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Maruti 800: Then - Now - Forever

Modified On Jul 24, 2015 01:08 PM By Nabeel

I still remember the time when i was about 8 years old and used to visit my grandparents. I used to be so excited, not only to meet them but because it was the time of the year when i got to sit in their car - The Maruti 800.

Growing up, the word car could only mean 3 things, The Hindustan Ambassador, Fiat Premier Padmini or the Maruti 800. And lets be honest, we all wanted ours to mean the 800. It is a car which has literally carried us when we were infants and is still carrying us when we have grown a generation older. It has outlived many of its owners and is still running with the new generation.

Over a period of 30 years, 2.87 million cars were produced in India out of which 2.66 million were sold inside the country. Rest were exported to South Asia mainly in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Maruti 800 was also sold as Suzuki Maruti in Morocco and selected European markets.

Maruti 800 was first introduced in India in the year 1983 when on 14th Dec during a grand ceremony, Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi handed over the keys of India’s first Maruti 800 to Mr. Harpal Singh, who won the lucky draw to be India’s first Maruti 800 owner.


The first model SS80 was based on the 1979 Suzuki Fronte which had a 800 cc F8B engine. All the later models were based on the same platform with the only major change coming 3 years later in 1986. The Maruti 800 CB72 had some major and much needed changes from the the original SS80. It then continued selling for 11 long years without any problems and with the maruti network growing, people just kept on buying it. 11 years later came the facelift and another variant with a 5 speed gearbox and a fuel injected engine which produced 45 HP, 8 more than than the old CB72. The last of the Maruti 800’s was the 4 speed, 3 cylinder, 796cc car which had fuel injection to meet the new regulations. After this Maruti decided that they will no longer invest to update the 800 to meet the coming government regulations of Euro IV and then soon phased out the legand.


Maruti has been carrying india on wheels since 1983. it was the perfect new car for India and even now it is the perfect first car. It is light, small, agile, simple and durable. The 800 could withstand all Indian climates, roads and conditions and still keep going. With the prices starting from Rs 2.1 Lac onwards for a new car and going down upto Rs 25,000 for a use one, the Maruti 800 was affordable to buy and run.


1. MARUTI 800 SS80:  

The beginning of the legend in 1983. This car was simple, light and small. The boot was accessible through the rear glass which acted as the lid.

Year 1983 - 1986
Build Monocoque Chassis, Front wheel drive
Engine 3 cylinder, 796cc, carburetted
Power 39 BHP @ 6000 RPM
Torque 59 Nm @ 3500 RPM
Weight 620 Kg
0-100 kmph 21 secs (Approx)
Top Speed 120 kmph
Price When Launched Rs 48,000

2. MARUTI 800 CB72

The first and only major change in the line of the Maruti 800 which continued to sell successfully for 11 years making it the best selling car till 2004 after which it lost its title to the Alto 800.

Year 1986 - 1997
Build Monocoque Chassis, Front wheel drive
Engine 3 cylinder, 796cc, carburetted
Power 39 BHP @ 6000 RPM
Torque 59 Nm @ 3500 RPM
Weight 620 Kg
0-100 kmph 21 secs (Approx)
Top Speed 120 kmph

3. MARUTI 800 5-Speed / MPFI

This car was a limited edition and is very rare. It had a 5-speed manual gearbox which was an update from the old 4-speed and had fuel injection to meet the government norms. This model also featured the new facelift with new bumpers, headlights, tail lights, seats and dashboard graphics.

Year 1997 - 1999
Build Monocoque Chassis, Front wheel drive
Engine 3 cylinder, 796cc, Fuel Injection
Weight 640 Kg
0-100 kmph 22 secs (Approx)
Top Speed 120 kmph
Price When Launched Rs 2.09 Lakhs


This is the latest Facelift in the maruti 800 family. It featured all the later variants including the AC LPG.

Year 1999 - 2008
Build Monocoque Chassis, Front wheel drive
Engine 3 cylinder, 796cc, MPFI
Weight 650 Kg
0-100 kmph 20 secs (Approx)
Top Speed 137 kmph
Price When Launched Rs 2.56 lakhs


This is the last model of the Maruti 800. this is the car maruti finally decided to retire in 2014. It had the same engine and produced 37 BHP. The car was sold for Rs 2.06 - 2.28 lakhs

The Maruti 800 still remains the second highest production car of India after the Hindustan Ambassador. The only car which has had the same kind of customer response is the Alto 800. It stole the title of the best selling car from the Maruti 800 early in 2004 and still remains the best alternative for the legendary MARUTI 800.

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