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Old 23rd March 2015, 15:55   #1
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Default Pre-owned Maruti WagonR: 7 years & 65000 kms up

This is the review for my 2008 WagonR, purchased used in Feb2013 and run for 20K KMS till now. Since 2008, Maruti has brought in a few modifications. But the segment type and general experience or satisfaction level with the newer variants still remains the same.

1. Summary of likes and dislikes

- High stance of driving, feels like driving a small SUV, convenient for city drive
- Lot of space above your head gives a roomier feeling
- Engine is fairly powerful and needs less gear shifting
- I put a baby car seat on the rear seat and it is very easy for me to put my daughter in the car seat without having to bend to much
- Mileage and fuel efficiency are excellent as is trademark of Maruti
- VXI tires are wider and safer compared to LX/LXI
- Bonnet is very short, so easy to maneuver in city
- Car is easy to park and drive in narrow congested lanes.
- Damages/repair are easily catered in any garage
- Boot is amazingly wide and deep, bigger than many higher segment cars, including swift
- Has a large number of pockets for utilities.
- In short it is an mini-SUV within 5 lakhs.

- Frequent stop-and-go traffic situation becomes a pain as one has to repeatedly move between Neutral and 1st gears. But then, in this segment, this is expected.
- Gear lever is long and a bit rubbery.
- Exterior shape is a bit odd
- Long drives are pain as pedal position is awkward and tiresome and NVH levels are high at high speeds
- Rear seat is not so comfortable
- AC doesn’t cool the rear benches so well in peak summer

2. Purchasing Journey

My basic requirements were
- Logical upgrade from Alto
- Easy to drive in city
- Reliable and trustworthy beyond imagination
- Not more than 4-5 yrs old

Until mid 2012, I used to drive an Alto or a M800 only. I was quite content with Alto as it was a complete car and for one or 2 people, it gave maximum amount of car per rupee spent.

Then one fine day, when my Alto was in company parking, some lady had parked her WagonR right behind my car, blocking my exit. A security guy went to talk to her , but she gave him the keys to move the car ourselves

I took the keys and proceeded to start the car, to move it and what happened after that was pure "magic". I knew I was in love. The placement of the pedals perfect and was a 'made for each other' for me. I was so much in awe that I don’t even remember when I moved it a few meters ahead. Only thing I remember is that, once I took my car out, I asked for its keys again so that I could spend a few more moments with her.

My family didn’t identify with my newfound penchant for a Waggie. Firstly my wife didn’t like the shape, which I agree can take some time to get used to. Secondly, we didn’t want to spend that kind of money so suddenly. But by Dec 2012, I convinced my family to agree to buy just a used Waggie, so that it doesn’t hurt the pocket and if we don’t like it within 6 months, we will sell it off anyway.

I started by scanning the websites and a few local dealers. I hadn't heard much about TBHP till then but learnt that we should take a trusted mechanic and do an evaluation of the car. I didn’t know any trusted mechanic but went with one from a nearby repair shop. He was probably 16 yr old help, but I thought that something would be better than nothing. We visited a few dealers in Lajpat Nagar and shortlisted a couple of cars.

- Local dealers showed me some Waggies but they were in pathetic condition
- MFC showed a few cars but they were too expensive IMHO
- Finally cartrade showed one my car, which was in a reasonably good shape. I test drove it a couple of times although I didnt know what one should be looking for really. Car had done over 45K and looked shiny. So I selected it

3. Alternatives considered

Although I was probably blinded by love for Waggies, I did briefly consider a few alternatives
- Santro: Didn’t feel so roomy, plus Maruti is a bit more reliable and accessible
- Estilo : not so roomy. Plus it had an image of 'ladies car'
- Ritz: too expensive without much added benefit

4. Booking and delivery experience

I had almost given up on the used car bazaar, when this WagonR from cartrade saved the day. The dealer experience wasn’t so smooth. Car dealer was not very straightforward about the details. Only thing he kept saying is that car is on as-is-where-is basis. No service record was present. They said that the car is certified, but didn’t share the certification report. Initially they promised 1 year warranty but actually I got only 6 months (although a comprehensive one). I was told to sign on some blank forms, but the seller wasn’t there in front of me. I told them of some minor niggles and sounds coming from the car, which they didn’t cater to even after many reminders, although every time they said they will fix it the same day.

