The entry-level hatchback segment has variety of cars, each offering a different proposition in terms of size, space, power, efficiency, features and even price point. And now with the advent of the Celerio things have become a bit more complicated. It is certainly not the best looking car in the segment, neither is it big like few others – but it does have an ace up its sleeves that should quickly make it one of the favourites on the city roads.
The Celerio is not the biggest in the segment – that distinction is with the Micra Active. But it is not the smallest either, it is wider than both the Beat and the i10 and that means it should have bit more space for the rear passengers. The Celerio is also the tallest among the four, the tall-boy design will work in its favour in the city traffic, however it may be counterproductive at high speeds specially on twisty roads.
Now looks is a very subjective topic, but we think there need not be any argument on the fact that the Beat looks most modern and catchy among the four of them. The Micra Active with curvy lines appeals more to the fairer sex and these same lines also conceals the size of the car, which in India is not necessarily a good thing. The i10 is probably the only Hyundai car with fluidic sculptor that is not very attractive. The Celerio does not fair too well on this front either, the sides of the car are very basic while the front looks overdone with the grille extending into the headlamp console. The rear design has traits of both the A Star and the Alto 800.
All the cars are evenly matched on the features list – the only difference is that Celerio being new gets few additional goodies, like phone compatibility for the music system. The Micra is a clear winner on safety features with ABS-EBD and two airbags, as all the others miss out on the EBD.
Engine and transmission:
With exception of the Beat, all others are available with only petrol engine and so we shall ignore the Chevy diesel at this moment. Again, the Beat is the most powerful hatchback in the segment with a 1.2-litre motor developing 79bhp compared to 67bhp output of the other three. It also the least efficient with ARAI figures of 18.6kpl, the Active and the i10 return 19.49kpl and 19.81kpl respectively. The Celerio has a big advantage on this front with the ARAI efficiency of 23.1kpl – and it does not end here. The number is achieved even with the use of a clutchless transmission. Maruti calls this an AMT (auto-manual transmission) – it is basically a manual gearbox with an AT interface that lets you shift gears without using clutch. This gearbox from Maruti gives the Celerio a big advantage over its competitors – not only does it make city drives easy – but it does so without compromising on the efficiency.
The Celerio has a big advantage over its competitors – it has a Maruti badge and that means resale value and low ownership cost is a given. The Micra Active has a strong case, but the after sales support is a big question. The Celerio then looks like a decent package, the only big issue is that the AMT is not available in the top-end trim and that means it fails to get the safety features.