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Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG Vxi







Maruti Suzuki India Limited {MSIL} are one of the largest car manufacturers in India and the second largest exporters. They have dominated the small car scene and still continue to do so with a fair margin. The only problem is that the competition have caught up with them now and are eroding into Maruti Suzuki India Limited’s pie. To counter this onslaught, MSIL are launching new small car models as well as updates of their existing small cars. Their original tall boy design, the Wagon R have received some of that magic dust sprinkling which has been spread around by MSIL. The new Wagon R comes in normal as well as cost reducing and greener CNG option. We set out to review the new refreshed Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG.

Looks

The looks of the new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG have evolved and is more of an evolution rather than revolution. The car sits taller now and looks more mature. Maruti Suzuki India Limited have taken a 10 year old design and have made it look more modern and up to date. At first look, you would notice that the bonnet has been extended and the head lamps are bigger now and have blue parking lamps. No wonder, the new car is called ““Blue Eyed Boy” by MSIL’s marketing boffins. The head lamp cluster is now bang besides the grille of the car. The grille in itself is a 3 horizontal unit and lined with a fat chrome strip on the top and flanked by thin ones on the lower slats. The Suzuki logo is nestled between the grille. The air dam is a big one and we can call it as a bold unit. It has deep set fog lamps. The wind screen is also more raked but overall it cannot dispel the boxy look of the car.

The side profile shows a extended wheel base and more of glass area. The wheels offered on the Lxi version for the new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG of the 13 inch types steel wheels whereas the Vxi version gets 14 inch steel wheels with wheel covers. The one we tested was the Vxi. There are body colored roof rails. The wheel wells though aren’t even completely filled up with the 14 inchers. There are two quarter glasses, one at the front window and another at the rear. The out side rear view mirrors are also body colored. There is a black plastic moulding, so typical of Maruti cars, which runs from wheel to wheel on the sides.

The rear is also jacked up and the car looks more taller now. The glass area has grown up. The good news is that the rear washer and wiper are now standard equipment and a much needed one at that. People buying the new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG would be surprised with the fact that even the costlier Swift as well as Ritz don’t offer this feature even as an option. The tail lamps are now clear lens units and are vertically stacked up. A fat chrome strip announces the name of the car and also does duties as the hatch. The stop light is mounted high on the boot spoiler and a separate one on the lower bumper.

Interiors

Open the doors and the new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG still doesn’t open that wide but ingress and egress isn’t a problem. Feel the top of the well sculpted dashboard and you would notice that this is a far cry from all those Maruti’s that you have checked out all these years. The dash and all the other materials feel smooth to touch and they felt durable during the whole test exercise. The steering wheel is borrowed from the Swift bin but is devoid of steering wheel mounted audio controls. The prevailing theme inside is of orange. The standard stereo system with 4 speakers and an okay sound also has orange fonts. Plus the AC controls and even the meter dials are in orange.

The new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG now has 3 semi circular dials which house the rev counter, speedometer and the third pod for all the tell tale lights. In the speedometer pod, you also get a digital fuel gauge system. Overall, the interiors look quite high quality and one which we usually don’t expect from Maruti Suzuki India Limited. There are no panel gaps and build quality is quite upto the mark or the norm for this segment. There are lots of stowage spaces like pop out cup holders, a deep glove box and also deep map pockets.

Since the wheelbase has increased by 40 mm in length, this releases lots of leg room at the rear. A 6 footer behind another would be quite comfortable in the new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG . The front seats have enough bolstering and speaking of the seats, they are made of an all new soft new material fabric. The rear is a flat bench with almost no tranmission tunnel intrusion. However you sit a bit upright in the rear and it can seat three comfortably due to the tall boy design.

Not surprisingly, the boot space has been decreased from the older generation Wagon R and the new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG now only has 180 liters of boot space. The 18 liter CNG tank sits in the boot and this does intrude into the space but loading is quite easy due to the lower lip.

Maruti Suzuki India Limited haven’t skimped on the equipment for the new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG. It boasts of electrically adjustable outside mirrors, an auto dimming rear view mirror, central locking and even keyless entry.

