Since its launch in the Indian market over a decade ago, Maruti states that the car has had over 8Lakh satisfied customers and with so many of them on the road. The first car was launched in 1999 followed by a facelift in 2003 and yet another facelift in 2006. So after a good ten year product life cycle for the first car, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, thought that it was about time they launched an all new car based on an all new platform. The new car is far bolder in its looks, far more aggressive and spacious while now being far more sophisticated in its appearance both inside and out.
They have paid attention to a lot of smaller design elements - for example the way the bonnet and grille taper to a ‘V’ to a very similar design element in the rear tailgate. the inside of the car is fairly large and it can comfortable accomodate four large adults, three at the rear could be a bit cramped.
The new WagonR is based on an all-new platform, which is substantially larger. If you compare it to the older VXi, the new car is 3,595mm long and the older on is 3,520mm. It’s grown in width too from 1,490mm to 1,495mm and is now taller than the older car by 10mm at 1700mm. The car also boasts best in class tandem-seating legroom, and best in class front seat travel (240mm). It has a 2400mm wheelbase and a turning radius of 4.6 meters which means its fairly manoverable in the city. Of course there’s the Electric Assist power steering across LXi and VXi variants. The wheel and tyre size on the VXi trim level has grown to 155/65 R14 while the LX and LXi come with 145/70 R13s.Interiors
The car is really spacious and the new - but large dashboard (which is a fairly well-sized mass of plastic) feels decent to the touch, but truth be told, some newer cars in the segment do boast of better quality today. The car now has cupholders (which are a push type) just ahead of the front air-con vents so you can keep your cola’s cool. It’s also (for the first time!) got a rear parcel tray, a 60:40 split rear seat, a storage space hidden away below the front passenger seat (ala the Ford Fusion) and a console ahead of the gear lever that has a rubberized module to prevent any damage to your cellular phone when you place it there.
However, the new car interiors lack the sheet utility of the older car interiors. Gone are the large storage spaces above and below the glovebox and below the steering wheel. And talking of losing utility and space, the boot is smaller too and has shrunk to about 180litres. The speedometer cluster is modern and racy looking and there’s a digital fuel readout for fuel level and the odometer. The integrated audio kit with an Aux-in feature on the VXi looks fairly good, but we do miss steering mounted controls.Drive Train
The car is now powered by a new K10B series engine, which obviously is BS-IV spec to meet with current emission regulations. It’s a three cylinder 998cc powerplant that puts out all of 67Bhp at 6200rpm and 90Nm of torque at 3500rpm. This engine is not just BS-IV but is also E10 (Ethanol 10% mix) compliant, making it more environmentally friendly. The car does cruise comfortably at a 100kph but the engine does get quite noisy when pushed close to the rev limit. The Wagon R is now also available in the CNG version. The company has provided a CNG option of this variant from the 15th of August 2010.Handling and Safety
The higher torque does help as does the better shifting gearbox (with a new cable type mechanism), the light clutch and the more ergonomically shaped gear lever. All these add up to making driving in the city traffic a far more comfortable experience. MSIL also claim a fuel economy figure of 18.9 kmpl and it does work up to that. The top end model of the new Wagon R comes with ABS and Airbags. The VXi variant of the vehicle is specially equipped with dual SRS airbags to safeguard the occupants during collision. The air bags reduce the force of impact on the head and chest of the passengers.Overall Evaluation
Maruti Suzuki Wagon R comes with myriad safety features. With a unique Antilock Braking System (ABS) and iCAT intelligent computerized anti-theft system, safety ceases to be something to bother about, when it comes to Wagon R. It competes with the likes of Indica Xeta and the Santro Xing but wins hands down when it comes to engine refinement. The car is priced at 3.37 lakh (ex-showroom price) and is worth every penny. If you are a family of four and think that weekends are the only days you will step out then this is the car for you. It’s got everything right from the space inside to the boot space to keep all those shopping goodies.