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Old 29th July 2007, 14:56   #1
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Default My Maruti WagonR LXi is sweet 16!

Way back in 2000, when my dad showed me a photo of the WagonR in an auto magazine, as the new offering from Maruti, both of us had a hearty laugh at its odd shape. I had an 800 for the preceding 12 years and was very proud of it--it had a Suzuki engine and a monstrous pickup that was lacking in Maruti engines made in India. A few months later, I spotted a WagonR on NH5 proceeding towards Vizag, and I too was going to Vizag from the Steel Township.
Seeing its odd, un-aerodynamic shape, I overtook it and gave a 'kaise gaadi khareeda tumne' look at the driver. It was one of those golden brown WagonRs that were launched in India. Probably my condescending looks put the driver off and he started chasing me. We were at the airport stretch of the highway, generally devoid of traffic. Taking the challenge, I stepped on the gas and was doing around 100--but restrained myself as my 800 was floating at that speed. 'Zooom'---that guy overtook me, to my surprise, and soon I lost sight of him! He must have been doing at least 120, and it was this defeat that changed my attitude towards the WagonR.
A year later, I badly wanted to buy a new car, and my choice was limited to Santro, WagonR ,Indica and Matiz---Palio was not yet launched, and Zen did not have an MPFI version then. I ruled out Indica because I took a ride in a week-old V2 model in Bhilai, and found it bumpy on the rear seat. Morevoer it was diesel, and my running was only 20 kms a day. I researched lots of magazines, and almost homed in on a Matiz, as almost all magazines said it was the numero uno among the three. Only issue was a bad gearshift. But my good pal in Delhi, who owned one cautioned me that the factory in Korea was closing down, so that left me in a dilemma, as I hated the looks of both Santro and WagonR.
I test drove both and found the pickup of a Santro in lower gears better. The driver's seat also seemed to be better for long drives.This apart, the A pillar did not obstruct vision, and its gearbox was better.
But after driving a WagonR, my perception of the vehicle changed drastically. I found many advantages over the Santro, such as:-
Steering more effortless, due to EPS
Better brakes
Better handling
Very good ride even in the rear seats, unlike Santro.
Bigger boot space
Lots of cubby holes for putting items in the cabin.
The most decisive factor was the reclining rear seats---my kids adored this feature, as they could both sleep on our late night return trips to the township from Vizag city.
So I went and bought it on July 31st, 2001---it was the second WagonR in the township, so I had to face a barrage of questions.Some were even jealous, as they were on the verge of retiring, and felt that buying a new car was not a good option. I bluntly told them that I had 20 years to go for retirement, so my perceptions need not match theirs!
One great feature that I used couple of times was the facility to join the front and rear seats into a 'bed'. I had to receive my mom-in-law from Vizag Station (30 kms away) at 2 a.m., but on reaching the station, was told the train was an hour late. It was in peak summer, and we were sweating on the platform. So I retreated into my car, joined the seats, started the engine with handbrake on, and relaxed with A.C. for about 45 mins till my mom-in-law arrived. Though I must have burnt some fuel, the returns in terms of comfort were superb. The other time I used this feature was last year, when I had to drop my cousin home after a bypass operation.
You just dont get this feature, even in C segment cars. Not sure if this feature still exists in new WagonRs.
We had a long trip to Bbubaneswar in April 2002, and to Hyderabad in September to take up a new job. We also drove down to Vizag from Hyd and back in 2 days for some urgent work in May 2003. On all these occasions, we did not feel exhausted at all, and were able to drive at speeds upto 100 comfortably. Only feature that was missing was under-thigh support for such distances.
It is now 6 years from the date I bought this car, and it has clocked 41500 kms so far--could have been 44.5K if I had not bought a Fiesta in March. I am proud to say that I had my first puncture only a month and half ago, when the odo read 40600 kms. Very honestly, I had never changed a wheel in a WagonR, so took the help of a puncture wallah . I found the wheel rod a bit rusted, and kinda stuck to the mat, as it was in that very position for 6 years!
So kudos to Bridgestone radials, to roads in A.P. and of course, to me!
My mileage figures during highway driving with 90% A.C. was around 16 to 17 (could have been more without AC and if I drove at 60 to 70, which is only theoretical as one tends to drive above 80), and in Hyd city it gives me 12-13 with AC, and 13 to 13.5 without A.C. Not bad for a 1061 cc car. My pal who owns a Santro reports similar mileage.
As regards condition, it is still as good as new, nary a few scratches, thanks to Hyd bikers. My front and rear bumpers have taken quite a few thuds, but are intact, thanks to Maruti's good quality bumpers (compared to the bent Santro bumpers you see very often). Moreover, they are black, so no scratches are visible--I've resisted the urge to paint them body-coloured.
Maintenance of my car is around Rs 900 per year on servicing and oil changes. Only thing I had to spend on so far was Rs 120 for a reverse light bulb !
I expect to spend a bit this weekend when I give it for servicing, as it is a '40000 km servicing', where they might need to change brake pads, etc.
When I found my AC's efficiency going down, I blew compressed air at the radiator with my vacuum cleaner, and now it is as good as new.
As regards gear shift, I had problems with the 5th gear and reverse only for the first 1000 kms, and have never faced any problems so far. I 've read many horror stories about the gearshift, but they must be new cars. Admitedly, the gears are not as smooth as the Fiesta's, but they are not on level playing ground. I must say, however, that my son, who is used to the gear play of a WagonR, got a chance to drive the Fiesta on the highway. When he was slowing down below 45kmph, I advised him to change to 3rd, but he changed to 1st !!
Arrgghhh! My heart stopped a beat, but luckily he pressed the clutch soon after he realised his mistake.
Overall, I am very happy with this car.
If you ask me if I would advise people to buy this car, I certainly would. However, they also need to check up new cars like the Spark. The Santro xing looks good too, compared to the old Santro. But the Waggy is certainly tried and tested, as brought out above.
Will post pics soon after servicing is over.
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Old 29th July 2007, 15:26   #2
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Happy birthday dear WagonR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
You just dont get this feature, even in C segment cars. Not sure if this feature still exists in new WagonRs.
Don't think the new WagonR has it. Mine is '04 model, and love this feature. We had conducted an Auto-expo in trivandrum, and i was required to stay guard for the Suzuki Hayabusa. Took the car, parked it next to the Busa, and used the bed feature for a good night's sleep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
As regards gear shift, I had problems with the 5th gear and reverse only for the first 1000 kms, and have never faced any problems so far. I 've read many horror stories about the gearshift, but they must be new cars.
I guess the shift gets better with usage. Thats why new owners complaint of shifts. For me, i'd say its OK. Not too good, but not too bad either (One time it got really bad, but was due to a broken linkage)

