It is a surprise that only one Maruti Suzuki features in our list of the 10 most efficient diesel sedans in India. Even in the diesel hatchback list only two Maruti Suzuki’s featured. It seems like an improbable situation for India’s largest selling passenger car manufacturer to have only three cars in the 20 cars that we have researched on but that’s the fact. Tata however has been the surprise and have the most efficient diesel sedan and hatch and also the most fuel efficient petrol hatch. There are also three cars which use the same engine (the 1.5dCi is used by the Nissan Sunny, Renault Duster and the Mahindra Verito) which is not a surprise and in the hatchback list 6 cars shared the same engine.
Tata Indigo eCS
So there is a reason for buying the Tata Indigo eCS other than it being cheap. The Tata Indigo eCS is the most fuel efficient diesel sedan in India with an ARAI certified 25kmpl. Based on the Indigo which was launched in 2002, Tata launched the eCS in 2007 to make use of the taxation policy by reducing its length under 4meters. Prices for the sedan start from Rs 6.26 to 7.02 lakhs ex-showroom New Delhi.
The styling is the same as the Indigo and this sedan clearly was designed keeping in mind the budget restrictions. TheeCS and the Indigo look the same with the big grille, the clear lens headlamps with turn indicators and the B pillar is in matt black. The lines are simple, the bumpers are body coloured and the wheelarches are mildly flared. The dashboard is basic with a three spoke steering, the centre console has wood strips and the dual-tone beige interiors are airy. The instrument dials are in chrome but the build quality is poor. Both front and rear passengers however get enough leg and headroom and the boot with 380-litres is spacious. The top of the line variant comes with keyless entry, ABS, air con, Bluetooth connectivity, electrical controls for ORVM’s and power windows.
The 1.4-litre CR4 Common Rail Diesel engine produces 70PS and 140Nm. The engine is refined and the drivability isn’t bad but what is exceptional is its 25kmpl which is similar to the Tata Indica. The Engine Management System on the eCS calibrates engine components like valve timing and compression ratios which is primarily responsible for the high fuel efficiency. There is a bit of a turbo lag and acceleration is on the slow side as well with 100kmph reached in a leisurely 18seconds. Matched to the engine is a 5 speed manual gearbox and the passengers comfort is taken care of by the Independent MacPherson strut with coil spring at the front and at the rear is an independent 3-link MacPherson strut with antiroll bar. While the ride is good, handling is only average.
Hyundai Verna 1.4
The Verna rightly so is the best selling sedan in its segment. Not only is the Verna Fluid the best looking amongst its competitors, it is loaded with features, is spacious, build quality is significantly improved compared to the car it replaces and theVerna Fluid comes in on our list at 2nd position with 23.5kmpl. Prices for the Verna start from Rs 10.42lakhs ex-showroom New Delhi.
Hyundai has got its styling act together with its ‘Fluidic Design Philosophy’ and built on an all new platform the Verna at the front has large headlights that cut back into its fenders and the fog lamps on the front bumper are L shaped. The rising shoulder line and the swooping lines make the Verna an attractive sedan. The roof gently sloops and the rear tail lamps are good to look at too. The tailpipes are in chrome and the dashboard is stylish too with the white backlighting for the dials. The steering wheel is the same as the i20 and though the quality isn’t comparable to the Volkswagen Vento, Hyundai has picked up its game here. In terms of interior space the sedan doesn’t disappoint and the feature list is extensive too.
The 1.4-litre CRDI engine produces 90PS and 220Nm and is matched to a 6 speed manual gearbox. This is the same engine as on the i20 and on the road you feel its flexibility and torque. Even at low revs the engine feels comfortable, midrange is strong too and the Verna 1.4 delivers 23.5kmpl. There is a bit of diesel clatter but the ride quality is plush thanks to the MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion bar at the rear. Passenger comfort is taken care of and the handling is reasonably good though the steering is too light and the set up is on the soft side.
