Below is a list of the five cheapest, bare boned diesel powered hatchbacks on sale in the Indian market today. Ever lasting commutes have taken the joy away from driving petrol fueled brutes and gasoline prices are spiraling mostly up- cheap urban runabouts belching a little black smoke have started making more sense to the pocket friendly Indian “junta”. Also, if you’re in the cab business, these cheap, dirty little diesel offerings will make you sit up and take notice.
Tata Indica eV2
Yeah, the original smiley-faced Indica is still around since what seems like 1954. It’s called the eV2 now and the basic diesel variant (LS) can be picked up brand new for as low as 4.44 lakhs INR. This bare bones version is out to impress nobody out there and doesn’t even come with power windows anywhere- thankfully there’s a power steering. The clattery Common Rail CR4 1396 cc diesel engine coughs up 69 bhp of power at 4000 RPM and 140 Nm of torque at 1800 RPM- enough to show the old girls some legs. She’ll give you a generous ARAI certified 25 kmpl though.
Buy one if you’re really miserly or an even miserly cab operator.
Fiat Punto Evo Active Multijet 1.3
The Punto Evo is the freshest entrant here, with its dazzling looks and Italian flair. The basic Active diesel variant is aggressively priced at 5.27 lakhs INR, but skimps out on a most of the stuff that the Evo is laden with- like the beautiful, soft touch materials inside, amongst a ton of other features. Air conditioning, power steering, front power windows is all you get for this money. The familiar 1248 cc Mutijet unit develops 75 bhp of power at 4000 RPM and 197 Nm of torque at 1750 RPM- giving the baby Fiat adequate grunt. An ARAI certified 21.2 kmpl doesn’t sound too bad either.
This is a highly recommended buy if you’re in the market for something trendy and sporty, yet on a budget- but you just need to have blind faith in Fiat when they say that they’re bettering their after-sales record.
Hyundai Grand i10 Era 1.1 CRDi
Hyundai’s Grand i10 is quite a well-rounded product. The 2nd Gen 1.1 U2 CRDi Diesel engine dishes out 70 bhp of power at 4000 RPM, while torque stands at 160 Nm @ 1500 RPM. The mill feels pretty anemic though, especially on open highways. The tractability, however, is good in urban conditions and it’s genuinely frugal at 24 kmpl(ARAI certified). The cheapest Grand i10 diesel is the Era variant, and as expected it doesn’t offer much apart from the usual air-conditioning, power steering and power windows.
The Grand i10 Era makes sense if you’re looking for a no-nonsense, budget city runabout with an oil-burner. It doesn’t excel in any way, but makes a strong point at 5.27 lakhs INR.
Maruti Suzuki Swift Ldi
The Swift has always been India’s sweetheart and the basic diesel powered variant (LDi) can be had at 5.46 lakhs INR. But it manages to look a little ghastly without the blacked out A-pillar and wheel caps. Inside, it’s equally bare with just air-conditioning, power steering and front power windows. The national engine features on this one too (Fiat-sourced 1.3 liter Multijet ), and goes without saying that it’s a capable motor. Mileage is an ARAI certified 22.9 kmpl- a tad better than the Punto Evo.
The Swift LDi is a safe bet, and is backed up by a really strong dealer network as well as after-sales service.
Chevrolet Beat PS Diesel
The Chevy Beat PS Diesel starts at a mouth watering 4.78 lakhs INR. Displacing 936cc, the puny XSDE mill generates 57 bhp @ 4000 RPM and 150 Nm of torque at 1750 RPM. Power delivery is linear, and although not punchy, drivability in the city is excellent. Then you have all the Transformers derived funk that the Beat is- especially that crazy instrument cluster. But here’s the downside- there’s only air-conditioning and power steering, which makes it a pretty bare setup.
A good buy if you’re looking for a funky little city slicker that sips on the cheaper fuel.