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 29th July 2007 at 15:27.
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Old 29th July 2007, 15:31   #3
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Very nice review!
Powerful, fuel efficient, easy and cheap maintenance, practical, the WagonR has all the qualities of a successful car. No wonder it is one of the largest selling cars in the country.
Oh and Happy Birthday to your car.
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Old 29th July 2007, 16:45   #4
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A very well written vnabhi !!! Straight from the heart.
Many people say many things about WagonR (like tin-ka-dabba, Santro is superior etcetc) but still it sells extremely well and that speaks a lot about this car.

A value for money product.

Abhi
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Old 29th July 2007, 17:37   #5
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Great Review on one of the most stable cars from Maruti

WagonR is very practical choice in its segment. I liked WagonR more than Swift. While buying Santro I wanted to pickup WagonR for its some of the feature. But Xing launch dragged me towards it.

WagonR is perfect 4 seator and its very comfy and tried and tested one! I really liked that reclining seats which turn into bed, awasome airline comfort.

All the best and enjoy your ride.

Regards,

Ravi.
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Old 30th July 2007, 14:22   #6
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Default I have company!

Even I'll be turning 23 on 31st July!!! Happy Bday pal (Wagon R)
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Old 31st July 2007, 11:43   #7
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Many Happy Returns to you, Amtak !
Thanks to all others for their encouraging comments.

BTW, I got back my WagonR today (6 years old) from Varun Motors after the '40000 Km' servicing. Shelled out Rs 5200 for it---the costliest ever. Biggest component was Rs 1400 for de-carbonising, 700 on internal shampooing and the rest on new spark plugs, oil changes, filter,etc.

The brake pads were intact, so they were not changed. Even brake oil was not changed, as it was changed last year, per Varun Motors' records.
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Old 26th February 2009, 11:57   #8
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Well folks, here's another update on the Waggy---it's now 7.5 years old and has done 49200 kms on the odo---but still going strong.

I changed 4 tyres last August when I felt the stock Bridgestones were losing grip,though they looked ok. They had done 46500 on the odo. Cost me Rs 9200 for a set of 4 tubeless Bridgestones. The grip, FE and comfort levels have improved a lot after that.

Even the FE, which had fallen to 11 in city driving increased, moreso after the December, 2008 service, which cost me Rs 2300/-approx.

