The frugal diesel hatchback excels in the city, but how does it cope with a 600km trip during monsoon season?
With the monsoons in full swing and a mid-week national holiday coming up, I decided to head to Goa for a little vacation. It’s a near-600km drive from Mumbai and what I needed was a car that would be good for a long-distance, highway run. But being at the end of the month, I also had to consider the factor of fuel economy. So, brushing aside the S-cross, Creta and Brezza, I decided to take the Celerio diesel for the drive. It is, after all, one of the most economical cars on sale right now.
Of course, I was warned by several colleagues who were apprehensive about the little hatchback’s capabilities outside the city. But given that I wouldn’t be able to carry much speed anyway, owing to wet conditions, I wasn’t particularly worried about the underpowered diesel engine. The dual front airbags that ZDI (0) trim brings gave me more reassurance, especially when heading out on such a long drive.
We set out early in the morning to skip traffic and were soon on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. To my surprise, the Celerio was faring pretty well on open roads. Yes, the vibrations from the two-cylinder engine were constantly present and the intrusion was irritating – especially when pushing it on the highway – but it was fairly easy to hold three-digit speeds. I just made sure the music was turned up enough to drown out the engine noise. Speaking of entertainment, Bluetooth, USB and aux compatibility, along with steering-mounted controls, ensured I could have uninterrupted music on the go. And the speakers are better quality than quite a few of its competitors in the class.
Stability at high speeds isn’t too bad either, but its hatchback shape is a bit vulnerable to the strong cross winds that accompanied the rains on the open highway. There is body roll around corners, but nothing that shook my confidence.