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The Wagon R is a vital cog in the Maruti wheel. It?s a car that contributes close to 14% of Maruti?s annual sales, and has been a consistent performer (averaging a monthly 10,000 cars) on the sales charts. The car looks bigger and I must say, much better than the older version. The headlamps are larger, while the tinge of blue (on the parking lamps) is a deft touch. The front grill with a chrome strip, much like the Estilo, coupled with bigger bumpers & the wide air intake give the car a grown up look. The Estilo & A-Star?s BS-IV compliant K series engine finds its way into the new WagonR. This 998cc 3-cylinder petrol is rated @ 67 BHP (6,200 rpm) and 90 NM of torque (3,500 rpm). The new WagonR is heavier by 35 kilos, has marginally more horsepower & torque, and one cylinder less. Start the car and it?s glaringly evident that there is a 3 cylinder engine under the hood. NVH levels are definitely higher than its petrol competition (Santro, Beat etc.). I drove the WagonR on the Delhi Expressway (NH8), and the inside roads of Gurgaon. Throttle response isn?t immediate at low rpms, affecting city driveability. The 1st & 2nd gear ratios are relatively short, yet you will make frequent use of the gearbox in bumper-to-bumper traffic. You need to be generous with the accelerator pedal, and once the rpm needle climbs, the engine feels rather revv-happy. It is a free-revving unit and a joy to work, especially on the open road in 3rd & 4th gears. Mid-range is very punchy by segment standards. Acceleration in the 5th gear till about 100 kph is smooth, after which progress is slow. The engine gets noisy at higher rpms (over 4,500), and the vibrations are indeed carried into the cabin. The ARAI fuel efficiency rating is 18.9 kpl, which is amongst the best in its segment (Beat = 18.6, Santro = 16.8, A-Star a topper at 19.6). ARAI had rated the older WagonR at 17 kpl; the new version is expected to be 10% more fuel efficient (thanks in no small measure to the 3 cylinder layout). The old WagonR was plagued by its rubbery gear shifts. I slotted the new car into first gear, and was pleasantly surprised with the precise shifting. Moved into second and I was sure that gear shifting is one of the biggest improvements in the car. Not as short as, say a Swift, yet very precise shift quality. The clutch feels light and has just the right amount of play. Ride quality is much improved in the new WagonR, with the suspension staying sufficiently compliant within the city. It?s distinctly better than in my Swift, or the bumpy earlier generation. The steering reminds me a lot of the NHC. It?s super-light and makes the car easily maneuverable within the city. At speed though, and expectedly, the feedback is inexistent & the feel lifeless. There is significant body roll when you throw it into corners. You are advised to keep the vehicle?s tall dimensions in mind and adopt a demure driving style. In spite of the increased length, the turning radius has been kept constant at 4.6 meters. The brake pedal feels a tad spongy. I tried hard braking a couple of times, and the wheels did not lock (ABS is well calibrated). However, there is no denying the fact that the WagonR remains under-tyred. The overall package is attractive, and will appeal to those who wish to buy a city car with their head, and not the heart

On: Jan 04, 2017 | 29 Views
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