Maruti Estilo in India- sort of the dancer

')">Maruti Suzuki India Limited post 2006 have so far had a great run with all their cars. Some one told me this lines the other day. I had an argument with them over this wherein I clearly told them that a few models weren’t doing good and those were the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara and the second was the Maruti Estilo. Now, not too many Vitaras on the road would mean that sales of this SUV are not going the profit way. Most of the SUVs preferred are from other badges. But now, what about the Maruti Estilo in India nee the Maruti Zen Estilo. Why isn’t it doing good then? People are still enamored by the old design of the Maruti Zen and somehow were expecting the same car with a design modification. However Suzuki thought of giving the Indians what was basically a MR Wagon from its Japan lineup. Bad idea. Now, to rectify the damage done, Maruti Suzuki India Limited have chosen to refresh the Maruti Estilo in India and give it a brand new commercial and youthful image. What are we waiting for then? I have borrowed a brand new Estilo from one of my friends and lets get going with the review. Check on Road Price

Looks

The front overhangs have been suddenly shortened and the Maruti Estilo in India bears some palatable looks. The grille has been also stretched and there is a chrome outline showing up now with the Suzuki logo now been given prominence. The wedge shaped head lamps are also redesigned units. The air dams have been given a wider treatment along with the fog lamps which are enclosed in very stylish enclosures of their own. There are many creases to the bumper design which actually makes this car, dare I say, look good. The fresh brown color or Dusky Brown as Maruti would like to call it also gives the design some artistic angle. The earlier car looked like a Tata Nano from certain if not most of the angles but now, the new one promises to dispel the thought.

The top of the line Vxi variant with ABS, that I had with me for the test boasts of body colored mirrors and wheel covers. The 155/65 R13 fill the wheel arches pretty well. The door handles are also body colored. The side profile is somewhat bland with that cab design been elevated to the next level.

The rear portion now features clear lens tail lamps along with a single wiper. However not much has changed and it looks very much the wagon that it has been derived from. I don’t know if it’s a personal thing but then I have just fallen in love with the brown color of this car. As with all the Marutis, there is a stop lamp even at the rear bumper level.

Interiors

Roomy and nice looking is what one would describe the interiors of the Maruti Estilo in India. The top of the line variant now boasts of an improved instrument cluster with tachometer and digital fuel gauge encompassing the same type odometer. The pedals are the slim types and I found my long legs missing them too often. The steering wheel seems to be lifted from the Maruti Swift. The positioning of the power switches is optimum whereas a new inclusion is the touch screen system for audio. I didn’t quite like the stock speakers and as it is my friend got a new Pioneer system which works wonderfully and gels with the car’s youthful image. There is a glove box which can hold some papers and toll tickets whereas the scoop above it can be used for putting in loose change and may be a soft drink or two. The AC controls seems very basic and truly Maruti style.

The seats are welcoming but then could do with more padding. After sitting in them for quite some time, my derriere started to get numb. Leg room upfront is nice but then the adjustable steering column also makes up for any lack of leg room. With a pride, I can say that there are not many Maruti vehicles that a 6 footer can sit in comfortably in the driver’s seat but then the Maruti Estilo in India is one of those wherein I can be comfortable behind the wheel. The quality of plastics used is typically Maruti style. The rear seat bench is also good only for short journeys and those looking for long jaunts better go checkout the Maruti Wagon R. Taller people would find it a bit tiring for their legs but then the tall boy design makes up somewhat for the lack of leg space. The boot space is also enough for weekend shopping trips.

Handling and ride quality

Been a tall boy, one wouldn’t expect the same kind of handling that can be expected from the jellybean 1993 Maruti Zen car. The Maruti Estilo in India boasts of 165 mm of ground clearance and this is more than enough to tackle the bad Indian roads without the car bottoming out. Its suspension setup is on the lighter side and hence at city speeds it absorbs the bumps very nicely with only the ocassional judder filtering into the cabin. On the open road, the car suffers slightly from crosswinds and can get wafted around a bit.