I was somewhat jittery with the deal, but gave in as I thought I would just believe in luck/God/Maruti and the fact that I was getting warranty. Also the price was approx 2.1 lakhs which was fair. They paid for registration and half of insurance, whereas I paid the rest of insurance (3.5k) and opted for 6 months comprehensive warranty (4k). The warranty was from a third party (don’t remember the name). Thus total cost was approx 2.2 lakhs. Plus I was really tired of running around all the car dealers.

On the plus side, they did let me have a look at the car and take test drive as much as I wanted. They said they will do registration in a few days and surely they gave me RC after couple of weeks . Also, the car turned out to be overall very good.

Key Learnings:
- Read the TBHP page on how to buy used car and follow it to the T. Period.
- Buying a used car and finding a suitable one needs time and patience covering possibly many months, so be ready for it
- Try a lot of used cars of the variety you want to buy, even if seller is asking for higher price, just to get the experience on the segment. You learn a lot when you drive 5-6 cars of the model you want for 15 minutes each.

5. Detailed configuration

I purchased VXI 2008 model
- Has tachometer
- Decent Music system with 2 speakers
- AC is pretty good for front passengers
- 1061 cc engine with 67bhp is very practical, though not designed for street racing. But it does its job well as a transportation machine.
- 175/70 R13 tube type tires. These are wider than most cars in segment.
- BIG boot, which are supplemented by foldable rear seats
- Power steering, power brakes, front power windows
- Central locking

6. Exterior looks:
Waggie is one of its kind car in India. In this segment, Maruti brought Estilo (baby Innova), WagonR (baby SUV) and A-star (stylish hatch)- all in different shapes and designs. And even if most critics praised the other two for their looks, what really sold well was WagonR.
U have seen some other cars in Europe whch look similar and which have seen some success as well. It does take some time getting used to. But then, as they say, looks are subjective.

7. Interiors
The amount of space between head and the roof is awesome. Maruti kept the shoulder room less but increased the roof to a whole new floor. After you have been in a wagonR for a few minutes, all other B1 segment cars feel cramped.

Dashboard/upholstry is typical Maruti. There is some rattling sound once you have done 50-60K Kms. Rear seats are primarily designed for 3 kids or slim people. Boot space is much more than Swift.

- Engine is quite Ok in the range of 1000-2000 rpm. Below that torque feels a bit less. Above that the engine noise seems to increase quickly. Typically at 2000 rpm, you are 60 KMPH.
- Most economical speed is around 50.
- NVH levels are Negligible at idle, fairly OK till 50 Kmph, high after 70 KMPH and unbearable past 110 KMPH. Thus, it is fair for practical purposes in city.
- Mileage is 12-13 in city and 17 on highway with AC. Same is 15 and 19 respectively without AC.
- Stability and Handling: fairly OK, unless you try to take it to extremes.
- Driving position is unique and pro-city drive
- Gearbox feel as if there is some jelly or molten rubber filled in it. You have to get used to it and ignore the issue , as it is quite reliable otherwise. Pedals are placed such that you feel as if you are sitting on a chair. Your leg (lower part) is more upright than in any saloon.

8. AC
AC is a basic one. While driving, if you have to remove the foot from accelerator pedal for even 1 second, the AC will cut off. This becomes a nightmare in stop and go traffic or every time you have to apply brakes. Otherwise, if you have been pressing the accelerator pedal constantly, even if slightly, the AC will cool fairly well. Even then the rear passengers have to suffer a lot as the cooling does not reach rear bench so much. e.g. Driving this car with 4 passengers in May-June in Delhi is so painful, it better to keep the windows rolled down while drinking lots of cool water.

9. Ownership experience
I was really excited when I bought the car. They had washed and cleaned it from outside and did some dry-cleaning inside. I dragged my family (wife, parents, brother) into the car and took them on a late night drive on Delhi ring road. Although not so keen to miss their favourite TV show which was on air at that time, they agreed nevertheless because of the look on my face.

