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Old 1st December 2008, 23:42   #271
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Default My review of Maruti Suzuki A-star

I took a test drive of the much talked about Maruti Suzuki A-star. So, is it really a Star??? Lets see.

First things first. The looks. The car looks extremely cute from the outside unlike seen in the pictures. I saw a red one on display in the showroom. I does not look too much influenced by the i10 as the pics suggest. The large unusual grille add to its personality, avoid making it look too feminine. The headlamp does not look out of place, although different. However, I hate the headlamp bulge when seen from the side, like the i10.

The car looks best in its side-profile. It has stylish doors. You can notice the smooth flow along the window line. Although the stylish, Swift-ish, mirror covers look big enough, the mirrors themselves are pretty small. But not insufficient for comfortable driving.

The rear looks pretty different. It has a huge bumper and a very small boot lid, making it look that the two parts are from two different cars. The tail-lamps are pretty much Alto. The rear glass is pretty small. The boot lip is way high compared to the height of the car. I got a feeling that different parts were taken from different cars and then ironed together.


Interiors. The interiors are far far better than we've come to expect from Marutis in that price range. The interior is well made and is two tone. The nearly black is the same color as seen in the Swift. The quality is same too. However, the finishing is a little shiny unlike the Swift, making it look pretty bad. On the other hand, the light grey color plastic looked pretty decent. However, I would have loved beige instead of the light grey. This would have made the interior look stunning, avoiding too much beige unlike i10. The integrated stereo looks good. The sound quality was decent. I tested only FM though.

The front had good front room. I had to fiddle with the front seats to get a good position. But once it got it, it was really comfortable. The under-thigh support was good and the seats were soft and comfortable, far more comfortable than the WagonR, Estilo and i10. The gear-knob was copied from the Swift. The steering wheel, although looks like Swift, is smaller, making it look and feel sporty. There are a lot of cubbyholes unlike the Swift. However, I like the plain sporty look of the Swift rather than the A-star. WagonR and Estilo are no comparison.

The rear is pretty cramped. Leg-room is similar to the Alto. However, three short adults can be seated with more ease compared to the WagonR. The rear feels more cramped because of the rear window.

The boot is shockingly small for a car in that price range. It is not too deep too. The high boot lip makes it more difficult to keep the limited luggage. Only good for the weekend shopping bags.

The door has that thud you never expected from Marutis. It feels miles ahead of the Estilo and better than the WagonR too. Its on par with the i10 here, or dare I say, slightly better. However, do not compare it with the likes of Palio yet. The doors don't shut with a slight push anymore. They need to be shut hard.

Engine and Gearbox. The gearbox is crisp, smooth and falls easily to the hand. Swift P and i10 are only slightly better. There is absolutely no comparison to WagonR and Estilo. This surely makes one realize that Maruti made fool of lacs and lacs of customers with the stupid WagonR gearbox.

The thee cylinder engine is pretty much refined. It is far far refined than the four cylinder WagonR engine. The idling of the engine was soundless.

Drive. As I was handed over the key, first thing that caught my attention was the key itself. The key looks high-tech with buttons embedded on the key itself. I cranked the engine. Within a fraction of a second, the engine purred to life. It was barely audible on idling. The clutch was well weighted unlike the i10. The brakes however, were far from satisfactory. I felt the non-ABS brakes on my Swift D more re-assuring, although, it is understandable that ABS enabled brakes take a small fraction of a second time to stop when compared to the non-ABS ones. I did not emergency-test the brakes. We started our drive with 4 onboard. The engine was pulling cleanly under low RPMs. Unfortunately, there was a traffic jam on our test-dive route and we were diverted on a narrow road. I instantly felt comfortable. Although the tachometer is a slight distraction, the large speedo was very easy to read. I guess its more of something getting used to. But seriously, funky or not, I didn't like the tacho housed in a pod of its own. Getting back to our drive, the NVH was pretty much controlled on those roads. The gearbox was a joy to use. I got a feel of the real-world daily drive to office. The engine was pretty much peppy. I would say that it is on par with the i10 iRDE. The handling, I felt was good. Shall test more when I do a high-speed test drive. The ride quality was good. Was better than the Santro, i10, WagonR. The steering, however, felt dead compared to my Swift D. But it is extremely light and feels like a toy car! I couldn't test it on high speeds given the road conditions that day. The high speed test is still pending from my side. I shall write another review on that.

