Maruti Suzuki Wagon R is a household name in India. It is one of the most popular cars in the country (also one of the highest selling one, mind you). In fact, I am pretty sure not a single person in our country can claim that he/she has never sat in a Wagon R, or don't know a person who owns one. And now Maruti Suzuki has brought in the third generation of the blue-eyed boy. This new Wagon R is not only bigger but also better, smarter and modern in every possible way. We have received the keys of the top-spec ZXI 1.2 with the AMT gearbox and I am eager to spend time with the Wagon R especially in the two pedal set-up. But before we take a deeper look at how it is to live with, let us see what the new package has on offer.
Firstly, Maruti Suzuki has retained the Wagon R’s characteristic 'tall-boy' stance. And just to put things in perspective, the new Wagon R (1675mm) stands 35mm taller than the Jeep Compass. Based on the Heartect platform (same as the Ignis), it has grown by 56mm in overall length, is 125mm wider and has 25mm of added height compared to the model it replaces. Also, the wheelbase has grown by 35mm freeing up space on the inside.
Our car is finished in a cool looking Poolside Blue which instantly stands out from the mundane looking white colour cabs you see on the roads. In terms of appearance, there is a new upright fascia with squarish dual-split headlamps flanking a smartly done grille. In my opinion, the redesigned fascia makes the new Wagon R look like a Japanese Kei car, and that is a good thing. Its floating C-pillar lends a modern and stylish profile as the roofline tapers towards the back. Meanwhile, the squared-off rear with elongated taillights is quirky and gives the new Wagon R its boxy stance. It sits on 165/70 R14 profile tyre wrapped around steel wheels.
Similar to the exteriors, the cabin of the new Wagon R is a huge leap over its predecessor. As the dimensions have grown significantly, the cabin feels spacious and airy while offering ample visibility all around. Behind the wheel, the Wagon R feels like a much expensive car. Mostly because the dual-tone dash has a good fit and finish. Maruti’s new seven-inch infotainment screen is positioned atop the centre console and comes with Smartplay Studio with all the smartphone connectivity options. The new steering wheel has mounted controls and a contrasting silver insert that looks and feel premium. A big circular speedometer dominates the instrument cluster and is joined by a smaller but digital tachometer.
As mentioned previously, the larger dimension translates to more room on the inside, especially at the rear. For example, the rear bench offers more legroom than before and has ample head and shoulder room as well. So far, the boot space of 341litres has proven to be more than adequate for our shoot equipment. In terms of features, our car comes fitted with dual airbags, ABS, 60:40 split rear seat, tilt adjust steering, gear indicator, remote keyless entry, all four power windows, speed sensing door locks, rear defogger and wiper, rear parking sensors and 12V socket.
Powering our long-termer is the 1.2-litre K12M four-cylinder petrol engine. This is the same motor which does duties in the Swift and Ignis and produces 82bhp of power at 6000rpm and 113Nm of max torque at 4200rpm. Our car comes with the five-speed automatic transmission. This AMT unit is a huge boon for a city car like Wagon R as it offers stress-free drivability, which I am excited to try. Since we have a lot of commuting planned for the Wagon R, I am eagerly looking forward to the clutchless shifting in bumper-to-bumper traffic – which city dwellers like us have encountered a lot lately. In addition to that, the Wagon R now tips the scale at just 845kg – almost 65kg lighter than the older car. So in the next report, we will see how the bigger engine and lighter weight works in the favour of Wagon R’s driving dynamics.
Given that the new Wagon R is spacious, practical and fuel efficient, over the course of coming months this ‘people’s favourite hatchback’ will be assisting us in all our video shoots. Which means it will be doing lots of city commutes, highway runs, and will also be plodding over places where usually SUVs tread. More on that in the next report of the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R ZXi 1.2 AMT Long Term Review. So stay tuned.
Km this month: N/A
Fuel Efficiency: N/A
Photos: Kaustubh Gandhi