The Ford Fiesta is one of our favourite cars at topspeed. Dynamically it is the most rewarding car in its segment and the styling is eye catching too. Unfortunately the Fiesta hasn’t been the success that the manufacturer had hoped it would be. The 6th gen Fiesta is a competent car and with an ARAI certified 23.5kmpl the Fiesta is also the 3rd most fuel efficient car in its segment. Prices for the Fiesta start from Rs 10.45 to Rs 11.95 lakhs ex-showroom New Delhi.
TheFiesta on sale is the first in its history to get Ford’s Kinetic Design styling with the slim headlamps and the trapezoidal grille. The wheel arches are flared, the lines are sharp and we particularly liked the upwardly swept shoulder line. From the side you notice the rising waistline but there is a flaw to its design which can be seen from the way the rear is designed. The interiors are as interesting and the dash has a ‘wing-like’ design with soft-touch material. The centre console is smart to look at and the cabin has a black and silver trim. The Fiesta is loaded with features and the fully loaded variant comes with ABS, dual front airbags, power windows, voice control system which allows you to control climate, audio and even make phone calls, there is a cruise control, reverse parking sensors, alloy wheels, fog lamps and steering mounted controls. Space at the front is good but rear passengers feel cramped.
The 1.5-litre, 4 cylinder engine produces 90PS and 204Nm and uses a fixed geometry turbochanger. The 8 valve engine has a single overhead cam and acceleration to 100kmph takes less than 14seconds which is impressive and also impressive is the 23.5kmpl fuel efficiency. Matched to the engine is a 5 speed manual gearbox and the torque spread is particularly impressive. Built on the B2E platform the sedan gets independent MacPherson struts at the front while at the rear is a semi independent twist beam. Ride quality is fantastic and so is the damping but it is around corners where theFiesta is the most fun. The chassis is rigid and dynamically this Ford is superb.
Maruti Suzuki Dzire
The Dzire is the largest selling sedan in India for a reason. It topped the list of the most efficient petrol sedans in India and comes in at number 3 on our list for the most efficient diesel sedans in India with an ARAI certified 23.4kmpl. TheDzire may not be the most interesting option around but thoroughly deserves its status as the most popular sedan with the no nonsense motoring that it provides. Prices start from Rs 6.19 to Rs 8.40lakhs ex-showroom New Delhi.
To differentiate the Dzire from the Swift Maruti designers have given it a slanted front grille, the front bumper has a wider air dam, the rear door is bigger than the Swift and tail lamps are different as well. The cabin is identical to the Swift though there is use of beige plastics and the dashboard has wood-grain inserts which make the cabin look better than before. There is also an impressive new in-dash audio system with climate control and though the interior space has improved rear passengers are still cramped for space.
There 1.3-litre CRDi multijet engine sourced from FIAT produces 75PS and 190Nm@2000rpm. The 4 cylinder engine feels refined on the road and revs almost like a petrol. The powerband is impressive as well and the 23.4kmpl figure is another of its strengths. Matched to the engine is a 5 speed manual gearbox and the acceleration is impressive too. The Dzire uses MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear. The ride and handling aren’t the best in the segment but the Dzire manages to get the job done.
The advertising campaign behind the Nissan Sunny was intense. The electronic and print media were full of ads and to Sunny’s credit the sedan did deliver. Nissan first launched the petrol version and followed it later with the diesel engine too. The Sunny is an international model and the 10th generation Sunny has sold over 16 million cars around the world. The Sunny comes into our list at number 5 with an ARAI claimed 23.08kmpl and prices start from Rs 9.29 to Rs 10.08 lakhs ex-showroom New Delhi.
Based on Nissan’s ‘V’ platform the sedan has a large grille but the first thing you notice are the large headlamps. The lines flow seamlessly and the roof is sloping. The tail lamps are large as well and the sedan does possess presence. The dashboard is similar to the Micra and most of the parts like the glovebox and the climate control system are all from the Micra. The instrument panel has chrome dials and the plastic quality generally is good. The well equipped Sunny comes with an air-con, ABS, rear defroster, climate control, steering mounted audio controls, CD player, electrically adjustable outside rear view mirrors, dual front airbags, electrically folding outside rear view mirrors and keyless entry and ignition.
