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Is Maruti Wagon R AMT an ideal first car: Detailed ownership review

Driving in the city is where the AMT shines. It places the car in the 5th gear at 50 km/h which improves the fuel efficiency even further.

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Introduction

Dabba re dabba, uncle ka car dabba (uncle's boxy car) – what comes to your mind when you hear this phrase? Something that is boxy, spacious, affordable, has tons of headroom, and something extremely reliable – that's the WagonR for you. This famous car is known for its cute looks (pun intended). This is the ownership review of our cute!? WagonR...

Pros of the WagonR

  • Smooth and refined engine, barely audible at idle
  • Spacious interior comparable to SUVs, especially in the rear
  • Useful features like electric ORVM, reverse parking sensors and Android Auto
  • Tons of headroom in the front and rear
  • Large windows for a bright interior
  • Generous boot space of 341 litres, surpassing some compact SUVs like the Brezza and XUV 3XO
  • Fuel-efficient, with up to 15 km/l in the city and 20 km/l on highways
  • Compact and easy to navigate in busy cities like Bangalore

Cons of the WagonR

  • Built to a cost, evident from its exterior panels' quality
  • Cheap, low-quality plastics used inside
  • Uncomfortable seats, particularly due to lack of adjustable headrests
  • 1-Star GNCAP safety rating
  • Steering lacks feedback
  • Laggy infotainment system
  • Ineffective AC, especially for rear occupants in summer
  • Subpar handling and high-speed stability
  • Jerky AMT
  • High service cost

The Car Buying Journey

Index

How a WagonR ended up in our garage

So it goes back to 2019, there was no intention of buying the WagonR. I used to make fun of this car whenever I saw it on the road, calling it a box on wheels. Now, some of you might know that we previously owned a Honda City from this post and this one.

At the start of 2019, our Honda City was involved in a terrible accident. The rear tyres burst, causing my dad to lose control of the car on a curve. Fortunately, no one was injured and my dad came out without a scratch, but the car was totalled.

In early 2019, there weren't any major new car launches, and we needed a car with a short waiting period.

Our requirements for the new car were:

  • Low waiting period
  • Automatic transmission
  • Good rear seat space
  • Cost under 7 lakhs

Cars Considered

Tata Tiago

Test drove the car; the engine was noisy, but the main issue was that the car felt extremely cramped, so we rejected it instantly.

Maruti Suzuki Swift and Hyundai Santro

Considered both, but they also lacked sufficient space, so we rejected them too.

Honda City

We considered it, but we didn't want to buy the same car again.

This left us with the WagonR. After taking a lengthy test drive, we decided to book it. The waiting period for the WagonR in 2019 was just 11 days.

Dealership: Maruti Suzuki Bimal Auto Varthur Bangalore

The dealership experience was excellent, with friendly staff and the car was delivered on time. We also opted for the extended warranty and purchased all accessories from the dealer, which are of great quality.

Car Details

  • Make: Maruti Suzuki WagonR
  • Engine and Transmission: 1.2L AMT
  • Fuel Type: Petrol
  • Colour: Nutmeg Brown
  • Year of Purchase: 2019
  • Kilometres Run to date: 32,700

Here are the pics from delivery (Apologies for the low-res pics, was very excited that day):

The recent facelift of the WagonR in 2022 brought minor updates like new upholstery and additional features such as idle start-stop and hill hold for the AMT. Overall, not much has changed, so I hope this review remains relevant for prospective buyers today.

Exterior Impressions

The WagonR appears large from every angle, mainly due to its height. The front is imposing with a wide grille, though some might find the headlight design quirky. The short bonnet complements the overall design well.

The inclusion of fog lamps is a nice touch. Both the headlights and fog lamps are halogens and perform adequately in both city and highway driving.

The wipers work well with plenty of spray from the washer nozzles.

Maruti designers have added multiple cuts, creases, and curves to the profile, giving the WagonR a more stylish look while still keeping its tall boy stance. Though it doesn't look too eye-catching, this design reduces the boxy shape's impact and makes it more appealing. The car is built on Maruti's Heartect platform.

Flap-based body-coloured door handles feel very old-fashioned in 2024.

Electrically adjustable ORVMs in body colour are provided, and IMO, they look very appealing.

The WagonR has small tyres at 165/70 R14. The top variant at that time didn't offer alloy wheels, but the showroom had them as an accessory, so we had them installed. In my opinion, they look very good on the car. The alloys are 14 inches in size.

Coming to the rear, you first notice the lights, which are heavily inspired by Volvo cars. The rear doesn't have many design elements and is plain, but it doesn't look as boxy as the previous generation WagonR.

The WagonR has a rear wiper, washer, and defogger. Yes, I know the wiper looks faded, but it isn't as white as it appears in the picture.

Also, the car offers two parking sensors and reflectors at the back. The reverse camera is an accessory.

Continue reading MotorDev's ownership review for BHPian comments, insights and more information.

 
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