Only issues I have with the car currently are:-
  1. Drive shaft creaking sounds on the front right when making a U-turn. I can live with it till it sounds worse. Surprisingly, this sound first cropped up when I'd hardly done 20+K on the odo.
  2. Slight change in engine sound when I press the clutch--there is no slippage however. There is no drop in FE or pick up either.
Availed a complimentary free check-up last Sunday from Varun Motors, Begumpet. They said the car was fine, and that I'd need to get the AC belt replaced, and the clutch thoroughly checked in my next service. They feel the clutch plates are ok, but the pressure rod (dont remember the right word) might need to be changed. But they could not say for sure till the clutch assembly was taken apart, which would take nearly half a day.

I wish they'd identified both issues in December, during service. Anyways, I can live with those issues for another few months, till the next service this year end.
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Old 12th June 2009, 14:35   #9
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Default 50200 km review

Now that my Waggie has crossed the 50 K mark, I felt the brakes making some crunching sounds during sudden braking at higher speeds, and they seemed to be lacking in bite.

So I got the front pads and rear liners changed,alongwith my wiper blades at Varun Motors. The car was delivered after 6 hours, and it cost me Rs 2770 in total, including labour charges. The service advisor showed me the old pads and liners, and they were in bad shape indeed.

Now the brakes feel as good as new, except that the handbrake seems to be a bit tight---it now engages fully from the second notch, instead of the 4th.
My only gripe is that they should have changed the pads during the 40K service 2 years ago, when they'd changed the brake fluid. No point waiting for a customer to seek this replacement.
My AC is working fine, and I did not get it serviced as suggested during their free checkup in Feb. My clutch also is fine, except that minor change of engine sound when i depress it.
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Old 12th June 2009, 15:22   #10
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My Alto's brake pads were replaced during the recent 40k service. I wonder why they didnt do it for you.
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Old 14th June 2009, 12:00   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
My Alto's brake pads were replaced during the recent 40k service. I wonder why they didnt do it for you.
Beats me! Even the car manual prescribes a complete overhauling of the brakes during the 40 k service, which also includes checking the brake master cylinder, etc.
I do remember that they had changed the brake fluid.
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Old 16th November 2009, 13:20   #12
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Here's another update, though a bit delayed.

The creaking sounds from the right drive shaft were increasing and a new sound also started emanating from the left one while taking U turns to the left. I therefore decided to get both drive shafts changed in September.

I paid Rs 7930 for 2 new drive shafts and now the car is smooth again, with no embarassing sounds while turning. The only issue I've noticed is that there are some minor oil stains below the engine when I remove it from the parking lot. But those stains seem to be reducing by the day.

So guys, do you think I should report this to the MASS, or is it normal to have some oil spills after a drive shaft change?
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Old 10th September 2010, 10:27   #13
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Default 9 yrs / 55K service update

I gave my Waggie for servicing yesterday at Varun Motors, as it had already completed 20 months and around 6 K after its last service.

Problems reported were some creaking sounds from the front left shock over potholes and a fused roof-light. I asked them to change the shocks or struts if needed.

The car was delivered in the afternoon with a bill of Rs 2852. They had not replaced the struts but greased them. They charged around Rs 800 for that job.

The sound seems to have decreased now, but I will confirm over the next few days.

The only gripe I have is that they did not firmly close the dickey door and I was getting a lot of sounds from the rear over bumps. On close scrutiny, even the stepney was not properly bolted---I wonder why they had to remove it from its original position when no wheel rotation was done.

Another 'service' which they jotted down in the work order and promptly refused by me was engine decarbonisation for Rs 1250----I'd already got that done at 40 K and did not want to get suckered again.
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Old 10th September 2010, 11:12   #14
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Hi Nabhi,

I too have a WagonR, my third after the Amby and the Van, bought in April 2005 and completed 88000 kms already. The reason for my choice-simple my wallet and my height (6' 3"). I love the car as its reasonable on the pocket and comfortable. Going to Chikmangulur tomorrow. I get it serviced every 5000 kms (usually once every 4 months).
Col J H Mayne
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Old 10th September 2010, 11:57   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judemayne View Post
Hi Nabhi,

I too have a WagonR, my third after the Amby and the Van, bought in April 2005 and completed 88000 kms already. The reason for my choice-simple my wallet and my height (6' 3"). I love the car as its reasonable on the pocket and comfortable. Going to Chikmangulur tomorrow. I get it serviced every 5000 kms (usually once every 4 months).
Col J H Mayne
Hi Col Jude. Nice to know that you too have a WagonR. But 88K kms in 5+ years----wow!

I do remember that you were quite tall when I last saw you in the mid-70s, and yes, the Waggie is the best hatch for tall persons. My brother is a 6-footer and he bought a WagonR in 2003 as it suited his height the best. 3 other members in my family have gone for the Waggie in the past 3 years.

Col, do post a long-term ownership thread in this forum. And travelogues too---I am sure you could not have munched so many miles without many long drives.
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