The 1.5-litre, 4 cylinder, 8 valve engine is the same as on the Micra but on the Sunny it gets an additional boost. The engine produces 86PS and 200Nm and the acceleration to 100kmph is brisk taking under 13seconds. Power delivery is linear and the sedan has an ARAI claimed 23.08kmpl. Matched to the engine is a 5 speed manual gearbox and the sedan rides on independent MacPherson struts at the front while at the rear is a non-independent torsion beam. The suspension soaks up the bumps easily and the ride quality on the whole is pretty good. The car feels stable on high speed and though there is a bit of body roll the Sunny handles capably.
The Manza is a sensible choice and there is no denying that. There is more space than you get in cars costing twice as much and while it is based on the Indica Vista the Manza has an identity of its own. With an ARAI claimed 21kmpl the Manza is the second Tata car to feature on our list at no 6. Tata cars have improved over the years both in terms of engineering and quality and prices for the Manza start from Rs 7.37 to Rs 9.96lakhs ex-showroom New Delhi.
Styling has never been a reason to buy a Tata car and the Manza is similar in terms of styling as compared to the Vista with the chrome grill and the back triple barrel headlamp. The door handles are in chrome and from the side you are able to see the length of the sedan. At the rear are the triangular headlamps and while build quality of Tata cars have improved over the years, it still is only average. The dashboard on the Manza is completely different to the Vista and the two-tone dash brightens the interiors. The cabin has an in-dash audio system and other features include built-in Bluetooth capability which allows you to sync five phones separately, the steering has phone and audio controls and the Manza comes with airbags and ABS. Interior space isn’t only class leading but is also better than on sedans which are much more expensive.
The Manza uses a 1.3-litre Multijet engine which is the same as the Fiat Linea and the 4 cylinder motor comes with a variable geometry turbocharger. The engine develops 90PS and 200Nm of torque and acceleration to 100kmph takes over 15seconds. Power delivery is linear and the Manza delivers 21kmpl. The 5 speed manual gearbox is also sourced from Fiat. The sedan uses independent MacPherson struts at the front with a semi-independent twist beam with coil springs at the rear. The ride is sorted and the handling is better than what you would expect.
The Mahindra Verito is the second of the three cars in our list with the 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine. The Verito delvers 21.03kmpl and is the 7th most fuel efficient diesel sedan in India. Mahindra gave the Verito a facelift earlier this year to add some life to this aging sedan and prices for the sedan start from Rs 7.16 to Rs8.16 lakhs ex-showroom New Delhi.
The changes to the Verito compared to when it was sold as the Logan include a new front grille with a chrome strip and vertical slats. The headlamps are angular and have a strip of LEDs. Mahindra has corrected the wiper to sweep left-to-right and at the rear the number plate is now at the centre of the bootlid. The rear taillamps have LED’s and the changes to an extent make the sedan look a bit more contemporary. The changes to cabin include lighter colours, new controls with new rotary knobs for the climate control and the music system is borrowed from the Xylo. The power window switches are now placed on the doors and the cabin has a two-tone upholstery. The interiors like the exteriors still look basic despite the changes and so is the quality of plastic used. Passengers space both for the front and rear occupants is more than adequate and the boot is spacious too.
The 1.5-litre DCi engine uses second-generation common rail system and the injector timing can be controlled individually. The motor produces 65PS, feels refined on the road but takes a leisurely 17seconds to 100kmph. The fuel efficiency of 21.03kmpl is excellent and the engine is matched to a 5 speed manual gearbox. Built on the Renault-Nissan B-platform, the sedan rides on MacPherson struts at the front with a wishbone and anti roll bar at the rear. The ride ensures passenger comfort but the handling is only average.
The only Volkswagen on our list is the Vento which with 20.54kmpl comes in at number 8. The Vento is a car engineered specifically for markets like ours and is built on the Polo. Launched in 2010 the Vento is one of the largest selling sedans in its segment. Prices for the sedan start from Rs 10.06 to R 11.69 lakhs ex-showroom New Delhi.
