Maruti Suzuki evaluating return to diesels, with engines sized 1.5-litre or larger
Maruti Suzuki could very well be evaluating a return to diesel-power for certain vehicles in the lineup, from the Brezza to the Ertiga, Ciaz and S-Cross, after having discontinued the 1.3- and 1.5-litre diesel engines in the transition to BSVI in April this year. At the time, the associated higher costs for making the existing diesel engines BSVI-compliant, and gradual customer favour towards petrol, lead the company to rethink its powertrain strategy to petrol only. At that point, RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki India was quick to point out that the company would be monitoring demand for diesel engines across segments, and that it would be open to catering to such demand with BSVI-compliant diesel engines.
While the company has reportedly not taken a final decision to return to manufacturing and selling diesel engines, we have been told that if Maruti does offer a diesel in the future, it will be of 1.5-litres capacity, and above. Going by demand, there does seem to still be a sizable preference for diesel, especially in the compact SUV segment, a market where the once diesel-only Vitara Brezza ruled roost. With the Kia Sonet and Hyundai Venue having recently overtaken the Brezza to the top-seller spots, it appears there still is a 30-35 per cent customer preference for diesels, going by the fuel preference for those two rivals.
To recap, Maruti Suzuki did briefly offer a brand-new 1.5-litre E15A diesel in the Ciaz and Ertiga, the brand's first-ever four-cylinder diesel engine made entirely in-house, after the two-cylinder diesel of the Celerio. Christened the DDiS225, the 1,498cc engine produced 95PS and 225Nm torque, and was paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, with advancements such as a dual-mass flywheel to balance out vibrations. This engine, tweaked for BSVI-compliance, would be the likely candidate to bring Maruti Suzuki back to the diesel market but larger capacity diesels can't be ruled out either. While the country's largest manufacturer has had a relatively quiet year, we expect a significant number of its products to be updated next year, and a diesel motor will be just the ticket.
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