Maruti Suzuki brought their first MPV, the Omni, to India in 1985. It was followed by the Versa in the 2001, intending to create a market for a family commuter vehicle. The Omni became a huge success and is still on sale in the Indian market, but the Versa bombed and was discontinued in 2009. The carmaker then replaced the Versa with a rebadged low cost version, the Eeco, hoping to rework the magic of the Omni.
Maruti Suzuki says that the Eeco is specifically designed to suit Indian families and also the road conditions in the country. The Maruti Suzuki Eeco does not look very different compared to its predecessor, the Versa. The only addition, the new body graphics on the sides is what makes it look a little more attractive than the Versa. The sliding doors make the ingress and egress easy for the middle row passengers. It is a very handy feature in congested areas and tight parking spots where the door cannot be opened completely. The interiors get a familiar two-tone Maruti treatment in shades of beige and grey with artificial leather seat upholstery. The car provides ample leg room and head room essential for an MPV.
The front seats get an integrated headrest. Moving over to the instrument panel, the digital meter cluster gets illuminated with amber light. Maruti has positioned this MPV as a basic utilitarian – even the music player is not part of the standard feature’s list. The Eeco also misses out on all the safety features due to pricing. The vehicle comes with two years or 40,000km manufacturer warranty.
All the variants of the Eeco are powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine which gives a power output of 73bhp at 6,000rpm and a torque of 101Nm. This engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox with Diagonal Shift Assistance (DSA) that powers the rear wheels. The engine is positioned in the middle, which improve the dynamics of the car. The 1196cc engine boasts of many technologies like engine management system which enhances performance as well as fuel efficiency. The ARAI fuel efficiency figures are 15.1 kmpl for petrol and about 20 kmpl for CNG. Keeping in mind the condition of roads in India the Eeco gets equipped with a fully tuned McPherson-strut suspension on the front and a three-link rigid suspension at the rear.
The Eeco comes in five-seater and seven-seater options. The seven seater is available in only one basic variant, whereas the five-seater is available in four variants – basic five-seater, five-seater with A/C plus heater, five-seater with heater and CNG, five-seater with A/C plus heater and the CNG. The Eeco is sold in six different colours in India namely Superior White, Metallic Midnight Black, Metallic Silky Silver, Bright Red, Metallic Blue Blaze and Metallic Glistening Grey.
The Eeco is a big car capable of moving not just people but ample amount of luggage. It has no direct competition neither in dimensions or price. The Eeco is a perfect example of India’s value-for-money approach, we just hope Maruti improves on the refinement levels and adds a few basic safety features.