How the Celerio became India’s most fuel-efficient petrol car

How many more kilometres can you extract from a drop of petrol.

By:Updated: Nov 15, 2021 11:54 AM


Maruti Suzuki’s new Celerio, launched last week, according to the company, returns a fuel efficiency of 26.68 km/litre, which is the highest for any petrol-powered car in India, ever. But what all went behind making it so fuel efficient? We talked to CV Raman, chief technical officer, Maruti Suzuki India, and he said five key engineering changes helped the new Celerio become the most fuel-efficient petrol car in India: One, the all-new HEARTECT platform ensured reduced vehicle weight and stronger platform. “The overall weight, for instance, of the LXi model has been reduced by about 15 kg as compared to the previous generation model,” Raman said. “Lower weight anyway leads to better fuel efficiency.”

Two, the next-gen K-Series dual jet, dual VVT engine with idle start-stop technology led to better fuel efficiency. “The idle start-stop technology gives about 3% better fuel efficiency in Maruti Suzuki cars as compared to those that don’t have this feature,” Raman said. Three, Maruti Suzuki was able to reduce friction losses by using lower viscosity engine oil. “In the previous generation Celerio, the engine oil being used was SAE viscosity 0W-20, and in the new model we use SAE viscosity 0W-16,” Raman said. “When the piston runs there is always friction happening, and with low viscosity oil we can reduce friction losses and that leads to better fuel efficiency.”

Four, the all-new Celerio is more aerodynamic than the previous generation model. Raman said: “We have been able to wind resistance as compared to the previous generation model.” Five, the all-new Celerio rides on lower rolling-resistance tyres, which contribute towards better fuel efficiency. “We have lower rolling-resistance tyres sourced from Yokohama and Bridgestone,” he said. All these five changes, in combination, lead to 16-23% better fuel efficiency in the new Celerio.

One must keep in mind that the 26.68 km/litre fuel efficiency figure is for the AGS model (AMT, or automated manual transmission), and not the manual. “In the AGS, the gearbox automatically shifts gears at just the right moment for the best possible fuel efficiency,” Raman said. Going forward, if Maruti Suzuki brings out a CNG variant of the new Celerio, the fuel efficiency could be even better than the 26.68 figure. “The calorific value of the CNG fuel is more than that of petrol, and that’s why km/kg of a CNG car is usually better than km/litre of a similar-engine petrol car,” Raman said.

Lastly, it may be too much to expect for the Celerio to be offered with the company’s Smart Hybrid technology. “While our Smart Hybrid (idle start-stop plus ISG motor plus lithium-ion battery) leads to 7-8% better fuel efficiency as compared to a car that doesn’t have these features, it substantially increases the sticker price of the car (and so in entry-level models it may not be the desired thing to do),” Raman said.

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