Small cars are hugely popular in a country like ours, particularly the entry-level hatchback segment that is brimming with choices. Buyers prefer these cars for they offer peppy performance, frugality and practicality. The Celerio from Maruti has found many homes since its launch and is one of the manufacturer's best-selling cars. We compare its petrol variant with the CNG variant to see which one makes more sense.
Both models look the same, the only difference being the 'S-CNG' badge at the rear. At the front, it gets a sporty-looking front bumper with a new grille mesh. The swept-back headlights get blacked-out details. The sloping bonnet looks good, and there is a chrome lining above the radiator grille. Along the sides, it gets an up-sweeping character lines that go all the way to the rear, giving the side profile a good definition. The rear boasts of simplistic tail lights and an impression in the tailgate.
The cabins too, remain similar. It is very roomy and there is a good amount of legroom and headroom. The front seats are single-piece units and offer ample support. At the rear, there's sufficient space and there is good support for the back as well. Under-thigh support could've been better and we aren't in favour of the fixed headrests. The cabin isn't particularly wide, meaning accommodating three abreast will be a squeeze. The dashboard is neat and functional, and the U-shaped centre console houses the audio system and air-con controls. The gear lever is positioned in such a way, it makes it easy to reach. The black and beige contrast works well, but we wish the levels of fit and finish was better. There are also quite a few storage spaces around, and the glovebox isn't particularly huge.
The Celerio is equipped with features like powered wing mirrors with integrated indicators, audio system with CD, Aux-in, USB, Bluetooth and four speakers, keyless entry, steering-mounted audio controls, tilt-adjustable steering, rear window defogger, wash and wiper, manual and AMT gearbox, front fog lamps, alloy wheels, driver’s seat height adjust and security system.
Performance & Handling
The Celerio is powered by a K10 three-cylinder, 1.0-litre engine that makes 67bhp and 90Nm of torque, mated either to a 5-speed manual or an AMT gearbox. The engine is responsive, and there's sufficient power at low engine speeds. The motor is quiet and loves to be revved, but this also results in the engine getting a bit vocal. Performance isn't bad at all. The manual gearbox works well but requires a little bit of effort as it isn't particularly light. The automatic gearbox upshifts and downshifts in a timely manner, and in M mode, you can push the gear lever forward to downshift and pull it back for an upshift. However, the shifts are a bit slow. The suspension is soft and it soaks in bumps without any issue and the car remains stable at high speeds in a straight line. Around corners, the car inspires good confidence as well. The light steering is a boon in city traffic; so is the tight turning circle. There is a difference in acceleration between the petrol and CNG models. The CNG model isn't as powerful as the petrol version and overtaking requires you to drop a gear or rev the engine a bit. It's even slower than the petrol car. The additional weight of the CNG cylinder doesn't result in you feeling like you're lugging around extra weight, but boot space has been sacrificed.
The Maruti Suzuki Celerio comes across as a very well-rounded package that is made keeping in mind the Indian buyer. It isn't particularly striking to look at, but is very easy to drive and fuel efficient. It is also roomy and comes backed by Maruti's stellar after sales network. However, given that the CNG variant does not come with the option of an automatic gearbox and the insufficient amount of CNG stations in the country, we'd recommend buying the petrol model.