Maruti Celerio vs Wagon R: Which Is The Quicker Budget Car?

  • Aug 7, 2022
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Which of these humble hatchbacks gets your heart racing faster in the driver's seat?

Did you know that Maruti has 10 cars that cost under Rs 8 lakhs (ex-showroom) in its portfolio? Most of these are powered by either the marque’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder or the 1.2-litre 4-cylinder engine and two similarly priced cars with either of these engines are the Celerio and the Wagon R.

While we know that amongst rivals these engines are superior in performance and mileage, which one of these should you pick if you are looking for a budget, quick and fun hatchback? To figure out, we have the AMT variants of the Celerio (1-litre) and Wagon R (1.2-litre) costing Rs 7.00 and 7.08 lakh (ex-showroom), respectively.

The Sprint

While these cars will hardly ever need to do triple-digit speeds in the urban jungle, us enthusiasts will still push for it. In this aspect, the 1.2-litre engine takes a clear, over 2 seconds, lead. Both these engines feel free-revving but with the big power advantage of the 1.2-litre motor (90PS vs 66PS), the Wagon R accelerates more effortlessly to 100kmph. 


Celerio 1-Litre P AMT

Wagon R 1.2-Litre Petrol AMT










For these cars to feel fun and lively in the city, especially with the AMT transmission, the roll on acceleration of 20-80kmph is more important. The Wagon R and the 1.2-litre mill still win, but with a much smaller margin of 1.3 seconds, which is why both cars feel agile and lively in the city. Finally, in terms of braking performance, it's the Celerio that comes to a halt almost a metre shorter from 100kmph. 


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It's clear that the 1.2-litre engine is the more fun unit among the two engines and should be the choice if you are looking at these similarly priced Maruti hatchbacks. However, with fun comes a cost - that of fuel. Take a look at the fuel economy delivered by the cars in our test:


Celerio 1-Litre P AMT

Wagon R 1.2-litre Petrol AMT







The Celerio is claimed by Maruti to be the most fuel-efficient hatchback in India with a claimed mileage of 26kmpl for the AMT. While in our efficiency test it did not come close to that number, it was still a lot more frugal than the 1.2-litre Wagon R, having managed to return 1.3kmpl more on the highway and a massive 7kmpl more in the city.

Depending on what you are looking for, there is a clear winner here. The Wagon R 1.2-litre gives you effortless performance and the Celerio 1-litre gives you much better fuel efficiency. If you had to pick one of these similarly priced hatchbacks, what would your pick be? Let us know in the comments below.


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