Maruti Suzuki Celerio diesel launched at Rs 4.65 lakh, claimed to be India's most fuel-efficient Diesel car
It’s no secret that fuel efficiency and running costs are a massive factor in car-buying decisions in India. Diesel engines are especially important for car owners who commute over long distances on a daily basis. Unfortunately, not many entry level cars in our market use diesel engines, because small-capacity diesel engines are both hard to engineer well and expensive to make.
However, nowadays, it’s starting to catch on. Hyundai’s Grand i10, for example, can be had with a 70bhp, 1,120cc three-cylinder engine and Chevrolet has a 58.5bhp, 936cc three-cylinder diesel in the Beat. The Chevrolet is, in fact, India’s most fuel efficient hatchback: with a fuel economy rating of 25.44kpl.
Now Maruti wants to up its game with this new Celerio diesel. What we’ve discovered is that the car has received an ARAI rating of 27.62kpl, and that places it ahead of Maruti’s own Ciaz diesel, which has held the title of most efficient car in India until now.
Maruti, unlike the competition however, hasn’t lopped a cylinder off an existing engine; it has designed an all-new one, from scratch, with a reduced cylinder count specifically in mind. Known internally as the E08A, Suzuki and Maruti’s first diesel will also be the first two-cylinder engine after the Nano. Displacing a mere 793cc, which would make it the smallest automotive diesel engine in the world, the unit will put out a mere 47bhp at a relatively relaxed 3,500rpm. While that kind of power is barely sufficient, what will help is the healthy torque of the diesel – 12.1kgm (versus 9.1kgm for the petrol). And what will also help the car will be its light kerb weight; between 880 and 900kg.
Speaking at the launch of the diesel Celerio, Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director and chief executive officer, Maruti Suzuki, said, "The DDiS 125 engine is the first-ever diesel engine designed and developed by Suzuki and would be a major volume gainer for Maruti in India. It would expand our diesel range beyond Swift, DZire and the premium sedan Ciaz. We expect 20-30% of the Celerio sales to come from this diesel variant as mileage conscious Indians shift to fuel-efficient cars."
Maruti executives said the company along with its suppliers have together invested over Rs 900 crore towards development of this diesel engine that carries over 97% localisation. The 800cc twincylinder engine would deliver a torque of 125 nm@2000 rpm.
Launched in February 2014, the Celerio model has sold over 95,000 units till May-end with nearly a third of the total sales coming from automatic gear variants. "We have no immediate plans to launch the automatic in the diesel version even though the petrol version has been successful in the past one year," Ayukawa said.