Any Maruti vehicle in India is bound to generate a huge amount of interest. Not agreeing with us, then you got to check out this link (Maruti Tops Online Auto Search In India, Says Google). The Maruti R3 is one such car which has caught the fancy of Indian car buying public. Not only does the Indian customer have the option of buying such a luxurious car and that too an MPV, but they also have the Maruti brand name behind it. Maruti R&D may be very much interested in taking the laurels behind the entire development of this car, however a closer look and few sniffles here and there would reveal that this car is afterall a product of the coalition that Maruti shares with GM outside India. A quick look at the Opel Minerva would reveal that Maruti have copied the design language from them and also just some badge changes have been done and sort of stuff. There have been various sightings of the Maruti R3 in India by various other forums and website and everything points clearly towards one thing and that is that the Ritz and R3 are similar in their looks.
Truth is that the R3 is built on an extended SX4 platform, so somewhere down the line, the Ritz and R3 are related. Moreover, a monocoque thing would definitely spruce up the driving experience. This MPV would be more like a car to drive given that it has body on frame language. The R3 is the result of Maruti focusing on other segments for its bread and butter thing rather than be a small car manufacturer. The overall stance of this car seems that it would be within the 4 meter mark, thus allowing the company to gain some excise benefits. This wouldn’t be the case as this is a premium MPV and not a built to cost thing. It would be competing against the likes of the Mahindra Xylo as also the Toyota Innova. So, it has got quite a task at hand. It is also said that Maruti’s Eeco couldn’t dent the success of Tata’s Venture and hence this MPV. The positioning of this car is going to be real interesting.
The stance from the rear shows a car which looks similar to both the Ritz as also the Xylo to some extent. Maruti have also done enough in providing a washer wiper for the rear windscreen as well. Nevertheless, it would be available only on the top end model. The front end is reminiscent of the cab forward design which is being practiced by most of the MPVs now, exception being the Tata Venture. As far as the interiors go, they are definitely a class apart and Maruti has used the mix and match of beige very well inside the cabin. Moreover, the steering wheel seems to be an entirely new unit, unlike the one used in the SX4 or other Maruti cars in India. It has also got steering mounted controls and by the look of it, also Bluetooth controls. It’s a slightly big unit and a 3 spoked one at that. The meter dials are though shared with the SX4 and there doesn’t seem to be any provision for the climate control system but only normal AC. The steering wheel should be adjustable for rake, however whether it would be also for reach, needs to be seen. The gear lever, however, has been borrowed from the SX4 and also it can be safely predicted that the latent pin from the SX4 diesel and also the new Swift would make its way here.
About the seating position, the third row is supposedly cramped while the front and middle row seats seem to be just about fine for this class of vehicles. That given, the space behind the third row of seats is not comparable to the other MUVs in its class. This is due to the fact that in a quest to liberate more space from this MPV, Maruti have ended up with little or almost no boot space. That said, the build quality is said to be unlike Maruti and more on the front of Toyota. Whether it matches that or not would remain to be seen once the car is launched.
Being on the same platform as the SX4 means that this car should be able to tackle the twisties and stuff with aplomb. The tyre configuration seems doubtful, however, given that it would probably ride on 15 inchers, the ride quality should be good and the dampers would be more on the stiffer side. Moreover, this would be one of the lightest Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPV) on offer in India. It is rumored that Maruti would initially be offering the diesel variant of this MPV and this means the 1.3 liter Fiat sourced multijet engine would be put to use again. It would definitely produce 90 Bhp since 75 Bhp would be too low to drag a 7 seater car. An all new K series engine would also make its debut on this car. It would be a 2 liter unit. Well, all these things are still being speculated and only the release of the vehicle would tell if it has indeed got a new K series engine or just the old one bumped up for more Bhp. As usual fuel efficiency would be the key word here and Maruti as always would tune this motor for stellar fuel efficiency figures. Performance may not be that great but then in terms of drivability, this car would be at par with competition. The gearbox with its new latent pin would also promise to be a smooth shifting unit unlike the one on the Xylo.
Safety would also be taken care of with the spy pictured revealing that Maruti have got ABS onto their top end models. The number of airbags, as is the norm for MPVs should be two. If the braking feel of the SX4 is anything to go by, then expect this Maruti to have good stoppers in this segment. The Maruti R3 in India is actually not the first attempt by Maruti at cracking the MPV segment, however, they have always targeted the lower strata of the segment and this would be their first chance at cracking the luxury aspect of the MPV segment.
The success of any Maruti product is usually governed by its pricing. The Maruti R3 price in India is estimated to start from Rs 5.5 lakhs and go all the way to Rs 8 lakhs. This vehicle would be showcased at the 2012 Auto Expo Show and thereafter production or launch plans would be revealed. We expect a May 2012 launch for this car and needless to say, the anticipation is beginning to build up.
Image source team-bhp.com