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Chevrolet Beat TDCi
Driven July 2011
To cut a long story short, the Indica need not be worried. The Tata hatch is way more spacious than the Beat and can comfortably seat five. The Figo is also spacious and has that big car feel on the highway. The Micra… hmm… if we were Nissan and had just driven the Beat diesel, we would lose a few hours of daily sleep. The Beat diesel, to put it simply, is an honest, capable and fun car that sticks a carrot that reads: small, cheap and diesel.
The engine is a 1-litre 3-cylinder making a dimunitive 56bhp. And no. Just because it weighs only 1027kgs doesn’t make it quick. This could have been a pocket rocket if it had 10bhp more. And you’d feel that lack of get-up-and-go initially, but once upto speed, the car is difficult to hold back. You can do a comfortable 120kph on the highway. The car feels planted, and if you push it, 140 will come soon. Ride has improved substantially in the diesel with the gas-filled shocks. It’s pliant, cushioned, and yet, planted. We reckon ride is way better than the Micra and even our favourite, the A-star.
The engine is noisy, and you need to give the throttle a good shove to get it moving. Overtaking needs to be planned well. But like we said, if you give the throttle a good shove, you will get through. The rest of the package is the same. There’s space for four, it doesn’t have a huge boot, and if you opt for the LT(O) variant, you will get alloys, airbags, ABS, climate control and even a USB and auxillary port. The steering is neutral, gearshifts are a bit long, but precise, and you have that bi-pod instrument console.
Around corners, there is some roll, but the car will go around without a fuss. The best part with the Beat is that since its thresholds are so low, you can have fun at very safe, and very
urban speeds. Dynamically, the A-Star is more rewarding to drive, but it doesn’t come in a diesel, and among the ultra compacts like Micra, or the i10, the Beat does handle and drive way better.
Prices are still not out, but by putting in a diesel in such a small car, we’ve got to hand it to Chevy. They have got the right ideas. Now, if they can keep it to a premium of between 50-70k over the petrol, you’d end up with what’s essentially a fun, bright and cheerful car that’ll be extremely light on your pocket.