Maruti Suzuki has sold more than 22 lakh units of the WagonR ever since it was launched in 1999. This itself proves how successful this hatchback has been and continues to be ever since. Now with changing times and buyers’ increasing demands, the carmaker has launched the new-gen WagonR. It looks trendier, gets more modern creature comforts and is underpinned by Suzuki's new A plus Heartect platform. What's more, there's a new powerful engine with automatic versions too. Plus, the latest iteration claims to offer better value for money than before. But does it really fit the bill? We found out during its media drive in Udaipur.
One look and it's clear that the signature tall-boy stance has been retained. Rightfully called the 'Big WagonR', this new model is infact bigger than ever with increased dimensions. And even though the overall design, as compared to the older car, isn’t poles apart, the changes make it look more modern. Especially the fascia with the new 'arrow-shaped' headlamps, a simple yet tastefully done grille and redesigned bumper. Moreover, the sculpted lines for the wheel arches add some glamour even though the doors remain more or less unchanged. Another stylish touch on the sides is the blackened C-Pillar that lends a floating roof look. Additionally, the elongated tail lamps with rounded-off edges at the back add to the car's persona. Overall, Maruti has made a great effort in redesigning and reducing the rather boxy shape which many didn't like earlier.
Stepping inside the car is still an easy thing to do thanks to the tall-boy character. And once inside, you’ll notice a redesigned cabin, a dual tone dashboard, beige upholstery, reworked vents and centre console. Surroundings visibility from the cabin is good too thanks to the large windows and high seating position. Though there’s no seat height adjust, the steering is adjustable in order to provide a comfortable driving position. The nicely-padded seats with a short base are flat with little side contours offering sufficient support. Also, the extended wheelbase from 2,400mm to 2,435mm, has translated to more space inside. And not only there’s plenty of legroom, three people can now sit more comfortably on the rear seat as the car is wider too. Good headroom has always been the strong point of the WagonR, but adjustable headrests would have been more welcomed instead of the fixed ones that are offered. Likewise, fit and finish, and the quality of materials is certainly better than the older car but still feels average at best. It’s acceptable but doesn’t induce a wow feeling or give an up-market touch.
Moreover, the 2019 WagonR is now feature-loaded and the biggest addition is the large colourful touchscreen infotainment system called Smartplay Studio. It’s different from the ones seen on other Maruti cars, but still practical and features both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is paired with navigation, voice recognition, Bluetooth connectivity and your phone to be used as a remote. This will surely add to the rear occupants’ delight. Another highlight is the new, more informative, instrument cluster with multi-function display.
Now, the carmaker is also offering a host of safety features like dual front airbags, ABS and reverse parking sensors. Still, it's surprising why Isofix/child-seat mounts have been given a miss. Then, be it the centre console or door pads, storage and stowage options in the cabin are plenty with a few bottle and cup-holders. In fact, now there’s a larger boot space of 341 litres. It’s also deeper, so don’t expect it to transform flat with the rear seat folded. However, the 60:40 split adds to the versatility for accommodating different kinds of luggage in an area with no intrusions and a large opening.
The older 67bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit continues to power the lower variants. On the other hand, a more powerful 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine is seen under the hood of the top-end variants of the WagonR. This is the one we sampled and it clearly comes across as a peppy and refined engine. It’s the same unit from the Swift and the Ignis, producing 82bhp and 113Nm of torque. This may or may not be the fastest off the mark, but it certainly helps attain speeds quickly and make progress swiftly. The engine is responsive, rev-happy and also makes the WagonR feel smoother. It becomes noisy only post 5,000rpm, the territory where there hardly would be any need to rev to. Otherwise, the car nicely marches along thanks to the readily available torque. The punchy mid-range is respectable to get going in at 2,500-3,000rpm. The lighter kerb weight of 825-845kgs further helps its case in moving around effortlessly.
As for the five-speed manual transmission, the gears slot in well and the short throws and light controls help in making driving an easy affair. What’s more interesting, is the AGS (AMT gearbox) that eliminates the use of the clutch and adds to the ease in traffic. There’s almost no delay in shifting to higher gears and with a sudden change in throttle input, it slots into a lower gear without any fuss. Thankfully, the head nod akin to most AMTs isn’t prominent here and builds a strong case for being one of the smoothest AMTs available in its segment.
We drove the car in city traffic and even out on the highway. The steering could have been a tad lighter making parking and manoeuvring an even easier affair. Nonetheless, it weighs up nicely at high speeds. Straight-line stability is exceptional too. Then, the suspension has been tuned brilliantly, so even over rough roads or small bumps at slow speeds, you don’t feel thrown around. Broken roads and uneven surfaces are taken in its stride easily without sending jolts into the cabin. The high speed ride is pliant too still offering a relatively flat ride. We didn’t witness many winding turns on our route, but the car remained stable around long bends even at triple digit speeds. Besides, the brakes have sufficient bite to confidently stop the car even in emergency situations. Overall, the new platform has definitely helped improve the WagonR in the ride and handling department.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||82bhp @ 6,000rpm|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||113Nm @ 4,200rpm|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||32|
|Tyre size||165/70 R14|
|Dual airbags, ABS with EBD||Yes|
|Touch screen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay||Yes|
|Smart Studioplay with remote||Yes|
|Bootspace of 341litres||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||Zxi/Zxi AMT||Asta/Sportz AMT|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||82bhp @ 6,000rpm||68bhp @ 5,500rpm|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||113Nm @ 4,200rpm||99Nm @ 4,500rpm|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||32||35|
|Tyre size||165/70 R14||
This 2019 WagonR surely has some big shoes to fill and it gladly meets all expectations. In fact, with enhanced looks, a more spacious and feature packed cabin, excellent ride and better performance, it takes this proposition a notch higher. All the more, its on-road pricing between Rs 5.14 lakhs and Rs 6.88 lakhs still makes it a viable option. This third-gen WagonR has progressed nicely to give a tough fight to the Hyundai Santro, Tata Tiago and Datsun Go in this competitive segment then.
Pictures by Kapil Angane