TheVento remains true to the Volkswagen design philosophy with its generic styling of the grille and the angular headlights. There were some changes made to the sedan earlier this year which include black inserts and new alloy wheels. The Vento nevertheless is a smart looking sedan and the build quality is simply fantastic. The Highline version comes with a navigation system and rear-view camera and the cabin with the flat dashboard is in beige and brown. The centre console has silver accent touches and the Vento is well equipped and while the space in the rear isn’t bad, it definitely isn’t class leading.
The 1.6-litre, 4 cylinder CRDi motor produces 105PS and 250Nm of torque. Refinement isn’t class leading but the torque is well spread. Drivability is of its strengths and 100kmph takes only 11seconds. The Vento returns 20.54kmpl and matched to the engine is a 5 speed manual gearbox. Based on the Polo the Vento uses MacPherson struts at the front with a non-independent trailing arm at the rear. The ride quality is amongst the best in the segment and the handling is sorted as well
Ford Fiesta Classic
With a 20kmpl claimed fuel efficiency the Ford Fiesta Classic comes on to our list at number 9. If you had forgotten theFiesta Classic’s presence would remind you that the sedan is still being sold in India. The Fiesta Classic is an entry level sedan and prices start at Rs 7.85 to Rs8.98 lakhs ex-showroom New Delhi.
The Fiesta has been in the market for a long time and the looks are dated compared to more contemporary sedans. The proportions though are very European and so is the build quality. At the front the headlamps are swept back and there is a honeycomb grille. The dashboard also look dated and the styling is basic with the silver inserts on the centre console. The fully loaded variant comes with rear fog lamps, central locking, tilt steering, air con, ABS with EBD, driver and passenger airbags, front fog lamps, electrically adjustable outside rear view mirrors, 2DIN MP3 player and there is also a leather wrapped steering wheel. The driving position is good but the rear passenger space isn’t comparable to some of its rivals.
The 1.4-litre, 8-valve Crdi engine uses an aluminium block and produces 68PS and 160Nm. Refinement is impressive and the power delivery is linear. Acceleration however is slow but the 20kmpl efficiency makes up for that. The Fiesta comes with a 5 speed manual gearbox and at the front gets independent MacPherson struts while at the rear is a semi-independent twisted beam. The sedan has been since its launch one of the best dynamically and the chassis under cornering is rewarding. Body roll is controlled and the steering doesn’t lack feel either.
For a car as big as theRenault Duster to return 19kmpl is impressive. The Duster is the 10th most efficient car on our list and was one of the most important and successful launched of 2012. Its success has prompted other manufacturers to engineer similar mini SUV’s and even though it is a Logan underneath, the Duster is both aspirational and practical. Prices start from Rs 9.57 to Rs 13.25lakhs ex-showroom New Delhi
The Duster looks like a proper SUV and the front is particularly distinctive with the use of chrome and big double barrel headlamps. The lines are clean, the bonnet is wide and the Duster has black and silver finish body under cladding at the front and at the rear. The wheelarches are flared and completing the SUV look are the roof rails, side sills and plastic cladding. The cabin is in beige but the quality isn’t as good as on the Toyota Innova. The music system is integrated into the centre console and the dash has use of chrome around the A/C vents. The equipment list is extensive and the top of the line Duster comes with leather seats. The front and rear passengers aren’t short on space and with the rear seats folded the boot space increases to 1064-litres.
The third car on our list to use the ubiquitous 1.5-litre K9K powerplant is theDuster. The 4 cylinder engine produces 110PS and 240Nm. The engine uses a variable geometry turbocharger and intercooler and though there is a bit of turbo lag, the engine has a strong mid range. With an ARAI certified 19kmpl the Duster is also capable to reach 100kmph in just over 12seconds. The engine is refined and matched to it is a 6 speed manual gearbox. The Duster uses independent McPherson Strut with coil springs & anti-roll bar up front while at the rear is a torsion beam axle with coil springs & anti-roll bar. The strength of the Duster is the class leading ride and handling but there is no 4WD version yet in India.