Verdict. So is it a star? Not really. It doesn't stand out on any quality(real-world mileage figures are not out yet.), although it does most things alright.
Should you buy it? Well, it depends. If you have a family of 4 adults, please avoid the car. If you are a single or a couple and want something of decent quality, something not outdated, this one is for you. If you want a small urban runabout, this one is for you. Its ideal for your daily office commute, if you have a family car. The car rightly has Farhan Akhtar endorsing it.
What are my options? Its better than the Alto for sure. WagonR and Estilo beat this car only on space. These cars always have the fear of being discontinued. Santro is a brilliant alternative. But then, its an old car too. Probably it beats A-star on almost everything, except handling. You can also consider Spark at your own risk. i10 is a brilliant alternative, but, its overpriced and its costlier than the A-star by Rs.30,000.
Is it VFM? Sadly no. Unlike other Marutis, I feel this is overpriced by atleast Rs.25,000. I hope they don't follow the Hyundai route. They should correct this on the Splash.
So, finally, what is it? I would say, you get front space comparable to somewhere between the i10 and Swift, you get back space and boot similar to the Alto, good engine, at the price of an WagonR.
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Old 2nd December 2008, 09:13   #272
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Originally Posted by harry10 View Post
then what will happen to me (6.1 in height)
Also is the front leg room ok?
With me it was ok but with 6.1' I wonder what will happen. Just don't buy the car unless you take a good ride. - Believe me.cheers:
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Old 2nd December 2008, 10:10   #273
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Originally Posted by blue_pulsar View Post
I took a test drive of the much talked about Maruti Suzuki A-star. So, is it really a Star??? Lets see.
.


Interiors. The interiors are far far better than we've come to expect from Marutis in that price range. The interior is well made and is two tone.

.

Nice Review. Agree to almost all the points except one. You have pointed in many places (e.g above) that it surpassed expectation for the price of the car. Below also you mention that i10 is 30K over priced with lesser mileage(assuming the figures are not blatantly wrong) and agree that drive, ride, gearbox almost are as good as i10. Except the space everythign is above average and much better than estilo and wagon-r. You also noted "you get front space comparable to somewhere between the i10 and Swift, you get back space and boot similar to the Alto, good engine, at the price of an WagonR".

Then why do you say its overpriced? Do you mean wagon-r, alto are also overpriced?

I think with handling,ride, engine quality as good as i10 and much better all other maruti cars of this level. The price should be fine.

One thing that everybody forgets to point (something that makes me feel good) is that the emission of this car is the lowest of all the cars.

Last edited by Technocrat : 2nd December 2008 at 11:09. Reason: removed extra quoted post
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Old 2nd December 2008, 10:46   #274
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Originally Posted by blue_pulsar View Post


Is it VFM? Sadly no. Unlike other Marutis, I feel this is overpriced by atleast Rs.25,000. I hope they don't follow the Hyundai route. They should correct this on the Splash.
So, finally, what is it? I would say, you get front space comparable to somewhere between the i10 and Swift, you get back space and boot similar to the Alto, good engine, at the price of an WagonR.
Well I feel only the Lxi variant seems overpriced at 3.5+. Vxi has all the goodies one asks for (minus safety features like ABS,Airbags etc) and Zxi has everything!(save the alloys). At 4.5 lacs no other car in India has the kind of features it has to offer. Makes good choice for city couples and small families. Just like every other small car from Maruti stable, we can expect good mileage as well from this car.
Astar I think actually makes WagonR, i10 etc look overpriced!!!
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Old 2nd December 2008, 12:29   #275
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Originally Posted by joslicx View Post
Well I feel only the Lxi variant seems overpriced at 3.5+. Vxi has all the goodies one asks for (minus safety features like ABS,Airbags etc) and Zxi has everything!(save the alloys). At 4.5 lacs no other car in India has the kind of features it has to offer. Makes good choice for city couples and small families. Just like every other small car from Maruti stable, we can expect good mileage as well from this car.
Astar I think actually makes WagonR, i10 etc look overpriced!!!
The ZXi is a real VFM. But the lower end models are slightly overpriced.

Last edited by romeomidhun : 2nd December 2008 at 12:30.
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Old 2nd December 2008, 13:04   #276
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The ZXi is a real VFM. But the lower end models are slightly overpriced.
I somehow feel it should be like that only! People should be encouraged to focus on things like safety seriously. (and best way to do that is to make top end model VFM as only top end model has some serious security features.) Just selling a tinhouse on four wheels (even if it has all the space so that you can sleep comfortably inside) is really disgusting.

Why cant car manufacturers offer things like ABS/Airbags/Central locks/Immobiliser etc as optional at least on all models???
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Old 2nd December 2008, 13:27   #277
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Saw one today morning. Demo white car. Body painted bumper etc too. Looked good. (Didnt like the unpainted bumper one's, looked real bad)
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Old 2nd December 2008, 14:02   #278
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Nice Review. Agree to almost all the points except one. You have pointed in many places (e.g above) that it surpassed expectation for the price of the car. Below also you mention that i10 is 30K over priced with lesser mileage(assuming the figures are not blatantly wrong) and agree that drive, ride, gearbox almost are as good as i10. Except the space everythign is above average and much better than estilo and wagon-r. You also noted "you get front space comparable to somewhere between the i10 and Swift, you get back space and boot similar to the Alto, good engine, at the price of an WagonR".

Then why do you say its overpriced? Do you mean wagon-r, alto are also overpriced?

