The Celerio diesel, with its tiny 793cc, twin-cylinder diesel engine, wasn’t really one of the most sought-after cars in our fleet. However, in the long time it spent with us (since June 2015), the Celerio delivered an astounding figure of around 17kpl in Mumbai city driving right from day one, and on the highway, the numbers were even better. The diesel Celerio’s ARAI-claimed overall fuel efficiency figure is 27.62kpl and in real-world testing, it managed to hover around that mark, and that is a big deal.
Sure, the fuel economy numbers from this lightweight two-cylinder diesel engine were fantastic, but a big downside is the refinement. Yes, this car is noisy, both inside and out. The shiny new Celerio received dubious stares from my neighbours every time I brought the engine to life, thanks to the commercial-vehicle-like engine note. Despite all the additional sound-deadening material that Maruti says it has added, there’s a fair bit of engine noise that creeps into the cabin. You don’t expect this from a car that costs almost Rs 7 lakh.
On the highway, I realised that the engine loses breath when pushed hard. It feels best while cruising at 80-90kph in fifth gear; the Celerio diesel can do this the whole day without complaining. But it’s in the city that the Celerio feels most at home, with enough poke to keep up with the flow of traffic. Also, the clutch is quite light and doesn’t tire you out in stop-go traffic. The electrically-powered steering, however, is heavy for such a car, unlike the petrol-powered Celerio which requires noticeably less effort to steer. Also, over time, the gearshifts became notchy, and slotting it into reverse gear was quite a task.
The model we had was the top-spec ZDi (O) variant. It gets a decent four-speaker music system with USB, AUX and Bluetooth. And being a top-spec trim, it’s got steering-mounted controls as well, even for Bluetooth telephony. Safety is taken care of by ABS and dual front airbags. It also comes with a height-adjustable driver’s seat, power wing mirrors and a rear wash/wipe which make the features list quite decent for a car in this category.
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Issue: 210 | Autocar India: February 2017
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