The small car bandwagon in India is bringing a new addition with the Maruti Celerio. In our extremely cost-conscious and fuel-economy friendly market it pays to have at least a couple of small cars in the product line-up.
The Celerio is built around the same Maruti fundamentals of fuel-economy, easy-to-drive (which gets redefined here), and light maintenance. Easy-to-drive has found a new meaning in the Celerio, it gets an Automated Manual Transmission, which does away with the use of the clutch and lets the driver shift gears manually. The Celerio gets the same 1.0-litre K-series engine used by other Maruti cars which pumps out 67bhp and 90Nm of torque. The car also gets a conventional five-speed gearbox.
The most interesting technology in the car is the new gearbox. The gear lever slot looks like a generic automatic transmission but you can shift the lever to the left for tiptronic style manual shifting. The positioning of the gear knob is untraditional. When pushed to the left from the traditional layout of R, N, D, the lever slots straight into ‘M’ mode (for manual) with ‘-‘ pointing up and ‘+’ pointing down toggle functions. For the driver to go through the gears, he/she has to push the knob down to go up the gears and push it up to go down.
The Celerio will be competing against the Nissan Micra, Honda Brio and Hyundai i10, among others, when it goes on sale in India. The car will be launched at the Auto Expo and will be made available shortly after its public debut.