Prior to the imminent launch of the Chevrolet Beat diesel in India on July 25th 2011, the small car market usually consisted of petrol engined cars below or on the 1.2 liter mark. The government regulations in 2006 specified that small cars below the 4 meter mark should have 1.2 liter petrol engines and diesel engined cars should have a cubic capacity not exceeding 1.5 liters. Many manufacturers have taken benefit of this rule and have introduced competent petrol and diesel engines in this small hatchback segment. Now is the time for the smaller capacity diesel engines to step in. It has long being in development (diesel engine for Beat) and now finally a ray of hope dawns for the Indian small car buyers. Here is a preview of the Chevrolet Beat diesel in India and more suitably, upon its launch, there would also be either a test drive, comparison or a review of the same.
As for the looks, there is no differentiation, however the keen eyed would notice the fatter rubber on this car due to the diesel engine up ahead. However, GM India shouldn’t have bothered much as the diesel engine weighs just a midge more than the current Smartech petrol. Also, the first change that one would notice would be the TCDI badging at the rear. Now, that in GM speak means a diesel engine is under the hood. The funky look and the well proportioned stance of this car would attract all and we can envisage onlookers who would rarely give a second glance to the now familiar Beat.
On the interior front, it is all the same with the first class plastics and spacious accommodation upfront. Well, obviously for the rear portion, there is leg room lacking but then the upswept stance of this car means there is more head room than the other hatchbacks in this category. The small windows, however, would create a feeling of claustrophobia. Boot space is also nothing remarkable to speak about. GM India may or may not add more features to this car than its petrol variant. Still no turn indicators into the outside rear view mirrors. Well, we can forgive GM for this.
With the fatter rubber, the handling and also the ride quality of this car has increased leaps and bounds. No longer is the ride quality harsh but it has become softer. Also, the handling of this car has gone in the forward direction and NVH from even the Smartech engine is on the lower side here. Wonder how good the steering is with its new fewer locks configuration. The best part is that the stability of this car has gone notches above with the use of appropriate rubber. It is said that Goodyear tyres would be used and that is a significant step forward from the JK tyres currently offered on the petrol and CNG Beat. Visibility, however remains a sore point towards the rear with the small rear glass window acting as a dampener.
As for the engine, GM have finally exercised their rights of owning stakes in Fiat once. This is evident from the same 1.3 liter multijet engine being used in the Beat diesel with one cylinder chopped off. Moreover not only have GM chopped off the cylinder but have also reduced the swept volume to under 1 liter. This new 3 cylinder CRDI motor produces 58 Bhp of power and peak torque of 150 Nm. It is aligned to a 5 speed manual gearbox which is said to be an even more sweeter shifting unit than the manual which is present in the petrol Beat. This should be a good sign. Though seeing the 58 Bhp of power, not many would be impressed, however it seems that GM have given driveability more preference than hair raising speed run rush. However , more can be given in detail once we have the car in hand. The best part is that this 3 cylinder mill has a fuel efficiency of 24 kmpl attached to it. Now, this is a figure which has been given by ARAI and real world figures would hover around the 20 kmpl overall mark. Moreover, GM are sure to kit the Beat diesel with airbags and the much needed ABS. That is if they decide not to go the Micra diesel way, which doesn’t come with ABS even in its top form.
Now, the launch would be on 25th July 2011 but then the entire automobile industry is waiting to see if GM can actually price the Beat diesel in the same ballpark as its petrol sedan. If sources are to believed, then the Beat diesel would be priced at a premium of Rs 30k more than what the similarly specced petrol variant would cost. The actual Chevrolet Beat diesel price in India would however be revealed on the launch date and we are sure that GM certainly has got us holding our breaths for the price. The good news is that dealers have already started taking bookings and the booking amount is close to Rs 10k.