Maruti SX4 diesel – Preview

Maruti started their diesel car operations by shoehorning a diesel power-plant into their small Zen car and then later the Esteem sedan. This diesel was sourced from Peugeot but had limited appeal due it not meeting emission norms and not having a good name for reliability as well. Since then Maruti has refrained from using a diesel engine. This was until the Fiat-Suzuki alliance happened and Maruti got the much acclaimed 1.3 liter multi jet from the Fiat stables. They fitted it into the best selling Swift some years back. And the rest as they say is history. The Swift petrol which already had a long waiting period had company in the Swift diesel. Then came the Swift Dzire model. The same diesel engine was put into the Dzire as well and now, it faces the same fate of having long waiting periods.

Seeing this popularity, Maruti has decided to give its now flagship, the SX4 with a diesel engine. This seems logical following on the footsteps of launch of the CNG model SX4. The SX4 petrol was losing out on an average fuel economy as compared to other models in its class. A Diesel should offset that. However Maruti have plans to introduce its own version of the Multijet. It wouldn’t be the 1.3 liter fitted with a turbo charger{one doing duties in the Tata Indigo Manza and the Fiat Linea but a new 1.6 liter DDIS pumping out 120 bhp with an incredible 220Nm of torque. The fuel efficiency would approximately 13 kmpl in city and a high 20 kmpl on the highway, with the diesel engine at the helm.

A few visual changes are guaranteed for the diesel sedan. This is going to be similar to the changes which were made in the Corolla diesel sedan. It is to distinguish the petrol and the diesel sedans. The New Maruti SX4 diesel will sport a DDIS tag at the rear for sure but minor changes would be there on the grill as well. The diesel would also have uprated suspension components upfront to negate the weight of the diesel engine. The transmission would the same 5 speed manual as found on the petrol version however its gear ratios would be altered to accommodate the additional torque. An automatic would also be offered much later, but it would still be within the price range of the base Honda City.

The same gum ball size tyres would be present on the diesel version as well but with a different alloy design. The New Maruti SX4 diesel would give the best performance in its class alongwith sufficient NVH. It is touted to be the next diesel rocket in its segment, the other one been the Hyundai Verna CRDI.

Maruti SX4 diesel in India would be launched in the first quarter of 2011. As with all Maruti’s the pricing would be spot on and expect the base diesel to go for Rs.8,90000 to Rs.9,70000 for the top end Zdi. The automatic would push up the price by another 50k. It would then be bang in the Chevy Cruze and Toyota Corolla segment.

Technical specifications of the SX4 diesel
  • Engine: 1597 cc (Diesel)
  • Power: 120 bhp
  • Ground Clearance (mm): 190
  • Length (mm): 4490
  • Width (mm): 1735
  • Height (mm): 1570
  • Torque: 220Nm
  • Wheel Base (mm): 2560
  • Boot space (litres): 485

New Fiat Bravo in India – Preview

New Fiat Bravo in India has successfully now established. However its road to success was not lined with roses. More so it had all thorns and then some more. Its resurgence started when it aligned with Tata Motors for its sales and after service. Fiat India haven’t looked back since. First they launched the Italian beauty, the Fiat Linea. This was welcomed by the Indian car buying public inspite of apprehensions about Fiat quality and service. Then came the Fiat 500 at a steep price of Rs.16 lakhs. Fiat didn’t expect volumes out of it as it was meant only as brand building exercise.

Next came the Fiat Punto. It was also lapped up by the Indian car buying public. Not satisfied with this, Fiat launched a 90bhp version for the Punto. It now carries the tag of hot hatch on it. This was just a precursor to another hot hatch- Fiat Bravo. The Bravo is one of the Fiat’s big super-minis across the world. Built on a similar chassis like the Fiat Punto and the Linea, the Bravo promises world class handling and ride. Ride on all the Fiats in India is well sorted. The Fiat Bravo is offered in 2 engine trims. A potent petrol and a competent diesel power plant. The diesel is the one of contention in India though. It is a 1.9 liter engine offering 150 bhp at 3800 rpm and torque of 305 Nm at 2000 rpm. The petrol on the other hand will sport the T-jet turbo motor from the Linea. It will put out 115 bhp and about 200 Nm of torque. The top speed of the Fiat Bravo diesel is estimated to be 190 Kmph and fuel efficiency is about 12 kmpl in the city. Truly hot hatch territory.

The Bravo is built on an extended Punto platform and hence this amounts to liberation of space for the rear passengers as well. Look-wise it is the best amongst the big hatches. It even surpasses the Honda Jazz on looks. It has a bold and planted stance. It can be related to the Punto with the placement of the head lamps and all. It also has all the creature comforts even for the base version. Fog lamps, Blue tooth and me, 16 inch alloy wheels, 4 way driver adjustable seats, Anti Braking Stability {ABS}, 2 airbags, climate control and a 2 din music player are some of the standard fare. The boot also offers 403 liters of space and the rear seats completely fold down like the Honda Jazz to liberate more space.

The bone of contention is that the Bravo would be priced at around Rs.10-11 lakhs. This is more than what the Jazz is priced for however at this price point, you get a formidable and very competent machine. It is expected to be launched at around March 2011. Its main competitors would be the Hyundai I20, Skoda Fabia, Chevrolet’s long forgotten Optra SR-V and the competent Honda Jazz.

Technical specifications of the Fiat Bravo diesel

Height: 1520mm

Width: 1760mm

Length: 4021mm

Engine location: Front

Engine: 1910cc, turbocharged multijet engine

Max. Power: 150bhp @4000rpm

Torque: 305 Nm @ 2000 rpm