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Old 22nd September 2010, 23:15   #1
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Default Zen 1997 1.6L km

Talking about 90s there were hardly any choices for hatchback buyers. Although I was not aware about too many things regarding cars then she was bought since I was only 10yrs.
But that car has been a family member since then.

To be frank I never liked the looks of ZEN. I think even an 800 looks better. I know .
When the car was bought I was fascinated to find features like A/C and ICE(Pioneer)

So after spending my entire childhood with this car, which I started driving from the age of 16. my opinions------

1) Superb handling - Where are the low slung cars now. The ZEN with low CG and great suspensions takes very good care of the body roll. Sudden lane changes and maneuverability are top class. There is no power steering and quite expectedly the steering feedback is awsome.
2) Performance - I know its got only 50 bhp but on real life it feels much more. Depress the throttle at low RPMs and there is a certain amount of clatter which vanishes quickly & there is an instant push in the back. I have to say throttle response is excellent. Midrange is good and strong. However being a 2valves per cylinder top end is not that inspiring. All in all its an excellent city hatch that will put a smile on the driver's face.
3) Rear seat comfort - I know people will call me crazy for putting rear seat comfort in zen which has highly questionable legspace and headroom. However there are a few things that are absolutely great. The big low height windows that roll down 100% and lack of fixed glass gives rear benchers a clear view of the surrounding. Ride quality is also pretty good. (more on that later)
4) Servicing - Maruti has never disappointed in this front. Servicing once a year that takes around 4-5 K (including all parts and labour). Clutch was changed twice, Brakes once, driveshaft once, wiper-headlights control pannel once. Accidental parts are also pretty cheap. Like ORVM costs a mere 170 bucks.
5) And most importantly Kitna Deti Hai- Zen had been a miser in this department. With 50-50 Ac in 80% city it returner a respectable 15-16kmpl.
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Old 22nd September 2010, 23:35   #2
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1) A/C - Seems to be sucking a lot of power from the car. With the AC on the car is actually dead. Any speed any gear. Neither is the AC too much of a chiller. Its good but not excellent.
2) Build quality - Body panels are super weak. If you press a body panel with your mere thumb there will be a slight depression in the skin. These can be found in abundance near the Handle area.
3) Lack of features - Nothing was expected during its era but considering the current scenario- power windows, central locking, split seats, tubeless tyres are sorely missed.
4) Turning Radius - One of the largest turning radius for the smallest car do not do justice. Parking is a pain in the neck.


1) After 1.2L km there is a drop in performance. Even emission limits are on the margin. Went to service station for tuning but dont know what they did. It became worse. Cold stating was almost impossible. Car used to stall. So I personally did a few changes. Retarded the ignition increased the idle RPM. It worked but still not good as new.
2) Suspensions have taken a toll due to roads filled with craters. They have become too soft and so Handling is not as usual. sure its still better than i10, ritz, beat and alto but not like original. These softened suspensions have hugely improved the ride quality. Not something I craved for but it is what it is.
3) In a head on collision the bumper was damaged. The damage extended to the radiator as well (small area & minor only). Could have got it replaced but got it repaired bu aligning the fins for better cooling . A 1.6L KM run car does not justify a replacement. No issues with water temperature as such.
4) Some problems with the rotary AC selector switch. Will not fo in defogging mode. But the Leg+ defogging works. (Chalta hai)
5) A short circuit happened in the wiper and headlights control sticks. Smoke came out . Got it replaced.
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