Launched back in 1999, this tall-boy is one of India’s favorite hatchbacks. The car is currently in its third generation. Previously this car attracted huge fan-base because of the large cabin space, loads of practicality features, powerful engine, good air conditioning units and a very competitive price tag. Today, after 20 years and selling almost 2.2 million units, the same car in its third generation retains all these features, remains the best in class and still offers something more.
The design of the WagonR is a subjective term. However, people don’t really buy this car for her looks but they do so because of the practicality features. It comes with option of CNG which reduces the driving cost drastically. Currently the car is available in 14 variants and 6 color options to choose from.
The wagonr is 1675 mm in height, 1620mm wide and 3655mm in length. This means it’s 13 mm longer and 125mm wider than the older model. All this effort has increased the usable wheelbase by 35mm. The car looks tall and beefed up.
Even with the increased dimensions, the overall weight of this tall boy has been reduced. It certainly has a road presence among all the other hatches on the road. The boot-space is of a massive 341-liters which is enough for those airport trips and the fuel tank capacity is of 32 liters ensures an adequate range. The design in general does not look as boxy as the previous generation car. Headlights are now flashier. The black treatment to the C-pillar and the tall tail-lamps give it a modern look. There’s a chrome treatment over the blackened grille.
There is decent usage of chrome which is a unique thing in cars at this price point. The good point about this car is that it has a huge glass area which makes the cabin feel airier. There are no LED DRL’s on offer. This one also doesn’t feature the roof-rails, which were there previously. The wheel-size, though a bit small is well functional. This all new platform of the new WagonR uses 40% high strength steel. The top of the line zxi variant could have featured alloy wheels which could have looked beautiful.
On the inside, the new WagonR is completely changed. It looks modern and simplistic. The dual tone color scheme looks upmarket. Touch-screen infotainment is wisely integrated on the dashboard. The A/C vents don’t just look good, but they ensure a good flow of air throughout the cabin. Gear-lever is integrated into the central console. The increase in the width can be completely experienced inside. Unlike the previous car, you don’t sit shoulder to shoulder with any passenger. The speedometer and the tachometer are new, and they look a bit sporty because of the color scheme. In terms of practicality, this tall boy scores great. There are cupholders and storage spaces everywhere across the cabin. Rear doors can easily accommodate 1-liter bottles.
The glove box is large enough. There is space near the gear lever to house your phone, keys, wallets, etc. There is a storage bin for girls to house a proper makeup kit in the car. Central console consists of 1 USB port and one 12-volt charging socket. One of the weak points of the center console is that it comes into the space of the co-driver side leg-room. Hazard light switch is very well positioned and can be visible from any angle. Rear-wipers, defoggers, de-misters all of them are present on the vehicle and that makes driving this car very easy in the monsoon.
The doors open up to almost 90 degrees, which means getting in and out of this vehicle will not be a problem. Even elderly passengers would find it convenient to get in and out, thanks to the large door opening, massive height and a short step to get in. At the back, the room for all the passengers is increased due to the increase in the width. Head room was never a concern for anyone in the wagonr, now would it ever be. Under-thigh support can be a bit short. However, the recline angle is perfect.
A central arm rest at the rear is a huge miss though. The 341-liters boot can easily accommodate large size check-in bags. This space is more than the boot capacity of the Brezza. Moreover, the seats can be folded in a 60-40 configuration. These seats when completely folded open up a massive 720-liters of storage space. The head-rest just like the previous car are fixed. Adjustable headrest could have made life much easier for taller passengers. The car makes a sound when you forget to turn off the headlights before you exit out. This is a very useful touch and makes a lot of sense.
Power window controls are located on the driver seat. Quality of the buttons is not that great but at this price point they do a lot of justice to the return on investment. The front seats undoubtedly offer a commanding view of everything outside. The pop-out cupholders on the dashboard is a great-miss. In the previous generation car, they were positioned near the A/C vent to keep small bottles or cups cool. However, this time they are not present at all.
The Smart play Studio Infotainment sytem is a very intelligent touch by Maruti Suzuki. It gets Apple car play and Android Auto connectivity. You can access all the features of the car like the navigation, music system from your phone. Moreover, 3 phones can be connected at a time to the car using this application. Phone can be used as a remote to control the infotainment from any corner of the cabin. The tall boy doesn’t feature rear parking camera’s however, it does have 2 parking sensors at rear and a swift on the screen to guide you, which according to me cannot be completely relied on, all the time.
