This is Chevrolet Beat ownership review. Covering buying, ownership and maintenance experiences. Section One: Background and Buying Overview
I had planned to buy a car with a budget of around 5 lakhs. The basic need was to have a family car that can take 5 people around the city. The car will be mainly for family use, to go to the town for shopping etc. We do not often go on any long trips and in case of any trips in future, it will be maximum of 150 km away (1 to 3 hours drive at most and no longer), no overnight drives. Petrol was the choice, not diesel.
It was obvious choice to have a hatchback. Sedan would be painful in a city that is becoming crowded each passing day.
Apart from AC and music system, I was keen on having safety features like ABS
and airbag. These are best not used, but in case it is required, it cannot be ordered at the time! It is wise to have the best in whichever car I bought. I therefore compared only the top-end model in each car – the one with ABS
, airbags. I had no thought of having a Bluetooth phone receiver in my car because as a policy I do not use the mobile and drive.
Having driven a Zen before, I was keen on having something different too. Hence ruled out Alto K10 (which was about 4 Lakhs). I also saw WagonR and the Stingray at the Maruti showroom. WagonR is really nice, with a lot of space and 90` opening doors to let in elderly people or young but fat people easily. But I felt it is more suited for tall people rather than average or fat people. The breadth was not enough in WagonR. Plus the looks were not nice, with a square shaped tall-boy look. Stingray is similar to WagonR (with aluminium foil stuck on key areas), but I was impressed with the music controls on the steering in the Stingray. The costs of WagonR and Stingray (again top-end models) were about 4.70 lakhs and 4.90 lakhs if I remember right. A-Star looked attractive in pictures, but was too cramped (AltoK10 is better) – rejected outright. Ritz (~ 5.3 lakhs) was a nice car, had space inside. It was however not a very attractive design. The rear end looks as if it is smashed. Moreover, if I had to get something from Maruti – Alto K10 was probably the best.
At this stage, I also strongly considered the re-sale value of the car and the service centre availability for Maruti – which are good.
Ford Figo (5.65 lakhs) was the next I considered. It is simple and decent to look at. It also appears very stable and strong. I liked the White, Red and Green colours in Figo. However, did not test drive it because Beat stole my heart.
The looks of Beat are amazing and very nice. It is an offbeat car with very stylish looking rear with round tail-lamps. The rear doors have a concealed handle within the door frame that adds an interesting touch to it. Very un-conventional features are seen here. The features of having very effective AC, minimal engine sound or vibration (a quality in most Chevrolet cars), nice exterior and interior design, ample leg space (for at least average height people) in the front and the rear, ability to seat three people in fair comfort in the rear seat are the best things in Chevy Beat. The Automatic Climate Control AC – much spoken about has been removed since about October 2013 as per brochure – in the petrol version. However, I am lucky that I booked the car at the time when the new 2014 model was launched. I got the additional feature seen in Stingray of steering mounted control for music player.
The test drive experience was very nice. The car was a diesel version and did have some vibration of the engine. However, the petrol version I bought is silent and hardly shows up. Section Two: Initial Ownership Impressions Exteriors and Design:
Superior and Unmatched exterior and interiors!
However, the build quality appears flimsy compared to the old Zen we had.
It is said that the new cars have lighter body, but a strong steel cage that makes them sturdy and light at the same time. However, when you apply light pressure while cleaning the car with a cloth, the body feels very light and seems to be ready to dent. Interiors and Features:
Very stylish interiors are the hallmark of Chevy Beat. Nice round shaped speedometer adds to the charm of this rounded car. The plastic is of good quality and is strong. The dashboard is spacious and has a nice Icy Blue lighting for the music system. You can play CD/ USB pendrive/ FM radio/ Auxillary in it. The bass is very good in the in-built speaker system. I am not sure which brand it is as it is not written. The steering mounted audio-controls were a welcome surprise to me as I did not know I will be allotted the 2014 version. A/C effectiveness is very good, but the AC vents are only in the front. No complaints from the rear seat passengers so far. The horn is a little hard to press and may improve with time. The seat is extremely cosy and comfortable and has height adjustment knob for the driver’s seat. The steerin mounted audio controls are easy to use even while on the drive – you can switch on and off and adjust volume, seek FM channels while still driving – without having to look at the music system in the middle of the dashboard. Engine and Performance:
The 1199 cc engine is nice and responsive. The gear is a little tight and not very responsive to your touch. The best part is comfort in city driving. I realised that I was in the third gear even at quite low speeds and at the same time in the second gear at a little higher speed to. The range of speeds for 2nd and 3rd gear appear to be wide (I am not sure if I am technically right), that you do not have to change gears every now and then. There is no jerking or fits and starts when the speed is about 15 to 20 kmph in third gear. And you can easily go back to 40 kmph once the road clears a bit. Ride and Handling:
It is extremely comfortable in the cabin and seat is very cosy. The height adjustment for driver’s seat also makes any worry of inability to see the front end less of an issue. NVH Levels (Noise, Vibration, Harshness)- Minimal in true Chevy quality.