The car has been driving well and, as you might guess, gives excellent fuel economy. The car never betrayed me. Never ever. Except when that time when I ignored the low fuel sign for a couple of days and the petrol tank ran out of fuel. Learnings -1) don’t procrastinate when the fuel level is low and 2) WagonR fuel tank is 35.5 liters

Till now I have done 2 annual services. Generally there haven't been any problems or issues as such. However, every time I took it to MASS for servicing, they told me that so and so component is gone and should be replaced immediately or else car can stop any time. I was a novice fool in terms of automobiles and blindly followed their advice.

- Although there was no issue as such that I felt, in my first service MASS told to change the brakes and some other items . I agreed. Very little difference, that too in high speed breaking
- Second one (50K kms) MASS suggested that I should overhaul the suspension . I agreed. No effective difference afterwards at all
- Third one said I should change all the oils including gear oil, it was a preventive act. I agreed. No gain but unfortunately the third gear became hard, although they refused to admit it. However, I decided to live with it as I thought MASS knows best.
- But when fourth MASS said that I should change the AC assembly as "it had become noisy", including compressor, and quoted 20K, I got suspicious.
- I took Waggie to a neighbourhood mechanic, who - surprisingly . The "suspension noise" for which I got suspension OH done was actually noise from rattling doors, which was fixed by Feviquick in 10 rupees . A little oil and adjusting the clutch wire fixed the 3rd gear issue. AC assembly needed just oiling and bearing change (MGP) and costed under 4K only.

These mistakes were absorbed during the first year of my ownership. Once I was enlightened, I have been more cautious and thankfully the expenses/problems have also been minimal.

- Your car is like your baby. Be thorough with it. Understand it .
- Dot believe MASS or any mechanic blindly.
- MASS can be trusted well only for free service. For any repair or major expense, take a second opinion. Be physically present near your car for any major repair job, unless it can be easily verified later yourself.
- Used cars will have normal wear and tear as they get older. Some components wont behave like new, but they will still have quite some life left and dont have to be replaced immediately. NVH levels will also increase gradually. If you want to have your car like new, buy a new car itself.
- No matter what everyone says, The engine assembly in Maruti is very well built and wont go off easily unless you misuse it.

Overall I would say WagonR is a remrkable value for money and practical city car and justifies its selling ranks. It doesn’t cheat you all of a sudden. If it has any pain, it will give slow and soft noises/feelings to you, so that you can comfortably get them fixed. Over a period those feelings will become prominent and if you chose to ignore them repeatedly, only then will it come to a halt. Otherwise if you take good care, it will serve you like a devoted accomplice.

Thanks for reading.

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Last note: with a heavy heart, I had to sell off waggie, to pay for my next car. Bye bye my friend. Miss you always.

Last edited by GTO : 28th April 2015 at 15:24. Reason: Li'l bit of spacing :). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 28th April 2015, 15:24   #2
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Default Re: Pre-owned Maruti WagonR: 7 years & 65000 kms up

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Long-term Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 29th April 2015, 12:24   #3
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Default Re: Pre-owned Maruti WagonR: 7 years & 65000 kms up

Thanks for the post ChupaRustam. There's a lot of people who buy used WagonR's and your thread definitely provides a healthy insight. You have gone through what a lot of novice car buyers go through and it's great to see that your experience has made you wiser and more analytical. Good thing you had to face the conniving after sales with a used car and not after blowing off more money on a brand new car.

Then one fine day, when my Alto was in company parking, some lady had parked her WagonR right behind my car, blocking my exit. A security guy went to talk to her , but she gave him the keys to move the car ourselves.

I took the keys and proceeded to start the car, to move it and what happened after that was pure "magic". I knew I was in love. The placement of the pedals perfect and was a 'made for each other' for me. I was so much in awe that I donít even remember when I moved it a few meters ahead. Only thing I remember is that, once I took my car out, I asked for its keys again so that I could spend a few more moments with her.
Who knew double parking could translate into a sale
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