Maruti Suzuki has recently launched a face-lifted version of its ‘Blue-Eyed-Boy’ – the WagonR hatchback at a price of Rs 3.77 lakh for the base LX variant, ex-showroom Kolkata. The new Maruti WagonR gets a refreshed look with a few exterior and interior tweaks. However, mechanically the new WagonR remains unchanged from its outgoing sibling. It will continue to be powered by the same K-10 engine producing 68PS of maximum power at 6200rpm and 90Nm of peak torque at 3500rpm.
Senior management in Maruti Suzuki India Limited has claimed that “the changes introduced on the new WagonR are in line with the customer feedback received through regular customer engagement programmes.”
The refreshed Maruti Suzuki WagonR will also be available in two new colour options – Passion Red and Ecru Beige in addition to the previously existing Glistening Grey, Superior White, Breeze Blue, Silky Silver and Baker’s Chocolate.
We took the blue-eyed-boy for a spin around town and this is what we discovered.
Design & Engineering
The moment you lay your eyes on the new Maruti WagonR either in visuals or in flesh, the first distinctive difference between the new WagonR and its outgoing sibling is its refreshed front grille which is now narrower and has a single horizontal strip compared to three on the outgoing model. The WagonR also gets a new bumper with a larger air dam and refreshed fog lamp housings. The higher LXi and VXi trims get additional chrome detailing.
Take a walk along the side and there is no difference with its outgoing sibling. The rear too is absolutely identical. The VXi variant that we drove came with body coloured bumpers, ORVMs and door handles. Tubeless tyres come as standard fitment across model range.
The new WagonR is 3599mm long (34mm longer than the Santro), 1475 mm wide and stands 1670mm tall without the roof rail (80mm taller than the Santro, which results in more head room). The longer wheelbase 2400mm (20mm longer than that of the Hyundai Santro) also translates to more cabin space. And although looks are subjective, however, in my opinion the new Maruti WagonR looks slightly sharper than its closest rival – the Hyundai Santro Xing.
Interiors & Comfort
The interiors of the new Maruti WagonR have also been reworked. The dashboard now gets a beige and black dual-tone colour scheme. The base LX and mid-range LXi variants get dual beige and black colour seats, while the top-of-the-line VXi gets all-beige upholstery. Also exclusive to the VXi trim is a fully integrated audio system with USB input with speakers on all four doors, adjustable tilt steering, electrical ORVMs, rear power window, keyless central locking, front passenger under seat tray and tachometer. In addition to the exiting glove box, Maruti has added another storage box on the dash placed in front of the front passenger which will prove quite useful to store music CDs and other knick-knacks. But this additional glove box means that there is no possibility of any passenger airbags as a result. There are also cup holders for the driver and front passenger tucked away in the dashboard.
Getting in and out of the new Maruti WagonR is a breeze. Both front and rear seating is comfortable and offers good head, shoulder and leg room. The high seating position is definitely a positive and offers excellent visibility to the driver and front passenger. The quality of plastics used is of good quality and much better in comparison to the one used in the Hyundai Santro.
The longer wheelbase 2400mm (20mm longer than that of the Hyundai Santro) also translates to more cabin space. However, when it comes to luggage space, Santro’s 218 litre boot is 38 litre more spacious than the new Maruti WagonR.
Features like 60:40 split and folding rear seats and air conditioner with heater comes as standard across model range. High roofline and folding seats add to the versatility and enables to accommodate bigger luggage when the need may arise.
Performance & Handling
Under the hood of the new WagonR is the tried and tested 3-cylinder K10 petrol engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The engine produces 68PS of maximum power at 6200rpm and pumps 90Nm of peak torque at 3500rpm.
The moment you crank the key, the K-series engine starts with a slight vibration, a known characteristic of this 3-cylinder motor. And once you start driving the new Maruti WagonR, it won’t be long before you reliase that the gearshift is a bit notchy, although there is a slight improvement over the much earlier model thanks to the cable-operated gearshift.
The steering felt very light and lifeless around the straight-ahead stretches at high speeds, although negotiating the car through city traffic felt like a walk in the park. Given its tall boy design, one is bound to feel some amount of body roll, especially while turning at sharp corners, however, it’s nothing major to unnerve you. Besides, it would be unfair to expect sports car like grip in a car like this.
The suspension system in the new WagonR comprises McPherson Strut with coil spring at the front and isolated trailing link with coil spring at the rear. The suspension felt slightly stiff and while driving over potholes, some amount of jerks was felt inside the cabin. This is also partly due to the lower profile tyres on the VXi variant we tested. The LX and LXi have slightly taller tyres, which help to take the edge off potholes. Although, if I compare it to its main competitor – the Hyundai Santro Xing – then the WagonR will be able to more than hold its ground.
The ground clearance in the Maruti WagonR is adequate and the under-carriage stays clear of most of the bumps. The ride is comfortable and the top-of-the-line VXi variant that we tested came equipped with 14 inch wheels, which assist in better handing. However, don’t try anything fancy around roundabouts, as the tall stance is a detriment to quick cornering. Ventilated disc on the front and drum on the rear ensure more or less prompt braking, although there is still room for improvement. Overall, the WagonR does well as a city car.
The new Maruti WagonR boasts of an ARAI ratified fuel efficiency of 20.51kmpl (Hyundai Santro ARAI mileage: 17.92kmpl) and although we didn’t get a chance to do a mileage test, however, it’s anybody’s guess that the real world figures will be much less. Interaction with Maruti WagonR owners over the past have revealed that the WagonR should comfortably deliver about 12kmpl within the city with air conditioning. On the highway, expect to get around 15kmpl, which isn’t very good, but then the bread-box aerodynamics are to the car’s detriment.
On the safety front, the new Maruti WagonR gets a computerised anti-theft system, child rear door locks, front and rear three point ELR seat belt, side-impact beams and collapsible steering column as standard across model range. More crucial safety features like ABS and driver side airbag is offered as an optional extra on the VXi trim only at a premium of Rs 32,000. However, the additional glove box on the dash means that there is no possibility of any passenger airbags as a result.
I firmly believe that given the driving conditions and state of roads in India, essential safety features like ABS should be provided as standard across model range. Also considering that most parts of our country receive substantial amount of rainfall, features like rear wiper, washer and de-fogger should at least be available as cost option if not provided as standard. Unfortunately, in the new WagonR, only the top-of-the-line- VXi trim comes equipped with these features.
At a time when car manufacturers across the globe are waking up to the fact of making their vehicles safer, leading Indian manufacturers like Maruti should spare some thought on this issue and there is still plenty of room for improvement. Besides, if ever legislation is passed in India making safety features like ABS and airbags mandatory, then having such features in the car now will lead to better resale value in the future.
If one is willing to look at the new Maruti WagonR as a city car, then you would find plenty of reason to smile. The high seating position which offers great visibility, good head, shoulder and leg room, light controls and responsive engine make it quite effortless to drive the new WagonR around town. And the best bit is that the WagonR delivers class-leading fuel economy (20.51 ARAI figure) and is backed by Maruti’s trusted after sales service. Now that is assurance enough and will definitely make the new Maruti WagonR a good choice as a city car. Speaking on the pocket pinch, the price of the new Maruti WagonR starts from Rs 3.77 lakh for the base LX variant and goes upto Rs 4.66 lakh for the VXi trim with ABS and airbags. For those of you who don’t care much about the very mediocre integrated music system that comes with the VXi trim or don’t want the ABS and airbags, then opting for the LXi variant (Rs 4.08 lakh) might prove to be a more economical and prudent choice.