With the impeding launch of the Chevrolet Beat diesel in India, it is but pertinent that many other diesel engined cars in the small car segment would obviously feel threatened. Whilst the 2011 Maruti Swift wouldn’t have to worry about its sales getting affected (there are many who have already put in their money on this model without even having seen or test driven this car), it’s the other entry level diesel cars which would raise an eyebrow or two over the entry of the Beat diesel. These would be the Ford Figo diesel and also the Tata Indica eV2 diesel. Both are relatively cheap (in the price sector) versions and befitting the entry level diesel segment customer. So here is an Indiandrives take on how the Beat diesel should fare against the competition. As done with the Toyota Liva comparison (Toyota Liva in India compared to its competitors), we wouldn’t be telling you which one wins or the winning constitution, however the pros and cons of all the models would be discussed here. Now, the decision is left in your hands.
Tata Indica eV2 :
The Tata Indica has been around for a long time in India and it is but natural that many would expect this warhorse to be utterly reliable. However, far from it, the Indica has got a notorious reputation for being an unreliable machine. However, its looks wouldn’t offend anyone and it can be now safely said that Tata have finally shed the taxi image of this car with first the Vista and then the eV2 model. Its spacious interiors are the best thing in this car and they can easily question the need to go for any other hatchback in this category or one above. However, the same interiors are boring to look at, though feature rich. Moreover, the interior quality is nothing to write about and this is one area where infact of continuous improvements being done in the Tata Quality department, its still not upto the mark and certainly not a patch on the competition. However, the ease of Tata service networks availability and the relatively cheap labor expense is what compels one to go in for a Tata car. The engine under the hood is dubbed as CR4 and produces a healthy 70 Bhp from its 1.4 liter heart and also 140 Nm of torque. It has also got a 5 speed manual transmission for handling the shifting duties. The engine as also the transmission are a sea change from the earlier models and this reflects in the way the car drives. Normal driving routines are taken care off well and even the suspension is upto the task for most of the times. Moreover, the old Indica gripe of being noisy and stuff has been also relegated to the past with this car. Its other biggest USP other than the 25 kmpl claimed ARAI mileage is its price which starts from as low as Rs 4 lakhs. Rs 4 lakhs and that too for a diesel engine is stupendous value for money. However, in the long run, knowing Tata and its products, the cost of ownership would be on the higher side and resale value would be low.
Pros : Anywhere Serviceability, space, price, fuel efficiency and driving dynamics
Cons : Overall ownership costs, Tata authorized service stations, unreliable and cheap plastics
Ford Figo Duratorq :
This is one best seller from Ford in recent times and it still holds its ground due to the lower pricing and also the high value for money quotient. The looks are also easy on the eyes for many. On the inside, the plastics are certainly of a better quality and there is a horde of features to follow like Bluetooth connection, distance to empty indicator, integrated music system and so on. Space inside the cabin is also good for 5 though, 3 at the rear would be at a squeeze. The driving dynamics of the Figo are a class benchmark with very good ride and handling characteristics thrown in for better effect. Moreover the steering wheel is also very good to hold and has a communicative action to it. Not only that, the NVH is also nicely damped up in this car. Furthermore, the 1.4 liter diesel engine pumps out 67 Bhp. This coupled with 160 Nm of torque makes for a good drive in the city, however, out on the highway, the car feels a bit out of breath. Braking and other stuff is assuring and over the times, Ford have also revised the prices of their spares and hence owning it wouldn’t be as costly as prejudged. Price for the Figo diesel starts from Rs 4.8 lakhs.
Pros : Looks, space, engine, features and dynamics
Cons : Not many service centers and relatively higher price of spares
Chevrolet Beat diesel :
The Chevrolet Beat diesel is yet to be launched, however knowing its specifications and other stuff, it is quite a looker as is evident from even the petrol version. However, the looks would appeal more to younger car buyers rather than the all round design of both the Indica and also the Figo. On the interiors, the fancy story carries forward with the Beat having got an instrument cluster to die for. Then there is the automatic climate control system which works very well. Form takes over function here since the Beat isn’t as spacious as the competition. It works better for singles or bachelors. Those with a family wouldn’t appreciate the Beat’s lack of space inside the cabin. It can seat only 4 and that too with reasonable comfort. The steering wheel of the Beat is also good as compared with the one in the Indica. The ride quality for the diesel Beat is also said to be on the better side than the jiggly one on the petrol variant. Moreover, handling is also at par with the class though nowhere near as in the Figo. The diesel engine in the Beat is a 1.0 liter unit and the first three cylinder sub 1 liter diesel in the country. It is derived from Fiat’s multijet engine and produces power of 58 Bhp. While this may be the lowest in this comparison, it is the real world driveability that the 150 Nm of torque provides, that matters. It is also aligned to a much sweeter shifting 5 speed manual transmission. Needless to say, with three cylinders and a smaller motor, the Chevy achieves a claimed fuel efficiency of 24 kmpl. Moreover with GM’ servicing policy and the 3 yrs or 45k kms whichever is earlier maintenance plan, one cannot go wrong with the Chevrolet Beat diesel. All the necessary safety as also driving aids are present in this car. Now, the price. It is expected that GM would price the Beat very competitively and something similar to the Indica would mean that this car has the potential to blow away the competition.
Pros : Looks, interiors, plastic quality, fuel efficiency, maintenance program and features
Cons : Space, puny engine and unknown pricing
We have compared all the three entry level diesel cars in here and we would let you choose the winner based on your requirements and also preferences. This segment is set to heat up even more with an i10 diesel in the near future. Now cut to the wait for the launch of the Chevrolet Beat diesel on 25th July 2011 for the exact pricing of the product and to see if GM have got the pricing spot on or have they spoilt it.