Maruti Suzuki arguably has the most loyal customer base in the country with its vehicles being the preferable first choice for millions. Though technically advanced and performance wise developed vehicles are booming in the market, the reliability and the no nonsense operating principles of Maruti really attracted Indian customers. Claiming its best service station density in the country, Maruti Suzuki also opened its TrueValue stores for customers, who prefer an economical used vehicle, which can be sold as brand new. With ever increasing market dynamics and customer demographics, Maruti Suzuki rose to be the indisputable manufacturing mogul of the nation. With a history and record of being one of the oldest vehicle on Indian automobile scene, Maruti 800 holds this rare distinction. It is not just a veteran vehicle, but it is probably one of the few cars in the entire world, which was sold over years with the least amount of tweaks to its design. The 796cc engine, which was the reason the name became Maruti 800, still remains intact in the last model the company manufactured. Being the most successful automobile in the country with millions of Maruti 800s sold over the years, the title was later crowned to another product from the same manufacturing mogul Maruti Alto in 2004. The time when Indian roads were ruled by the heavy Ambassadors and the Fiat models with a few elite venturing into Mercedes Benz or BMW, it was a breath of fresh air to have an Indian car manufacturer launch a car, which speaks to the customers with its simple design and no nonsense details. It was not designed to be an aerodynamic epitome or a technological marvel fitting the race car picture. It was designed purely to satisfy the needs of regular Indian commuters to have a comfortable ride with best available facilities and a decent performance. The vehicle was also fresh due to its varied color options, which offered bright and abstract colors such as bright red, black, white and oceanic blue, navy blue and a myriad of options over the years have been added. The design of the vehicle itself deserves a praise. It does not seem flamboyant, it does not seem inadequate. It has the perfect proportion of seating space, the size of the vehicle and an equally decent ground clearance, which helped it maneuver through the then uneven country locales of the nation. Maruti 800 was a very successful vehicle not just on Indian roads but in the international market too, especially in South Asia. Maruti 800 was successfully exported to Nepal, Bangladesh and even Chile. A modified version was later made available in Pakistan under the name Suzuki Mehran. While Ambassador seemed too official and huge for Indian market, Fiat too appealed to be an elite commuter. But Maruti 800 successfully created a mid range vehicle, which was not exactly a trashed out version of automobile excellence at the same time was not the ultimate luxury or powerful vehicle. But it had something distinct, designed for the people the vehicle earned itself the title of being a people’s car. The name suits its stature as there could hardly be a case where one did not see a Maruti 800 in the country. They may not know the name, but everyone sure can relate to the little marvel. Despite its largely successful stint on Indian roads and a trusted commuter even to the present generation, Maruti 800 had to be shelved eventually following the standardization of BS-IV for automobiles which unfortunately it is not complaint of.
Though this would not make much difference to the company’s existence as a whole, it sure marks the end of an iconic vehicle, which brought smiles to the Indian customers for decades. However, the company halted the production of Maruti 800 from April 2012 and is now focusing its technical development with Alto, which honestly is just a modified version of Maruti 800. It was even launched with the same 796cc engine. But still, getting your hands on Maruti 800 might be relatively easy right now considering the number of vehicles with dealers, who are preparing to sell them as the Maruti company no longer manufactures them. Also, the TrueValue stores might be a good place to try to grab the remaining models. Though the model is stopped and relatively old, it performs quite well despite its lack of power steering and ABS and other modern amenities. Old or not it is still a pleasure to watch a Maruti 800 stroll across the streets because it does not just show its miles, it chronicled a private history of every individual at some point or the other.
The exteriors of the the Maruti 800 offer a fresh feel not just during the time it was launched but also suits the contemporary design parameters. It is a simple design without much addition or focus on additional features and it solely concentrates on doing what a car does best. The front build of the Maruti 800 does not offer you anything fancy but yet makes its own style statement. The front fascia features a headlamp cluster, a large grille and indicators. The front grille features a rigid structure, which offers a basic design and a visual texture that communicates well about the vehicles statement. The front is also devoid of any major bumps or curves and more or less follows a rigid structure. The edges are slightly blended in each other. The front bonnet extends almost along most of the front fascia, since it was an old design the main concern back then remained in the simplicity and the minimal elements involved in the design. The grille features the Suzuki symbol. The front bumper has indicator lamps and a number plate location in between them. The air intake is facilitated under the front grill and the bumper is not offered in a black matte finish. The side profile features a basic car design which has been probably the most dependable hatchback over the years. The outline of the side profile follows something like a simple straight line on the roof, a steep structure near the windshield, a further steepened design near the bonnet and an almost straight line defining the front grille and bumper zone. The side features minor detailing on the doors with the handles too featuring a basic design. They do not have any luxurious appeal to them, but back when they were launched they were the next generation thing for the Indian automobile customers, who were used to chrome handles, which popped out in the Ambassadors and fiats. The simple door knob and other such minimal features where Maruti concentrated actually helped the car in not just reducing its width and offering a better interactive design, but also provided a new statement for the cars in India. The side wheels are prominent as they have a visible gap between the wheel arches, but this is for the suspension offered. To reduce the impact on vehicle during drives and to improve the comfort offered to the passengers in the seat, the 12 inch wheels have a powerful shock absorbers which too were nothing less than a technical marvel to the customers when it was launched. The side windows more or less offer the similar straight line structure rather than the curvy design which future vehicles such as the Maruti Alto and Maruti Zen had been known for.
