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Maruti Eeco: Good At Doing What It Does Best

Published On Jun 19, 2023 By Rohit for Maruti Eeco

The Eeco has been a workhorse for Maruti ever since it was introduced in 2010, replacing the beloved Omni and Versa. Now, after 13 years in service, is it still worth all the talk?

Maruti Eeco

When one thinks of purpose-driven vehicles, there are only a few that manage to stand out from the crowd. Among the countable models, it’s the Maruti Eeco which is a popular pick both as a private and a commercial vehicle, usually ranking in the top 10 best-selling cars list every month.

Maruti brought out the basic people mover, which went on to cater a wide set of customers, back in 2010 as a spiritual successor to the Versa. Now, after 13 years in service, with countable mild updates, is it still good at doing what it does the best? We decided to find out.

As Simple As It Gets

Maruti Eeco front

Like we said before, the Eeco has completed 13 years of existence in our markets but it still doesn’t look too outdated. Sure, it isn’t the most attractive car on the block but let’s get it straight: it was never trying to flatter anyone with its looks. In fact, a few sections of buyers out there prefer it for its old-school charm, something that’s not what every new car sets out to impress with. 

Maruti Eeco headlights

Maruti has chosen to stick to just the bare essentials for the Eeco, which is kind of obvious given its price proposition. This includes a pair of wipers and simple halogen headlights. That’s it, that’s all there is to its front profile, with a small-ish grille and blacked-out bumper. There’s no inclusion of chrome whatsoever and no set of fog lamps either. With the engine mounted under the front passenger seats, the bonnet seems almost as upright as it can be.

Maruti Eeco side
Maruti Eeco sliding doors

Upon moving to its sides, you notice the typical van-MPV-like look of the Eeco, thanks to the tall stance and proper three-part distinction with big window panels. Once again the Eeco’s humbleness is reflected in its black door handles, 13-inch steel wheels and key-opening fuel lid. With carmakers today choosing to offer electrically sliding rear doors on modern and more premium MPVs, manually sliding the Eeco’s rear doors feels like using the traditional elevators we have in older residential or commercial buildings (requiring somewhat the same kind of effort).

Maruti Eeco rear

It’s pretty much a similar story at the back of the Eeco too, where simplicity has been prioritised over over-the-top styling. Its rear is dominated by the huge window, followed by the “Eeco” badge, slim, upright taillights and a chunky black bumper.

Humble On The Inside Too

Maruti Eeco cabin

The Eeco, ever since its introduction in 2010, has stuck to a basic dual-tone themed cabin and dashboard layout with just the essentials. Yes, it has been given a couple of updates to keep things fresh inside the cabin as well, but nothing that would feel extraordinarily revamped. The previously offered 2-spoke steering wheel and analogue instrument cluster (reminiscent of that of the older Alto) have been replaced with a new 3-spoke unit and a digitised display, similar to that on the Wagon R and S-Presso, respectively.

Maruti Eeco AC controls

Even the passenger side of the dashboard now has a closed off upper compartment housing the co-driver airbag instead of the open storage area while the AC controls are now bigger, with rotary units in place of slidable controls.

Front Seats

Maruti Eeco front seats

Thanks to the Eeco’s tall stance and the big front windshield, the view out is commendable and won’t cause any kind of inconvenience while driving it around the city. With the engine being positioned under the front seats, they are placed higher up than usual, which helps in easily finding the apt driver position. This translates to having a larger field of view while inducing the confidence that new drivers might be in search of. That said, the seats can only be reclined, only the driver seat can slide forward and neither of the two gets any adjustment for the height.

Maruti Eeco cubby space
Maruti Eeco cubby space

In case you were wondering where to stow your knick knacks, there isn’t much on offer here in Maruti’s entry-level people mover. All you have is a couple of cubby holes in the lower half of the dashboard, which can fit in a decent-sized smartphone and smaller items like receipts, currency, keys, etc. There is a small bottle holder tucked away in the rear centre console, but that too is rather flimsy. Maruti has provided the MPV with a 12V socket in the centre console, which is the only charging port you get in the entire car.

Rear Seats

Maruti Eeco rear seats
Maruti Eeco rear seat space

We had the 5-seater Eeco with us so we couldn’t sample how the third row is for passengers. But our experience with the second row instils the confidence that it should do just fine for the extra pair of occupants. Speaking about the second row, we did have three medium-sized adults sit here without experiencing any shortage of headroom or shoulder room. Thanks to the absence of the transmission tunnel, the middle passenger has enough room to stretch their legs, though it sadly doesn’t get a headrest. 

Unfortunately, none of the four headrests provided in the Eeco get height adjustment. While the rear passengers don’t get any sort of practical or convenience features, they do have wide windows to enjoy the outside world and kill time while on longer journeys. There’s no bottle holder or door pockets for both the front and rear occupants.