I think with handling,ride, engine quality as good as i10 and much better all other maruti cars of this level. The price should be fine.
It hasn't surpassed the expectation in any way. It does most things fine. In my review, everywhere I've mentioned that it better than the WagonR and Estilo and these cars are not benchmarks in that segment. Then where did it go wrong? The size. For a car of this size, it is overpriced.

Now the question whether WagonR is overpriced? That is a tough question to answer. It has that space that most people require. Gearbox is hopeless. Engine, although coarse, pulls cleanly from low RPMs. The expectation from this car is different. Its more space, space, space. And it delivers on that front.

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Originally Posted by joslicx View Post
Well I feel only the Lxi variant seems overpriced at 3.5+. Vxi has all the goodies one asks for (minus safety features like ABS,Airbags etc) and Zxi has everything!(save the alloys). At 4.5 lacs no other car in India has the kind of features it has to offer. Makes good choice for city couples and small families. Just like every other small car from Maruti stable, we can expect good mileage as well from this car.
Astar I think actually makes WagonR, i10 etc look overpriced!!!
But with i10 which is the segment benchmark and sells at a striking distance of Rs.30,000 more, one feels it should have been more competitively priced. And Maruti is known to make VFM products. If they follow the Hyundai route, the will loose their way for sure. It becomes a "Dhobi ka kutta..." story.
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Old 2nd December 2008, 14:49   #279
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Saw one today morning. Demo white car. Body painted bumper etc too. Looked good. (Didnt like the unpainted bumper one's, looked real bad)
err JK all the variants sport Body colored bumpers A Star Variants
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Old 2nd December 2008, 15:22   #280
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Originally Posted by blue_pulsar View Post

But with i10 which is the segment benchmark and sells at a striking distance of Rs.30,000 more, one feels it should have been more competitively priced. And Maruti is known to make VFM products. If they follow the Hyundai route, the will loose their way for sure. It becomes a "Dhobi ka kutta..." story.
Its quite an intelligent offering and different from what Maruti already has!

Those who want to save money can go for Alto.
Those who want space can go for Estilo/WagonR.
Those who want features (without compromising on economy) can go for Astar.
Those who want features + space - wait for Splash.

It all fits quite well. nobody buying a small car needs to look at any other car manufacturer!!!

So you see Maruti need not have priced Astar less than what they have (except for Lxi version).
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Old 2nd December 2008, 15:44   #281
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Its quite an intelligent offering and different from what Maruti already has!

Those who want to save money can go for Alto.
Those who want space can go for Estilo/WagonR.
Those who want features (without compromising on economy) can go for Astar.
Those who want features + space - wait for Splash.
And those who want style, power, features, and decent FE, go for Swift!
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Old 2nd December 2008, 17:09   #282
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hmmm does anyone know what difference is between a 4-cylinder and 3-cylinder engine??? a-star has a 3-cylinder engine and all the rest (i10, all marutis) have 4-cyl.....
can anyone elaborate?
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Old 2nd December 2008, 21:26   #283
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hmmm does anyone know what difference is between a 4-cylinder and 3-cylinder engine???
Smoother engine for same torque / power. A 5 cyl will be still smoother. But, as number of cyls. increase, the Fuel injection system becomes complicated too.
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Old 3rd December 2008, 17:26   #284
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The 3-cylinder architecture is the simplest, the most compact and the highest fuel efficient engine. But the more cylinders, the more overlap the bang cycle has, and the smoother the engine is.

BTW, the engines used in Maruti 800 and Alto are 3-cylinder engines.
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Old 3rd December 2008, 18:07   #285
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It hasn't surpassed the expectation in any way. It does most things fine. In my review, everywhere I've mentioned that it better than the WagonR and Estilo and these cars are not benchmarks in that segment. Then where did it go wrong? The size. For a car of this size, it is overpriced.

Now the question whether WagonR is overpriced? That is a tough question to answer. It has that space that most people require. Gearbox is hopeless. Engine, although coarse, pulls cleanly from low RPMs. The expectation from this car is different. Its more space, space, space. And it delivers on that front.



But with i10 which is the segment benchmark and sells at a striking distance of Rs.30,000 more, one feels it should have been more competitively priced. And Maruti is known to make VFM products. If they follow the Hyundai route, the will loose their way for sure. It becomes a "Dhobi ka kutta..." story.

Blue pulsar (strange name to address ) .. the expectation from a wagon-r can be different also. Its an individual perspective. One might say after 3 years that the expectation from A* is good engine and superb mileage only for 2 people. Right?

Anyways, my point is that whether a car is overpriced or not can only be decided by one factor. How many people, who have the requirement for A* do not buy it only due to the price tag. And we have a long way to go to come to this conclusion as the car is just out. For e.g i10. I feel i could have got it, had it been priced around wagon-r. But I left it instead and booked A*.

But I agree with your analysis in most of the points..

cheers.
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