Recently launched Maruti Suzuki A-star was on display in front of our office and I spent few minutes enjoying a test drive. This post is a quick review of this car, based on few minutes I spent looking and driving this car.
The earlier concept diagrams of this car were impressive, but the real life version has quite simplistic looks and appears more of a mix of different Maruti models. From front it looks like and mix of Fiat 500/Hyundai i10, from rear it looks similar to Alto and from side it looks like Swift. The 5 spoke alloy wheels and Sun roof you see in all promo pictures and brochures are probably additional fittings-alloy wheel and Sun roof are not even an option, even in top end Zxi. Because of this “borrowed from other models” look I am not impressed with the same. If it turns heads while you drive that will be temporary and solely because this is a new model on the streets. Score: 6/10
Doesn’t look as spacious as WagonR and Santro. Of course it is a hatchback and there’re space constraints, but I doubt if a large suitcase will fit comfortably in the rear. The luggage door is small in size and not full sized as in Santro/WagonR/Indica. Just like Swift provision for number plate is moved down into the rear bumper and length of the tail door is reduced. This means you’ll have to lift your suitcase few inches higher before dropping it in its place. I suggest check on this aspect thoroughly to ensure that you don’t feel the discomfort later. Score: 4/10
No audio controls on steering wheels. Other features are Ok- power window controls, internally adjustable external rear view mirrors, ABS with break assist etc are ok. iCATs immobilizer is standard in all variants. No wiper for rear windshield- Only defogger. Remaining features are at par with regular Lxi, Vxi variants of other models Score: 7.5/10
Engine: A-Star boasts an all new engine, called the KB series, 3 cylinder DOHC and MPFI and may probably take Hyundai’s Kappa series head on. Its reliability will be known only in the long run and it is little early to comment on that. If A-star does well, Maruti may introduce this engine in other models in future.
Fuel Economy: A-star mileage is much hyped at 19.6 kmpl on highway and 17 kmpl+ in city. I’ve not verified this, hence no comments. Check for some auto magazines to review and publish results
Price: On road, Chennai, in lakhs: A-Star Lxi- 3.82, Vxi-4.07, Zxi-4.47. (Refer image for price comparison of A-star with Wagon R and Swift variants- On Road Chennai) Price looks Ok (given the model is new, mileage claims and a 'believed to be great' new series engine, but with all other car makers offering year end discounts and offers certainly A-Star is not a bargain or a steal at this price.
Availability: This is what Maruti representatives told me: “Sir if you order fast moving colours it will be delivered within a week or two, else it may take a few months”. "A-star's waiting period will be much lesser than that of Swift and Swift Dzire" he assured me. It is available in total 9 colours and Paradise Blue, Silky Silver, Bright Red, Arctic White and Midnight black are the usually fast moving ones. (Desert Brown, Azure grey, Sunlight Copper and Healing Green are the other shades on offer, as per brochure.
BUY it if you: want to zip around in an hitherto unseen model, are impressed with the mileage claims, prefer a maruti because of service network, don’t mind few weeks to few months of waiting
DON’T BUY if you: prefer space, plan occasional cruising on highways, are tight on budget and can manage with Santro/Alto which are 50k to 1 lakh cheaper than A-star
Disclaimer: Personal opinion and observations only. Prices, features and availability are subject to change without prior notice w.r.t city, time, dealer etc. All information as available with the author at the time of composing this post. Please check with your nearest Maruti dealer for latest info. Concept car photo sourced from internet. All other photos by author.
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