It is very nice to use a power steering for the first time. The steering can be handled single-handedly and is very responsive to steering at low speeds. In the crowded town area, it is easy to manoeuvre the car. Steering is responsive. Body roll is noted. It is a taller car than Alto K10/ Zen/ Figo and hence the roll when you drive over a pothole on one side. Suspension is fairly good and does not make the ride too bumpy. The experience on the highway was nice. 60 to 80 kmph speed was very comfortable. The ORVMs on the left, right and the internal rear view mirrors can be adjusted to give a good view. In the city, the drive was easy and comfortable. We cannot see the front end of the car very easily and in bumper to bumper traffic this can be an issue. It is very similar in the distance to bumper and the width to the old Zen. Section Three: Good Bits and Bad Bits
The car is wonderful overall. In the price range, it has a lot of features which are not really offered by any other car (of course the Celerio was not launched yet and I have not compared it).
The car is stylish, impressive, a head-turner – both inside as well as outside, has a lot of good features. The new model has a nice bolder grill in the front and more chrome around the fog lamps too. The AC is effective and the music system in the LT model is wonderful, with fairly good volume (20 was good enough, while the maximum was 45!).
Important shortcomings are the visibility from the driver’s seat. It is compromised in a couple of important ways: 1) The A-pillar to the right of the driver is wide enough to block the view (especially in city traffic when cyclists or mopeds are lurking there. One needs to peep around the A-pillar when turning in the city’ streets to ensure no one is there. 2) The front glass is quite sloping. It is a little excessive in terms of styling as well as in terms of causing a glare. The dashboard reflects on to the glass, especially when driving into the sun’s direction. It is a little discomforting.
Another shortcoming is low boot space. This is important if you are planning to carry a lot of luggage for a long trip with the family. You can fold the rear seat in a 60:40 ratio, but if seats are full, it may be a problem. Routine shopping purchases can be easily placed in the boot. But it is minimum boot space in this group of cars (170 L only). Ex-Showroom:
Rs 5.17 L (-)
Discounts: Rs 28k (+)
Insurance: Rs 15k (+)
Logistic/ PDI/ Handling: Rs 8k (+)
Registration, Tax: Rs 7k (+)
Vehicle Health: Rs 6k Accessories: Complementary
: Security system & Keyless entry (worth Rs 4k); Chevy Teddy Bear (to ward off the evil eye) Rs 250/- Bought
: Steering cover (Rs 500), Car Cover (Rs 1060), Car perfume (Rs 280) Total On-Road Price:
Rs 5.30 L Planned future accessories:
Reverse Parking Sensor (Rs 2.5k) (not available now)
Leather Seat Covers
===================================== 29/03/2014 ================================================== ============= First Month Check up Service
An update of the first month with my Beat.
Check-up service was done. No major problems or issues. The AC fan is noisy at speed 4, but not so at 1 - 3 speeds. Nothing to be done they said.
You cannot put on AC at 4 speed and listen to music - it disturbs you and masks the music. But even at 3 speed, the cooling is good enough in spring season at least. Fan speed and cooling have no link anyways.
There was some sound coming from the front of the vehicle. Probably suspension sound, or the tyre running over rough roads/ gaps in concrete roads, but they have not fixed it at all after 2 days of trying! Does not speak well of Chevy Servcie. Accessories added:
(i) Reverse Parking Sensor (Rs 2.5k), which is useful. Takes sometime to get used to understand the various situations when it beeps. But very useful, nonetheless.
(ii) Seat covers in black colour. Artificial leather - washable. Has "Beat" written on it. (Bit costly I felt at Rs 4.8k)
(iii) Under-chassis painted with anti-rust painting (Charged Rs 2k).
These are a bit costly, but we do need it nonetheless. Long drive & mileage
I had gone on my first ever long drive (to Chennai). It was about 160 kms - one way. Took the safer route via Tindivanam & avoided the ECR.
The drive was smooth and an enjoyable experience. My family enjoyed it too. Even within the city, the drive was amazing. Good pick-up after halting at signals in Chennai and ability to overtake with confidence - both on highways and within city was a plus. One drawback in city traffic is you need to honk often because the Beat engine is very silent and has only a soft hum and no one hears you till you are almost touching them.
Full tank to full tank - mileage calculated was 16.5 kmpl
. This was amazing. Though the company promises 18.6 kmpl, I think 16.5 kmpl is what most users talk about in their reviews. It includes some bit of city traffic as well. Drive to Chennai was in the evening (about 6 pm to 10 pm) - yes I took 4.5 hours. and return was by day (about 10 am to 2 pm) - 4 hours. Both were comfortable. AC was good too.
================================= 13/04/2014============================================== ========= Another Long trip done
I did another long trip of about 200 kms. It was a nice drive at 40 to 60 kmph speed (two lane highway without divider), compared to my previous long drive at 60 to 80 kmph on a four lane National Highway stretch. Could be on constant gear 5 for long stretches of drive, with some speed variations at most. I got a mileage of 17.52 kmpl this time!
I find it hard to believe given that this time the speed was only 40 to 60 kmph. I think driving at constant gear and not having to stop or slow down very often gives better mileage. There was minimal within city driving.
================================ 25/05/2014 ================================================== =======
Within city limits mileage was checked twice. Mileage measured was 11 km/L once and 12.3 km/L.
Another long trip of about 350 km gave a mileage of 16.59 km/L. Again, it included about 35 km of city traffic and about 320 km of highway driving. Overall - I can say that the mileage is 12 km/L within city limits and 16.5 to 17 km/L on highways.