Tips on buying a used Maruti Zen Estilo in India

Recently on a trip to Kerala, as is the case, I met up with my relatives and some people who I thought didn’t even exist. However there was one person who was the most interesting one that I met on the trip and that happened to be my cousin sister’s husband. The reason was because he was a used cars dealer and cars and me go hand in hand. During the 11 days trip that I was there, I went around to Chennai to pickup a used Honda City Vtec and came back driving it to Kerala. The deal that we clinched the 2002 Honda City was Rs 2.25 lakhs. My God! I was surprised to see that used Honda City cars still sell for a handsome amount. Anyways, the point is not about used Honda City but as the title suggests, it is about buying a used Maruti Zen Estilo car. The BIL (brother in law) in question happened to have a distant relative of his who was interested in selling off his 3 year old Maruti Zen Estilo. That’s when I got thinking that we haven’t checked out the tips on buying a second hand Maruti Zen Estilo on our blog. Good that my BIL was there with me while we went to inspect the second hand Estilo and here are some of the valuable tips that he gave me which should be kept in heed while checking out a used Estilo.

First and foremost the form. The older Zen model was actually touted as an upgrade from the M800, however, as is the norm in India, both the cars used to sell alongside each other. While the Maruti Zen was a success during its hey days, competition and that too much modern one saw its sales sliding down, which eventually forced Maruti to bring in a new Zen, which is basically the MR Wagon from Japan. 4 long years and the Estilo already finds a new tinkering to it. However the Estilo that I had checked out was 3 years sold, brought in 2008. The head lamp units were working fine however it seems that the owner is a careless freak and hence the right side head lamp had probably brushed against a wall. So, do watch out for the head lamps. The newer lot of Zen cars didn’t have a problem of their head lamp glass blacking out and hence no check needs to be done on this count. The bumpers however need a deep scan since the Estilo bumpers are budget ones and hence chances of them coming out are more. The example that I saw had the same problem. Replacing bumpers is a costly affair. Approximately Rs 5k for the front one and Rs 5.5 k for the rear one. Estilos came with body colored bumpers and hence the price for replacing one shoots up. As for the tyres, they need replacement post the 20k mark. The one that I had reviewed had its front left tyre all bald. The car had overall completed 42k kilometers. The other three tyres were running on their last thread. The stepney looked new though. This brings to light another thing. That the wheels may never have been rotated. Alignment was also a major issue with the car  moving towards left while on the move.

The tail lamps aren’t too costly and thankfully enough, the one that I was checking out, had not as much as a scratch on it. The exhaust tip is prone to rusting but its not a major thing and even a well maintained one would carry the same problem. If the second hand Maruti Estilo that you are looking to buy, has this problem, then it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Changing tail pipes in a Maruti Zen Estilo isn’t a normal thing since this car wasn’t billed as a sporty one like the older Zen. A paint job costs Rs 7k and the model that I was inspecting badly needed one since the door alignment didn’t seem right and the owner was truthful enough to admit that he indeed had dinged the car once. The paint job, at that time, was done at a local garage. Cut to the interiors of the car and there is literally not a thing to fault. The older Zen, hmmm, used to look old from the onset however this 3 year old model was still factory fresh from the inside. An integrated music system is an OEM whereas the interiors are beige. The switches however feel fragile and don’t operate with a meaty feel. Some of the indicator stalks have been reported to be broken, earlier on in the Zen Estilo’s life. Do check this in the Estilo that you are looking to buy. The interiors are spacious and is more in the ballpark of the bigger Wagon R. The upholstery is the usual Maruti fare, which is easy to clean and also doesn’t get soiled easily. Boot space is not much but can hold two suitcases easily. The boot lining however tends to rust and car owners who opted for rust treatment would be a happy lot.

As for the engine, it is the 1.1 liter one which was there in the old Wagon R. The engine was codenamed F10D and it’s a reliable unit. A engine of second hand Maruti Zen Estilo doesn’t need much looking into, if the regular servicing has been done. A quick look into the service books would confirm this. Thankfully enough, the model that I was looking, had gone through its routine servicing schedules. However some owners had reported an overheating problem. This was attributed to the oil cap gone kaput. Do check if this has been replaced. On the test drive, like discussed before, check if the car goes to the left on a straight road. If yes, then the wheel alignment is out of order. Its not an expensive thing and the wheel alignment can be done by spending Rs 500. The electronic power steering had some issues with earlier owners reporting that it used to fail unexpectedly. If the steering requires more effort to turn than what is usually required, then it means that the steering fluid needs to be replaced (not a costly thing, but definitely time consuming one). The gear shift feels a bit hard but that is natural however if it is overtly hard, then the gear bushings would have to be replaced. Like all Maruti products, the clutch should be a light affair. Clutch plates need looking into post the 50 k mark and if the car you are looking at, has been roughly driven, then chances are that the clutch life would have ended before the 50 k kms mark. Axle noise is another thing which presents itself Visibility all around is good thanks to the tall boy design adopted by Maruti.

A well maintained second hand Maruti Estilo can best be found in Maruti True Value outlets, however, they do command a higher price than other dealers. The 2008 used Maruti Zen Estilo price that we quoted was Rs 1.65 lakhs considering that there were a lot of repairs to be done in it. Slightly good examples would cost around Rs 2.25 lakhs. Value for money considering that new examples at that time would cost Rs 3.80 lakhs (on-road for the VXI variant). Maruti used to offer air bags and ABS as option in the VXI variant. However, as of now, for the new models named as just Estilo, the engine is the new K series one with a better gearshift as well. As for the car, we (me and my BIL) eventually ended up telling the man that we cant give him his quoted price of Rs 2.2 lakhs.

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