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Chevrolet Beat Detailed Expert Review - February 19, 2012

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Introduction

Feb 19, 2012 : Expert Review By

After its launch, the Chevrolet Beat has become quite a familiar hatchback on road in many Indian cities. The popularity of the car has led Chevrolet company to introduce it in different fuel variants. Now available in an LPG version, a Chevrolet Beat Diesel version is in the make too. A few days after its launch, I made a visit to the showroom to check out the Chevrolet Beat LPG.

Chevrolet Beat Expert Review, Beat Road Test - 113710 | CarTrade

As we have reviewed the Chevrolet Beat before in great detail (see Quraish’ Review of Chevrolet Beat here), many sections would be a bit brief here. We refer you to the earlier reviews.

Exterior

If Chevrolet Beat is a success on road, then much credit must be given to its bold exterior design. With the twin barrel design headlamp, extending to back of the hood, short but tall front hood portion with bowtie logo, and the car’s good ground clearance, the car definitely can be described as funky. The unconventional positioning of the rear door handle is another feature adding to uniqueness of the car.  

Interior

The Chevrolet Beat features a unique Instrument cluster which carries an LED backlight, alongside an analog speedometer, digital tachometer, and ice blue illuminated controls, resulting in a sporty look for the interiors. The Beat LPG comes with an integrated central control panel with graphic infotainment display, HVAC controls, Radio and CD player with MP3, USB and AUX-IN compatibility.

Besides an attractive dashboard, the interiors include cup holders and sunglass holders etc.

Importantly, in the Beat LPG the Spare wheel is fitted right back to the rear seat and the original space of spare wheel is used for fitting LPG tank in round shape. It’s a good idea in making best utilization of space and also ensures passenger comfort. 

Performance

The Chevrolet Beat LPG is simply a petrol Beat equipped with LPG capability. As such, the vehicle specifications have not changed, barring the fuel tank. The LPG is available in LS and LT trims. The LT trim carries an on road price (Bangalore) of Rs 5.4 lacs.  The price of the petrol version LT model is around 5 lacs on road, thus there is a difference of some 40K in price between Petrol and Dual fuel version.

The Chevrolet Beat LPG comes with a 1199 cc, 4 cylinder engine which delivers a power output of 80.04 PS and torque output of 104NM. The petrol version of the Beat gives peak power of 83.2PS and torque of 108NM. Thus, we see a small decrease in power when LPG is used instead of petrol. The car has a ground clearance of 165 MM which is quite good for Indian road conditions.

To be clear, an LPG version of a petrol car will carry the exact same engine. The only difference lies in the fuel input used in the engine.

Color options include Linen Beige, Cocktail green, Super Red, Caviar Black, Misty Lake, Moroccan Blue, Olympic White, and Sand Drift Grey. 

 

The LPG kit installed in the Beat carries a number of specific features. Let’s take a closer look.

The Beat LPG carries an LPG kit with advanced sequential injection system. It is the latest developed LPG kit and is claimed to have no power loss, no jerks and backfires in driving, and to have a limited weight. The new injection system is also supposed to cause less compromise in mileage. As we have discussed before, sequential injection means fuel gets injected into the cylinders in sequence (read more about the workings of the engine.)

As explained above, there is a small drop in power when comparing the LPG to the petrol Beat, but it is indeed very modest.

 

Safety features in the LT Beat include dual airbags, Anti Lock Braking system, and high strength body grills spread across. The car rates high and ensures best of safety to passengers.

The LPG tank has been installed according to government norms and is described as being very safe. There are no specific extra safety measures, except the default safety features of an LPG kit.

 

One of the interesting features in the LPG Beat is the switching mode. Pressing of the sensor based button is enough to change the mode of operation of engine from petrol to LPG and vice versa. Also, the in case of emptying of LPG tank there is an automatic conversion to petrol mode and vice versa. This is a very nice feature to have in an LPG car, giving more comfort in usage of the same.

An interesting implication of the LPG kit, is that the car’s range has increased. In addition to a Petrol tank of 32.8L capacity, there is the LPG tank capacity of 26L. Considering a total mileage of 19 kmpl in petrol mode and 13 kmpl in LPG mode, a total distance of around 1000 KM can be covered with one complete filling of both LPG and Petrol.

 

When we start the Beat LPG, the ignition starts in petrol mode and automatically gets into LPG mode. In case the petrol is over, the car starts with LPG input only. If we want to change the mode, it can be done by operating the switch button. The reason for the starting in petrol mode is that the LPG needs to warm up a bit to build up pressure for optimal performance.

The Beat offers good driving with good positioning of seats, visibility etc. However the unique instrument cluster does take some time to get used to. The fine finish dashboard and suitably positioned controls and integrated music system are easy to operate and fineness of dashboard is a delight. Driving is easy with the car’s ground clearance of 165 MM. The other major advantage of the Beat is the smooth engine which is fun to accelerate.

