These are the days of nucleus families and small cars. The growth witnessed in the Indian car market in the last financial year was also attributed to the same phenomenon. But traditional Indian families still live by the live-together rule. So if you are part of a big family and are interested on a low and easy maintenance, comfy drive, the Maruti Suzuki Versa will suit you like honey to bee. In a country like ours where the entire clan-that is mother, father, aunts, uncles, grandparents and children still play, eat live and stay together under one roof, there is a dearth of vehicles that is capable to catering to the needs of such a family whenever they want to go for an outing together.
SUVs like the Innova, Safari and the Scorpio are far too expensive on the wallets, the Versa and Omni are practically the only ones that cater to the needs of such big families in smaller budgets. Barring safety related concerns, Omni is one of the cheapest people-carrier. In comes the Maruti Suzuki Versa. The car was launched in 2001, but it was a non-starter from the very beginning despite Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bacchan and his son shouting hoarse about the car’s features. Automobile pundits have attributed this no-show of the Versa for two reasons, non-availability of diesel option and high price during the initial days. Even an old used Maruti Suzuki Versa is a tough find in the used car market. But if your clan is big and you are scouting for an easily driven, simple to maintain, the versatility of a Second hand Maruti Suzuki Versa cannot be overlooked. Versa is equipped with a 1.3-L engine and a gearbox that is employed by Maruti in the Esteem as well, although with a few modifications to accommodate for the purpose for which they are used. Gearbox ratios differ and so does the engine which is slightly modified to its valve gear and the head. Both transmission and engine run trouble-free and are reliable, with the only condition of timely servicing. Recurring problems in a used Maruti Suzuki Versa are few but one must definitely check the electricals, particularly if the owner has fixed additional audio accessories like the DVD player or a video screen. It is advisable to stay at arms length if you have the feeling that the built-up of the electrical components has been done by someone other than a professional. Tracing electrical problems is nightmarish.
The Versa was launched with standard 13 inch 155/80 radials. It has been widely witnessed that owners have replaced the standard tyre with a more low-profile 175/70 size which is a tad wider. This change was attributed to the poor grip and handling capabilities of the tyres provided by the company. A slight decrease in the mileage is expected due to this replacement. In short if you are looking at a second hand Maruti Suzuki Versa which sports such tyres, it is definitely a positive.
Longitivity of the tyres on a Versa is expected approximately from 30,000 to 40,000 km, but if the tyre has worn out prematurely the cause would be non-alignment of wheels. This in turn will indicate that the car in the past might have been in a shunt. Areas that need to be checked thoroughly are the differential at the back and the front suspensions and if it bears any sign of damage that can be attributed to a crash. If possible by any case mount the car on a ramp to check for underbody damages or signs of it. Check the mounting of the radiator and the upper side panel for any signs of a frontal assault on the car. Also have an eye for the broken or uneven sealant lines under the hood for any sign of a crash. Versa has a chronic rusting problem, and as our cardinal rule goes we need to stay away from such cars. The rusting can also be attributed to a bad past-accidental repair job. Try to go on a test drive on an open stretch and brake real hard. The car is expected to brake in a straight line, without tilting to either side. The brake linings and the brakes would last normally for 30,000 km after which they will call for attention with a squeaking voice. The interiors of the Versa, after a few years of use, looks scruffy, but that is not as big an issue a simple shampoo wash can make things alright. The gear lever and the steering wheel too turn shiny after constant use. The Versa was launched with three different models, DX1 with a single air-conditioner, DX2 which had two compressors, found only on vehicles with high prices, and the SDX, sporting alloy wheels, with sides pasted with graphics and a roof spoiler. The air-conditioners are a pain-free unit and needs attention around 35,000 km. Other areas that call for inspection are the wheel bearings, tie rod balls and the steering boot which need attention at almost the same mileage due to the universal wear and tear phenomenon.
Higher content of Japanese components render the cost of spare for the Maruti Suzuki Versa on the higher side. This could be a real pain, it’s always preferable t o be safe than be sorry, so buy a Versa which is in good shape. Generally a Maruti Suzuki Versa is an easy to drive and park car, especially in the town due to its higher seating position and great maneuvering controls. The greatest gift of Versa is that it can comfortably seat 8 people, and is tagged along with the trusted and reliable Maruti Suzuki’s service backup. One great place to find a pre-owned Versa is the True Value Mart of Maruti. As is the norm, the car will be priced a bit on the higher side, but will sport a six month warranty sticker (read peace of mind) for drive train components and engine. If you really look at it, it is a not a bad deal at all. The used Maruti Suzuki Versa price from the 2005 batch would be Rs 1.4 Lakhs whereas an older model would go anywhere between Rs 1 to 1.20 Lakhs.
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