The wagonR comes with a 998cc and 1197cc petrol engine options. There are two CNG models available. However, the CNG kit is fitted on the base variant and not the top model. The K10B Petrol Engine makes 67.04 bhp at 5500 RPM and 90 Nm of torque at 3500 RPM. The 1.2-liter engine makes 83 HP and 113 Nm of torque.
The engine can be linked to both manual as well as an automatic gearbox. The average fuel efficiency for the petrol is 22.5 kmpl while for the CNG its 33.54 km/kg. The 1.2-liter engine is punchy, just like other Maruti cars. This is because the weight of the car is reduced as compared to the previous one. This car feels very good on the highways. The engine is strong, and it touches the 100 mark in no time. The steering however is very light to handle open highways. The car has a power to weight ratio of more than 100 bhp.
The mid-range of the car has a lot of usable performance on offer. The low-range has a little lag. The engine red-lines at 6000 RPM. Long drives in this car would not be a problem because of the strong engine performance and a comfortable cabin. This car is made for the urban traffic conditions. Light clutch, peppy engine, quick shifting automatic gearbox everything just makes life easier.
On the automatic mode, even a gentle tap on the throttle brings a downshift. In the manual mode, with the 1.2-liter engine option, you don’t have to work much with the gears. It can easily amble around in higher gears. This is best for traffic usage conditions. The steering clutch and gear-box are light which would make driving through traffics very easy. The light steering is best suited for traffic conditions. It does not offer much of a feedback in the corners or while making some sudden direction changes. Ride quality on this is more improved. It feels more planted.
Small bumps and potholes are completely absorbed by the suspensions. Cabin insulation of this new car is also better than the previous one however, its not really the best, you can hear your engine clearly inside the car. The AMT gearbox does wonders in start stop traffic. You don’t get that typical head-nod with this AMT, when you press hard on the accelerator. The automatic version also gets a manual mode for better ride control. In a typica start stop traffic the car holds on to the second gear.
There is a lot of wheel-spin if you push it harder from stop. The suspension set-up is on the softer side and hence the low speed ride is very good. It soaks all the minor bumps and potholes. However, if you speed up through a huge bump you may hear that noise from the suspension. While cornering heavily, you may feel the roll. The brakes of this hatch offer a great performance. The new platform is the same as used in the ignis.
The WagonR returns a fuel efficiency of almost 22 kmpl with the petrol. Also, it returns 33.5 km/kg with the CNG. These are really good numbers. This is the best car for OLA and UBER car services because, these are the services which are predominantly concentrated within the city limits, which is home to the wagonr.
The CNG option will save a lot of money and earn you a fortune if you are thinking for a continuous driving in city limits. Practicality wise, it can accommodate all the luggage, and this makes the car a good option for those airports run. Even on the petrol mode, the car delivers an average fuel efficiency of 22.5 kmpl which is comparable to those of diesel cars. Obviously, petrol mode is not very much recommended on cab usage because of the fuel cost. But the CNG option could take you distances in your business.
In a wagonr you can easily take u-turns and maneuver through traffics as compared to other big cars. Even with the A/C on the blast mode, you can use CNG and keep riding the whole day. This is very helpful in case you are planning to take the car for Ola/Uber. WagonR is supremely popular in the northern India as a cab.
Even after increasing the comfort, dimensions and drivability, the price tag of the wagonr is almost the same as that of the previous generation car. It may not be a driver’s car, but it is definitely a family’s car. No occupant inside this cabin would complain about anything. The design wise this may score a bit low. And some additions like the alloy wheels could have looked great on the top zxi version. However, this car is a huge leap forward in terms of boot space, cabin space, storage pockets, smart infotainment, safety and urban driving experience.
Moreover, there is an option of 1.2-liter engine which adds a thrill to your driving experience. If you are a family and looking forward to buying your first car, this is the best deal you can get. Along with all the features and drivability, Maruti Suzuki is a brand which takes proper care of its cars and their customers. Its after-sales service network is very well established, and they do almost everything for you and are completely reliable. Moreover, handicap or elderly passengers would find it extremely comfortable to get in and relax during the drive.
If you are looking to buy this car for cab business then you get the best return on investment because of its high fuel efficiency low maintenance cost, best in segment boot space and a good drivability. However, if you are someone to whom driving experience, power and handling are the most important things, then you may look for something even better. WagonR is a well-rounded package instead of mastering one. And this is something which the Indian customers are really looking in their cars.