There is lot of improvement in technology used to ensure minimum noise, vibrations, and harshness of the car. The performance is very smooth and we didn’t feel any difference versus the petrol version as power is almost similar to that of petrol version.

 

The Beat LPG version uses the same engine as the petrol version i.e. a 1.2 L engine. The LPG Kit does add some weight to the car, which could result in a mileage implication. Care has been taken to reduce the overall weight of engine and hence maximize the mileage output with fitment of LPG kit. Chevrolet claims a range of 349 KM for one complete filling of LPG tank, which carries a capacity of 26.2 L.

Where the petrol Beat comes with an ARAI mileage of 18.6KMPL, the LPG is quoted with a mileage of 13.29KMPL. However, LPG costs less than petrol, thus compensating for the lower mileage. The approximated cost per km table is mentioned below

The lower cost per kilometer is offset by the higher cost of the car. Where the petrol Beat LT comes at an onroad cost of Rs 5.  Lacs, the LPG costs  Rs 5.4 Lacs.

Suppose the car is used for about 50,000 km over a period of 3 years. The total cost of fuel with usage of petrol with present rate would be Rs 1,74,500 and with LPG it would be Rs 1,31,500. There is thus a saving of some Rs 43,000 in fuel.

The savings on fuel is thus offset by the extra investment for LPG version. Further, the maintenance cost of LPG version increases after 45,000 km as warranty limit exceeds, whereas the petrol version carries a 3 years/1,00,000 KM warranty. Is it an implication from Chevy that that the performance of petrol version is more reliable than dual fuel version in long run?

In general, if we assume you want to own the car for 3 years, and assuming the extra investment in LPG gets written off over 3 years, the fuel cost and the extra cost of 40,000 would negate each other at a usage of about 46,000 KM, interestingly the warranty limit on the Beat LPG. If you would like to buffer an extra Rs 10,000 in maintenance cost, then the Beat LPG would make sense to you if you drive more than 58,000 KM over said 3 years.

Economically, there may be another advantage in the use of LPG over petrol. In general, petrol cost has increased more than the LPG cost. Thus, if you expect further increases in petrol cost, then LPG may make sense to you, even if you will drive less than 58,000KM.

 

Specifications
Technical Specifications
 Make Chevrolet
 Model Beat
Variant 1.2 LT +
Ex-Showroom Price (Pune) 4.75 Lac
AC Yes
Length (mm) 3640
Width (mm) 1595
Height (mm) 1520
Wheelbase (mm) 2375
Ground Clearance (mm) 165
Kerb Weight (kgs) 965
Displacement (cc) 1199
Power (PS@ RPM) 80 @ 6200
Torque (NM@ RPM) 108 @ 4000
Min turning Radius 4.45
Tyres 155 / 70 R 14
Chevrolet Beat Competitors
Competition Specifications
Specifications
Chevrolet
Beat
Nissan
Micra
Ford
Figo
Maruti Suzuki
Ritz
Hyundai
i10
Variant 1.2 LT + XV Titanium ZXi Kappa Asta
Ex-Showroom Price (Pune) 4.75 Lac 5.34 Lac 4.51 Lac 5.03 Lac 5.28 Lac
AC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power Windows Yes Yes Front Only Yes Yes
Power Steering Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ABS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Airbags (D/P) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
CD Player / Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alloy Wheels Yes No Yes Yes No
MFD No Yes Yes No No
Length (mm) 3640 3780 3795 3715 3565
Width (mm) 1595 1665 1680 1680 1595
Height (mm) 1520 1530 1427 1620 1550
Wheelbase (mm) 2375 2450 2489 2360 2380
Ground Clearance (mm) 165 154 168 170 165
Kerb Weight (kgs) 965 930 1090 1030 860
Displacement (cc) 1199 1198 1196 1197 1197
Power (PS@ RPM) 80 @ 6200 76 @ 6000 71 @ 6250 85 @ 6000 80 @ 6000
Torque (NM@ RPM) 108 @ 4000 104 @ 4000 102 @ 4000 113 @ 4500 112 @ 4000
Min turning Radius 4.45 4.65 4.9 4.7 4.75
Tyres 155 / 70 R 14 165 / 70 R 14 175 / 65 R 14 185 / 70 R 14 155 / 80 R 13
Conclusion

The Chevrolet Beat LPG is a great step by GM group. Implementation of the latest technology has resulted in good cost savings for frequent drivers. The on road price of around 5.4 Lacs seems to be bit high, thus making it necessary to drive significant kilometers to get savings. But clearly, in driving experience at least there is no compromise for switching from petrol to LPG.

Other advantages of LPG would include less toxic emissions which in turn reduces pollution.

In closing, we would also like to refer to the comparison of fuel types published earlier on our site. It will provide you good input in choosing between petrol and LPG.

For those users who are not looking for an LPG car, e.g. because of limited availability, the upcoming Chevrolet Beat diesel would also be a valid alternative. It will be more expensive than the petrol version of course, but mileage and cost relative to the LPG Beat remain to be seen. 

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