The exteriors of the Maruti 800 have a similar design measurements in all the variants. The overall length of a typical Maruti 800 extends to a 3335mm that was way smaller than its contemporaries, which meant it can maneuver through the streets with much ease. The tiny streets in India and the not well developed transportation terrains back then actually acted in favor of Maruti 800, which offered such fresh appealing features. The overall width of Maruti 800 was 1440mm, thanks to the foldable rear view mirrors and the embedded door knobs. The 1405mm height of the vehicle was much less compared to present SUVs obviously but considering the average height of Indian passengers, this does not seem a problem.
Interiors of Maruti 800 deserve a mention as they were way ahead of their time in terms of comfort. Ambassador offered a bench like structure with big space in front as well as rear, but what Maruti scores in is the blend simplicity, luxury and exquisite appeal. The stylish car since its inception had all the traits of a perfect vehicle back in old days. The better interiors are evident in the simple air conditioning system which had minimal options instead of a cluster of them thereby confusing the passengers. The air conditioning was the only prime interior gadget. The dash offered a place to include music system and had a inbuilt rack in the dash and a lockable dash under it. The ash tray and other usual features were however included. The interior seats were adjustable which meant long drives need not be a comfort spoiler for the passengers and especially the drivers. These simple advancement in the design helped Maruti 800 score the stylish luxury car stature and the public title of ‘India’s first people’s car’. The rear seats offered a decent legroom and headroom. The kerb weight of the Maruti 800 is 683 kgs, while the gross weight is about 1000 kgs. The seating capacity of four perfectly does its job and it can be transformed into a five seater easily in case of average passengers. With a fuel tank capacity of 28 litres, Maruti 800 offered comfortable long journeys.
Interiors of Maruti 800 were comfortable for an average family. The air conditioning system does not facilitate rear passenger AC vents but that does not really matter as the system cools pretty quick. The air conditioning does wear away the engine power but it is again acceptable considering the enormous power produced. With a decent knee room and a spacious headroom, the vehicle is apt for average families. The headroom might raise a comfort issue for passengers with height more than six feet, but it definitely would not be a trouble, if anything the comfort levels might be compromised partially.
The external length of 3335mm and the with of 1440mm gives an idea about the comfort the four passengers can have. The front track has a size of 1215mm and the rear track measures to 1200mm.
Acceleration & Pick-Up
Maruti 800 has a four speed transmission with all synchromesh. The rack and pinion steering offers a decent maneuvering control. The top speed offered by the Maruti 800 is 144 kmph and the pick up is also a decent 21 seconds to go from 0 to 100 kmph.
Engine and Performance
With a 0.8-litre, SOHC based engine, Maruti 800 offers a capacity, which is much lauded over the years that Maruti decided to use it in its Alto as well. By the then standards, the massive 37bhp produced by the engine at 5000rpm seems wonderful taken the fact that the vehicle has a smaller structure, which helps it maneuver with ease. The maximum torque of 59Nm at even the low revolution speed of 2500rpm offers a glimpse at the amazing power of the system. The Multi-point fuel injection engine which has a four speed standard gearbox, delivers an amazing performance. The performance really gets more edgy in the city roads where the minimalist design and size of the Maruti 800 helps it deliver a superior power. The turning radius is interestingly just 4.4 meters, which means that city cruising can be far easier than its contemporaries could have offered.
Maruti 800 was known as the true Maruti because of the values it instilled in its design. The vehicle’s simple design enables it to offer a decent mileage as the body weight or excessive detailing are kept to bare minimum. The Maruti 800 features a city mileage of 13.1 Kmpl and on the highways the numbers go as high as 16.1 Kmpl.
Power of Maruti 800
Maruti 800 has an enormous power for an 796cc engine, but that is probably what kept it going over the years. The basic version of Maruti 800 features a SOHC engine that has three cylinders. The engine displaces 37bhp at 5000rpm. The maximum torque of the Maruti 800 is an adequate 59Nm at 2500rpm. The MPFI 32-bit electronic control module (ECM) features an advanced design of machinery.
Stereo & Accessories
Maruti 800 features an AC unit, which by far would be the only accessory the vehicle comes with. However provision to include stereo is available, which means the passengers can fit a stereo system of their choice.
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Braking & Handling
Maruti 800 offers McPherson strut in the front suspension along with coil spring. The rear however features a coil spring with gas filled shock absorbers. The front wheels have disc brakes while drum brakes are fitted in the rear wheels.
Safety & Security
Over the years Maruti definitely reached new levels of safety though the present standards of ABS or airbags are not yet included. The intelligent computerized anti theft system helps the vehicle in avoiding being stolen. The side impact beams can withstand most of the collision impacts. The windshield is laminated, hence any collision and successive windshield breakage does not actually effect the passengers as the pieces would not readily scatter. The seat belts are included as a mandatory precaution.
Maruti 800 offers 12 inch wheels with the radial tyres of size 145/70 R12. The wheel size is 12 x 4J and since the design was made long before present technical prowess and at a time when automobile industry was relatively booming in the country, Maruti 800 does not have any alloy wheels.
Value for money, iconic car, simple design
Interior can be better, model production stopped.
Maruti 800 price