming Y9T pick up truck, which will make its Indian debut next year. A refined version of the same engine is likely to power the likes of the Celerio and WagonR models. The lowest capacity turbo diesel engine doing duty in a car sold in India is that of the Chevrolet Beat Diesel. The Beat Diesel’s engine is a 3 cylinder, 936 cc turbocharged unit. In this light, the 792 cc twin cylinder turbo diesel engine that Maruti Suzuki is putting together will be the smallest serial production car diesel engine. The automaker is aiming for a 30 Kmpl mileage figure from this engine, which will also make the Celerio Diesel the most fuel efficient car in India.