Boot Space In Plenty

Maruti Eeco boot space
Maruti Eeco boot space

With the third row being given a miss for the 5-seater version, there’s more than enough cargo space to move houses. With our testing luggage set at our disposal, we could put all the three travel suitcases along with the two duffle bags, and still had room for a few more softbags. Its boot space, though, is truly appreciated by everyone who has bought it for commercial purposes like ambulances or as a goods carrier. Mind you, if you pick the CNG version of the Eeco, there will be a tank in the boot with only the 5-seat model, eating up some of the luggage space. But since the CNG tank is put in a cage, you can put some light-weighted objects on it.

Equipment On Board…Or Not?

With snazzy technology including multiple displays becoming a sort of mandate in all new cars today, the Eeco is a sweet throwback to cars from the early 2000s and 1990s (a walk down the memory lane for myself, being an ex-Maruti 800 owner).

Maruti Eeco manual locking

Speaking of the equipment on board the Eeco is like counting numbers on your fingers because that’s literally how much it gets. This includes a manual AC with heater, a simple IRVM (inside rearview mirror), cabin lamps, and sun visors. It’s worth mentioning that the Eeco’s AC unit is quite powerful, as we got to sample it in summer and it successfully passed the test. However, we feel with the Eeco’s starting price now nearly touching the Rs 5-lakh mark (ex-showroom), Maruti should have at least given it a power steering and central locking to bring it a little up to date.

It’s only when you think of why Maruti decided to make an Eeco in the first place that you truly understand its spartan nature. A majority of its buyers aren’t looking for hi-tech wizardry or cool screens to play with but to get their job done in what can essentially take their entire family and/or cargo along in a comfortable manner.

Just The Mandated Safety Stuff

Maruti Eeco driver-side airbag

Again, there’s nothing hi-tech in this department either, though Maruti has managed to cover it with just the right kind of basics. The Eeco comes with dual front airbags, seatbelts for all passengers (including a lap belt for the second row middle occupant), ABS with EBD and rear parking sensors. Back in 2016, Global NCAP had crash-tested the Eeco with no airbags, wherein it failed to score even a single star. 

Tried And Tested Formula

Maruti Eeco engine

Maruti has carried on with the same 1.2-litre petrol engine for the Eeco, the same unit which has been on offer since its market introduction, while updating it a few times to match the revised emission norms. With the current BS6 phase-2 update, Maruti’s people mover produces 81PS/104.4Nm in petrol guise, and 72PS/95Nm in CNG mode.

Maruti Eeco

We had the petrol-only model with us for the test, which we feel makes the Eeco an easy-to-drive car and even a newbie will not take much time to get used to it. The MPV has a short-throw first gear to pick up heavy load easily. The engine refinement level is impressive, and this is important given the placement of the engine: under the driver and passenger seats. However, the lack of power steering could turn out to be a bit bothersome during U-turns or parking. The Eeco’s clutch is light and the gear slots in well into any of the five ratios.

Maruti Eeco

Take the Eeco out on a straight patch of road, and even then it feels composed up to triple-digit speeds. It’s only upon closing onto the 100kmph mark that you feel the vibrations from the engine, making you plan the overtakes in advance.

Not As Comfortable As You Would Think

Maruti Eeco

Since the Eeco’ primary motive is to haul weight and load, the suspension setup is a bit stiff. Drive long and you feel that it should have been a bit more compliant on Indian roads. However, it does soften up with more weight or people that you add. And then, while it still feels firm, it manages to absorb the road imperfections well.

Signing Things Off

Let’s get one thing straight: the Eeco isn’t made for every kind of buyer out there. Maruti picked a niche segment, with a major focus on commercial and utility purposes, and built a vehicle around it. And in that sense, the Eeco is a well-made car. But the moment you look at it from an allrounder point of view, it has its fair share of misses.

Maruti Eeco

Having understood its category of buyers, it has just about the enough stuff that they would be in need of for their daily commutes, which includes a large boot and the ability to carry many people or loads of luggage or cargo while offering a good ride quality. So it doesn’t need the touchscreens or gadgets and creature comforts of the cars from today, though it still packs the absolute essentials.

That said, we did feel Maruti should have upped its game a bit when it comes to giving the Eeco a little softer suspension along with equipping it with must-have features like power steering and central locking to further ease the driver’s duties. But all said and done, the basic people mover is indeed good at doing what it does the best and that’s moving people or cargo from its pickup point to the destination.

Maruti Eeco

Variants*Ex-Showroom Price New Delhi
7 Seater STD (Petrol)Rs.5.61 Lakh*
5 Seater AC (Petrol)Rs.5.68 Lakh*
5 Seater STD (Petrol)Rs.5.32 Lakh*
5 Seater AC CNG (CNG)Rs.6.58 Lakh*

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