When one of our long-term cars, a poolside blue-coloured 2019 Maruti Suzuki Wagon R, was loaned to me to elaborate on my experience of living with the new-generation model, the implication was clear. As an owner of a 2015 Wagon R, I was better positioned to compare and contrast with the new model, a top-spec ZXI 1.2 AMT variant.
My association with Maruti Suzuki has been a long-standing one, and most likely it was an inherited interest. My family always had this peculiar love for Maruti Suzuki badged cars. We first had the SS80, then the Esteem and finally, the Alto 800 before we bought the 2015 Wagon R. And like all the Maruti Suzuki cars we owned before it, this one too, suited perfectly to our requirements. It fit right into our modest budget of Rs 5.0 lakhs. Space, reliability, easy ingress and egress, and efficiency were some of the key factors that we were considering for our next purchase. So, the 2015 Maruti Suzuki Wagon R VXI (a top-spec back then) turned out to be right up our alley. The petrol-manual had all the convenience features that we can expect from a modern-day top-spec variant.
The new Wagon R, which is based on a Heartect platform, has undergone a sea change in the way it drives and the space that it offers. Interestingly, with a 1.2-litre engine, the new model is not only faster but also lighter by 65kgs. The platform 40 per cent high strength steel, thereby making it 1.5 times more rigid and compliant with all future crash test norms. Outlined below is my experience with the new Wagon R AMT.
How Practical is it?
The first thing that I noticed was the wide-opening door and an airy cabin. The front seats are accommodating and offer good support, which is particularly helpful during long commutes. In the older car, seating three occupants in the rear seat was quite a squeeze, but the new model with its wider and longer body accommodates three adults at the back in good comfort. The experience would, however, be better, if it had adjustable headrest in both, front and rear seats.
The new Wagon R still has the tall boy stance, but now it looks more stylish, thanks to the tall headlamps and wider dimensions. In an effort to move away from the boxy design, the new model sports multiple creases and curves. The large vertical tail lamps and beefier bumper adds more character to the car.
Like me, if you too are living in a city like Mumbai, then we can agree that parking is a nightmare in most places. Thankfully, the Wagon R fits in comfortably in the tightest of the spaces. Moreover, the standard parking sensors make the job even easier.
What's on the feature list?
The model that I drove features a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation and Bluetooth telephony. Additionally, it comes with other basics like remote locking, air-conditioning, electric mirrors and a trip computer. As for safety, Maruti offers single airbags (dual for top variants), front seatbelt alert, and ABS with EBD as standard across the range.
Although the new model has decent storage space, it does not outdo the older model in this regard. Its predecessor had a twin glovebox unit and a unique set of cup holders that could be pulled out on both sides of the dashboard. The new model, however, gets large door pockets, storage in front of the gear lever and a decently-sized glovebox.
What's the fuel efficiency like?
This one is powered by a 1.2-litre K12 engine that produces 82bhp at 6000 rpm and 113Nm of torque at 4200rpm. Given that most of my commute was within the city, the AMT version was a blessing. Switch it to the D-mode and it happily chugged through the stop and go traffic without a hiccup. Shifting to the manual mode is not really necessary unless you are one of the adventurous sorts. As for fuel efficiency, it returned about 10.7kmpl within the city. With a lighter foot on the highways, the Wagon R AMT returned about 19.41kmpl.
How does it perform on the daily commute?
I personally believed that Wagon Rs have been ideal for daily commutes within the city. The new model continues to do so, but more gracefully than its predecessors. The new Wagon R feels better planted at higher speeds and is also good at handling those unexpected potholes or bumps, thanks to the new torsion beam rear suspension as compared to the rudimentary ITL (Isolated Trailing Link) setup on the old car. Wider dimensions also mean more space for the occupants and this is a welcoming change. Moreover, the steering also feels lighter, probably a direct benefit of the overall reduction in the vehicle’s body weight.
How is it for the weekend?
The new Wagon R comfortably seats a group of five. A powerful engine and lighter body is better equipped to carry the group along with their luggage for that perfect holiday trip. The optional AMT also means less stress-free driving and more time for you to explore those new places.
I am pretty impressed with the spacious 341-litres of luggage space in the boot. As you see, we have managed to easily fit in two large suitcases and two duffle bags for our weekend trip.
What’s the deal with the warranty?
It is widely known that Maruti Suzuki has the widest service network in the country, which is also one of main reasons why my family always settled for a Maruti Suzuki. The Wagon R comes with a standard 24 months/40,000kms warranty, for parts and repairs, qualified under manufacturing defects.
However, Maruti Suzuki also offers the ‘Forever Yours’ Extended Warranty program where the standard warranty can be extended for a nominal amount, prior to warranty lapse, i.e. within two years or 40,000kms or whichever is earlier.
Overall, the new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R is a good choice in its segment and personally, I would upgrade to this without hesitation. The one I drove, was the top-spec ZXI AMT, which is available at an ex-showroom price of Rs 5.91 lakhs. Yes, this is priced higher than the older model, but it is also more powerful, more spacious and drives better. Moreover, the fresh styling appeals to all groups and is definitely worth considering if you are looking out for a family car and want to be a part of the Wagon R family with its 2.2 million owners.
Photo Credit - Kaustubh Gandhi