We compare two small cars – the all-new WagonR from Maruti Suzuki and General Motors’ Chevrolet Beat
It was inevitable. Maruti-Suzuki had to react to the pressure. After all, new small cars were being launched every other day! Maruti’s all-time reliable hatchback tallboy Wagon R was seriously looking old and unappealing.
And react they did. We have an all-new maruti Suzuki Wagon R now, fondly named the Blue Eyed Boy.
The Chevrolet Beat, on the other hand, single-handedly made General Motors India a major player in the high volume small car market. It has space-age looks, and bookings and sales are at an all-time high.
It was inevitable that we had to do this comparison between the new upstart and the upgraded Emperor.
Wagon R vs Chevrolet Beat: Exterior
Maruti has left no stone unturned in developing this new Wagon R. Bigger in size and taller in height than the earlier one, the Wagon R has now finally come of age as far as design goes. The Chevrolet Beat on the other hand looks space-age-ish, a vehicle from the future or something. Not much has changed from the concept design of the Chevrolet Beat and the final car. Funky rear door handles, big bold lines and angles… this car will feel at home in the Cars movie for sure! The Wagon R, even with its fresh styling, is clearly identifiable as a WagonR. The new one is bigger and bolder, but as far as aesthetic appeal goes, the Chevrolet Beat with its very sharp shape from any angle easily is the best looker here among the two.
Winner: Chevrolet Beat
WagonR vs Chevy Beat: Interior
Get inside the WagonR and you instantly see the difference. The plastics are much better in quality compared to the earlier WagonR and the dash is better laid out. The Chevrolet Beat carries its space-age design inside as well. The cockpit is well laid out with soft blue backlight on all knobs and dials. Seats on the WagonR are much wider and firmer compared to the Beat’s. Height adjustable steering is available on both Beat and WagonR. Beat scores in aesthetics, with the space-age dash and cabin. But for seats, rear seat leg-room and head room, the Beat cannot beat the WagonR. The Suzuki tallboy has loads of leg room thanks to the lengthened chassis of the new WagonR. Feature-wise both the top end versions of the Beat and Wagon R come with 2 front air-bags, ABS (option), MP3 Stereo, front fog lamps – so not much of a difference in the goodies list between the two.
Winner (aesthetics) – Chevrolet Beat
Winenr (comfort) – Suzuki WagonR
Maruti-Suzuki decided to stick with its bread-and-butter engine, the K Series 3 cylinder 998cc powerplant that powers the Suzuki A-Star and the Estilo as well. This engine pumps out 67 bhp and delivers 91.7 nm of torque.
The Chevrolet Beat comes with an all-new engine. In fact, they laid an all-new plant facility for their S-Tec engines that power the Beat. This is an 1196cc four-cylinder unit making 80.5 bhp and 108nm of torque. Both the cars have 5-speed gearboxes. The Beat has an extra cylinder and some 13.5 more bhp of power in its favor, which should tilt the scale in favour of the Chevrolet Beat in the engine department.
Winner: Chevrolet Beat.
Suspension set up on both the cars is near about the same. Here the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R has the advantage of being larger in length and width, hence giving it the feel of a much bigger car while driving. Not that the Beat has a bad set-up – but the Wagon R feels feels more planted.
But the engine of the Beat, being much larger and more powerful, is more fun to drive and it is rev- friendly too. On the other hand, the Wagon R has a 3 pot engine which has to be kept in the power band. Once you are in this sweet spot, the Suzuki engine proves why the Japanese are master at small cars and small engines. The Beat is a lot more punchier, but the Wagon R loves to dance along and stands out while cornering.
Then comes the all-important question of mileage. Here, the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R is clearly more fuel-efficient and returned 18 kmpl during our tests, compared to 15.5 kmpl for the Chevrolet Beat.
Prices for the Wagon R start at Rs. 3.28 lakhs and top out at Rs. 3.81 lakhs, while the Chevrolet Beat is priced at Rs. 3.51 lakh for the low-end variant, and the top-end LT version sells at Rs 4.14 lakhs. We have driven both the cars and can confess that both are fun to drive around in the city and during short runs on the highways.
If you want something funky and a complete head-turner then go get the Beat. Your kids are going to love it. If you want to stay with something contemporary and be backed by the best after-sales and service, buy the WagonR.