The handling has improved a bit with the steering feeling more connected with the road. It doesn’t feel as overservoed as the earlier units from Maruti Suzuki. That saying, it is still devoid of feel at higher speeds. This car is intended more for urban use and for the urban layout, it works perfectly fine. The steering wheel is light and can be operated with the help of finger tips in the city. NVH is also vastly improved with the new engine and also better damping characteristics. The earlier version had more of NVH which made it irritating to drive around in towns or on the highway.

Maruti Estilo photo Gallery

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Engine, performance and fuel efficiency

Not only has the looks of the Maruti Estilo in India changed but also the engine has gone the K series way. It borrows the engine from the Maruti A-star and the Maruti Wagon R. This 998 cc 3 cylinder K10B engine makes 68PS @ 6200 rpm and the maximum torque boost gained is 90 Nm @ 3500 rpm. The 5 speed transmission has been also carried over from the Maruti A-star and this means a slick shifting gearbox and not the notchy unit from the earlier Maruti Zen Estilo. Somehow, the 3 pot motor’s irregular idling issue seems to have been sorted out in this car. It doesn’t felt as bad as in the case of the Alto K10 or even the A-star for that matter.

Speaking of performance, it has taken a big leap with the car racing from 0-100 kmph in only under 15 seconds. The top speed attained on this car is a respectable 158 kmph. This motor loves to be revved but then can get a bit noisy near the top end. It has taller gear ratios and hence one has to constantly work the gear box to extract the maximum performance out of it.

Stopping this car are discs at the front and drums at the rear. Assisting them in this duty is the optional ABS(fitted onto my test car). The brake pedal feel left something to be desired for as it required quite a shove to stop the car, however ABS sorted things out before they turned nasty.

Safety is one thing in which the Maruti Estilo in India excels in. It has got the factory fitted iCATS system, child locks, driver air bag and side intrusion beams. The iCATS system has duly proved its worth in the Indian market in other Maruti vehicles.

Fuel efficiency is another area where the new Estilo excels in. It returned 15.2 kmpl in the city cycle whereas this improved to 18.6 kmpl on the highway. All these figures were achieved with the AC on. With the rising prices of crude almost every alternate month, efficient engines like the KB series do make a hell lot of difference.

Verdict

The Maruti Estilo in India, with its new avatar and engine has started rolling the dice for Maruti Suzuki India Limited and in a good way. It has got all those things that the Maruti Wagon R provides for and at a much cheaper price. It has got somewhat roomy interiors, good ambience, fuel efficient and responsive engine, above all the Maruti reliability to go with it. In a bid to go green, the company has also lately introduced a CNG version of the Maruti Estilo. The Maruti Estilo is available now in 5 different variants. The variants are Lx, Lxi, Vxi, Vxi with ABS and Lxi with CNG. The price of Maruti Estilo Lx is Rs 3,24,172 (ex-show room, Delhi) whereas the variant I tested goes for Rs 4,10,977 (ex-show room, Delhi). The CNG variant on the other hand goes for Rs 4,04,962 (ex-show room, Delhi).

Specification Of Maruti Zen Estilo VXI BS IV W/ ABS

Engine details: 998 cc, In-Line Engine 3 cyl, K10B
Maximum Power: 68 PS @ 6200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 90 Nm @ 3500 rpm
Fuel Supply System: MPFI
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Bore x Stroke: 68.5 x 72.2 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.2:1
Transmission details: 5 Speed manual
Rear Suspension: Coil Spring with three link rigid axle & isolated trailing arm
Front Suspension: McPherson Strut with torsion type roll control device
Steering Type: Electronic Power assisted with Rack & Pinion
ShockAbsorbers Type: Gas Filled
Turning Radius (wheel base): 4.7 m
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Disc
Rear Brake Type: Isolated Drums
Top Speed: 158 kmph
Acceleration (0-100 kmph): 15.00 seconds
Mileage-City (kmpl): 15.2
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 186
Fuel Type: Petrol
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 37
Emission Norm Compliance: BS 4
Tyre Size: 155/65 R13
Tyre Type: Tubeless Radial
Wheel Size: 4J x 13
Seating Capacity: 5
No of Doors: 5

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