Maruti Suzuki Wagon-R 2019 First Drive Review: Bigger and Better
Camera person: S Aadeetya
Video editor: Rahul Sanpui
The new Maruti Suzuki Wagon-R is based on a completely new platform. What you've seen with the Dzire and Swift in 2018, the Heartect platform, is the base for the Wagon-R as well. Which is why you get a longer wheelbase and it's a bit taller. You don't immediately notice it, but it does make a difference. Overall the space has increased as well.
To create a floating roof effect, Maruti has added a black plastic applique on the C-pillar. And for a hatchback that now starts at Rs 4.19 lakh going up to Rs 5.69 lakh (ex-showroom), can the Wagon R bring back its rivalry with the Santro?
Design-wise, the car retains its tall boy structure with enhanced tweaks incorporated to meet the change in its overall dimensions.
With a boot space of 341 litres, the car is significantly more spacious than its rivals. Just to prove the point I managed to put myself into the boot without any discomfort. Not bad, Maruti.
Maruti is offering the Wagon-R in 1-litre and 1.2-litre engine options now. You can choose between a manual variant or an AMT/AGS option as well. The gearbox is still a 5-speed, but the shift lever’s position has been changed a bit, to aid better ergonomics while driving.
The tail lamps also seem to have been inspired by the ones we've seen on Volvo cars over the years. The interior of the new Wagon-R gets a big improvement.
You're greeted by a dual-tone black and beige layout on the dashboard. Even the plush upholstery of the seating makes you feel a lot more comfortable. And the whole premium factor that Maruti talks about with this car is clearly visible.
For the first time, Maruti has offered the Wagon-R with a 7-inch infotainment screen which supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. With new safety standards kicking in, the hatchback gets ABS, EBD and single airbags as standard, but only the top variant (ZXi) gets dual airbags on the front.
The reverse parking sensor is also there but strangely, even with its 7-inch screen, the top variant misses out on a reverse camera.
Apart from that, you get improved suspension settings, which only becomes noticeable once you start driving the car.
How Does it Drive?
We got a chance to drive both the variants (manual and automatic), but only restricted to the top trims. When it comes to the AGS model, the gearbox takes its own time to switch from the first to second gear and manages to get into fifth at 60 km/hr.
For those who’re looking at an affordable hatchback with automatic gear shifting to drive in busy traffic conditions, this could be ideal, especially with the stop-start nature of driving.
The manual gearbox, with the lever shifted to suit the driver’s position, turns out to be the spunkier of the two.
You get better response and life out of the 1.2-litre engine, and even though the NVH levels aren’t properly insulated (you can hear the grunt inside), there’s very little to complain about its effectiveness on the road.
If we’re to nitpick on the stuff missing from the car, then it has to be some basic ones. Like, not having rear speakers (even on the top variant) is puzzling.
Even with the increase in its size, the new Wagon-R runs on the same set of 13-inch and 14-inch wheel options, with the only way to choose alloys is by paying extra for them at a dealership. Compared to the new Santro, Maruti hasn’t felt the need to offer rear AC vents, which might not be a deal breaker, but worth highlighting nevertheless.
The car does let you adjust the height of the steering, but you can’t adjust the seat height, depending on who’s driving. And finally, we didn’t hear anything about the CNG variant from the company. Probably it’ll be launched once the initial lot of consumers have taken delivery of their cars. Maruti wants to restrict the car to private buyers first before the commercial cab segment.