Maruti Suzuki Wagon R Long Term Report 2
It has been two months since the ‘big’ new Wagon R joined CarWale’s long term fleet. As promised, this blue-eyed boy has been performing its duties as our support vehicle for all the CarWale videos with utmost ease. And, we even took the Wagon R for our special assignment – exploring the bustling Mohammad Ali Road during the final days of Ramzan. The Wagon R has turned out to be a favourite choice in our team and now everyone in the office wants to grab Maruti’s keys at every given opportunity. In this report, we will see how the Wagon R is to live with as a city car.
Space and practicality
Everyone who sat in the new Wagon R for the first time had the same thing to say – how spacious this hatchback has become. Especially if you compare it with the outgoing model. Capitalizing on its tall-boy design, Maruti Suzuki has increased the headroom of this hatchback, so no matter how tall the passenger is, there’s still sufficient head and knee room, especially on the rear bench. Besides, three could easily fit in the back and not feel cramped even for longer, traffic-proned commutes. In addition to the roomy cabin, the large glasshouse and thin pillars provide a good view outside for all the passengers.
More importantly, the large boot has been a delight, especially to our camera persons. Its 341 litres of space is quite large. Also, the loading lip is low and there are no intrusions on either side of the cargo area, making the boot furthermore usable. But it would have been really helpful if Maruti had provided the strings on the parcel tray which could hold it up when the tailgate is open. Because sometimes while stowing away luggage in the fairly deep boot, the parcel tray tends to cause hindrance. And if you open it up and try to reach into the boot, it may fall right down on your face.
Speaking of practicality, the cubby hole in the centre console does look big enough to hold all your knick-knacks. However, when you shove something in, you’d realise that the cubby hole could either hold your phone or your wallet, not both – owing to the USB, AUX and 12V outlet placed there. So instead, you can use the little square area beneath the handbrake for the wallet, which incidentally, has a perfect dimension for it. But the handbrake always comes in the way when trying to reach for the wallet placed there. Thankfully, the cup holder behind the gear lever and the bottle holder in the door pockets proved to be very useful in the summer. We are also delighted that Maruti has provided a dead pedal in this automatic hatch which may seem like a trivial thing. In fact, it is an imperative feature to have with a two-pedal set-up.
The new 1.2-litre petrol engine from the Swift still feels peppy. And when properly revved, it sounds quite sporty too. With the combination of lightweight – owing to the Heartect platform – and bigger K12 engine, the Wagon R can now keep pace with the city traffic. Impressively, the automatic has taken away all the driving stress especially in the frequent stop and go congestion. And similar to the Swift, if the right foot is used cleverly, the AMT jerks can be reduced to a bare minimum.
Moreover, there are no complaints while driving the car in heavy traffic thanks to great visibility, light and responsive steering, and surprisingly small turning radius. The ride quality is well balanced too, taking in even sharper potholes or excessively bad roads in its stride without much hassle. That said, the Wagon R ride has improved from the older model, and this is coming from someone in our team who owns the previous generation Wagon R. So, overall, there are no complaints on the mechanical front so far.
If we were to point out the negatives, there are a few. Firstly, there’s no rear view camera (it is available in the Santro Asta), just rear parking sensors. And the rear windscreen is positioned too high. This creates an issue while reversing and parking because of the reduced visibility when looking back.
The steering mounted controls are good and convenient to use, however, the volume stalk has a slow response. Also, oddly enough, it takes a little extra effort to shut the doors of the Wagon R. More often, everyone would just push the door expecting it to shut on its own, but it doesn’t shut completely. The possible explanation for this could be the air accumulated in the large volume of the boxy cabin creating a back pressure when the doors are being shut. But this isn’t a grave issue and can be easily evaded if the doors are just swung shut harder than usual.
Lastly, we must admit, a modest car like the Wagon R does grab attention on the streets. Yes, people do take a second look at it. Or would stop in their tracks and ask questions about features, performance, the CNG option and, most importantly, the price. And when we told them the on-road price of this top-spec trim we have here, they were slightly put off. This is because the general perception of a Wagon R is of an affordable hatchback. And so a price tag of Rs 7.01 lakhs on road Mumbai of the variant we have here comes as a surprise. Sure the new one is a lot more car too – you get a bigger engine capacity, AMT, standard safety equipment and many more features. And we are sure this increase in price won’t prevent car buyers from flocking the showroom for this ‘people’s car’.
Now that the monsoon has started to kick in, and city roads have started to disappear into potholes and waterlogging, we have a few road trips planned with the Wagon R. More on that and how this city car performs on the highway in the next report.
Km this month: 1,136km
Fuel Efficiency: 12.1kmpl
Pictures by - Kaustubh Gandhi