Handling and ride quality

The earlier Wagon R had a nervous handling as well as a soft suspension. The new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG now makes do with a stiffer suspension set up. This doesn’t translate to a stiff ride. On the contrary in the city conditions, the new car excels by gliding over pot holes. The steering wheel is also light in action and the car is easily a traffic cutter in the city. Good ground clearance means that you wouldn’t be scraping the nose of the car on speed breakers.The earlier nervous handling of the car has given way to a more composed one around corners, the increased wheel base playing a pivotal role here. That saying, it is no Swift and the cross-winds do play havoc with the tall boy design and there is a fair bit of body roll however it is well controlled. Also road, wind and tyre noise play havoc at high speeds.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

The new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG not only gets a refresh for its body style but also one in its heart. Yes, it is the third car in the Maruti Suzuki India Limited’s stables to get the K series engine which first debuted in the A-star. The engine in question is the K series (K10) 998cc, 3 cylinder, MPFI petrol engine which delivers 67 bhp @ 6100 rpm and torque of 90 NM @ 3500 rpm. The same irregular idle thrum of the 3 pot motor is present even in the new Wagon R. Floor the throttle and the car settles into a smooth ride. The new car feels sprightly to drive than the old one. However lack of torque at lower speeds make you shift the gears quite often. Switching to CNG doesn’t take away the potency of the engine and it doesn’t lack power especially in the mid and top range.

The CNG technology is called i-GPI by Maruti and when the new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG is driven in CNG mode it produces 59.3 PS of top power at 6,200 rpm and puts out a peak torque of 77 Nm at 3,500 rpm. However the CNG benefits cannot be neglected as it is next to no pollution as well as lower priced than petrol.

The gear lever as well as selector are all new and the gear shift is now cable driven. The gears slot into their gates perfectly and even the throw is shorter now. This is a remarkable improvement over the old car and the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG now feels as good to drive, like the rest of the K series engined cars.

Fuel efficiency too has gone notches above the outgoing model with the new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG  returning an ARAI certified 16 kmpl in the city and a high 21 kmpl on the highway.It races from 0-100 kmph in 15.3 seconds.The Wagon R gets to a claimed top speed of 146 kmph.

Braking is handled by drums at the rear and ventilated discs at the front. Their action is supported by a 4 channel ABS system. The brake pedal feels a bit spongy to operate but just about makes the job done. The clutch action is soft and doesn’t bite in any hard way. There is no nose diving even under heavy braking situations. Safety is taken care by two airbags in the VXI version as well as collapsible steering wheel and safety intrusion beams.

Verdict

The new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG Vxi model is complete value for money. Its new looks guarantee it admiration plus the rich interiors take this car a notch or two above its competition. It has got a new engine, better fuel efficiency, better ride and handling as well as CNG technology. This translates into lower running costs as well as overall sense that you aren’t contributing to global warming. The Vxi is priced at Rs.4.78 lakhs {ex-showroom, Mumbai}.

Technical specifications of the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG Vxi

Overall length x width x height: 3595 mm X 1495 mm X 1700 mm Wheelbase: 2,403 mm
Front/Rear Track: 1285/1280 mm
Ground clearance: 166 mm
Turning Radius: 4.3m
Boot Volume: 180 liters
Fuel Tank Capacity: 36 litres + 18 liter of CNG
Kerb Weight: 885 kgs

Engine and other specifications of the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R CNG Vxi

Engine: 998cc, 3 Cylinder K10 Engine BS IV Compliant
Power: 67 Bhp @ 6100 rpm
Torque: 90Nm @ 3500pm
Transmission: 5 speed manual cable shift
Top Speed: 146 kmph
0-100kmph: 15.37 seconds
Fuel Consumption: 16 kmpl (City), 21 kmpl (highway)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Suspension: Mcpherson Struts with coil spring (Front) & Isolated trailing link with coil spring (Rear)
Tires: 155/65/14 (Vxi) & 145/80/13 (Lxi CNG, Lxi & Lx) Tubeless Radials
Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front),  Drums ( Rear)
Safety: ABS, Dual SRS Front Airbags

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  1. Is any CNG car getting launched in coming 6 months

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