It’s time to bid goodbye to another one from Autocar India’s long-term fleet, and this time it’s the Wagon R ZXi manual – a car I started using about a month after it came to us. I ‘owned’ it for a good eight months and it’s been a wonderful ride.
EASY ACCESS: Big doors open wide, making getting in and out easy.
The Wagon R kept everything light and easy, even when I demanded a lot from it. I drove it in torrential rain, through slick mud, and even put it through off-road conditions to get to our SUV shoot locations – and, in all instances, the Wagon R was simply fuss-free. Driving it in day-to-day traffic was a breeze too. The area around my house has finally succumbed to the city’s ongoing metro construction work, resulting in bottlenecks and slow-moving traffic. The crawling ability of the engine is surprisingly good, and slowly lifting off the clutch pedal has it rolling gently over even some rough surfaces. Another helpful bit was that the gearing didn’t have me shifting down frequently in traffic.
Unfortunately, in all the time the Wagon R was with me, I never got a chance to use it as a holiday car. So this is very much a city report. Even so, I managed to clock over 10,000km in the time.
SIDE SPACE: Door pocket is wide enough to reach into to access stuff.
As for flaws, I guess it is normal for one to get used to them the more they drive a car. However, having said that, one bit really bothered me in the Wagon R and that was the centre storage. It’s an area I use for my phone or wallet, but while it was a useful space to have, it was hard to access when the car was in 1st, 3rd or 5th gear. The gearshift lever blocks it. So, at a toll, I’d have to put the car in neutral to reach my wallet. The fact that I also had my USB cable plugged into the car charger, which is just above the slot, made access worse. What I didn’t like was the light seat fabric; though it looks good, it gets dirty fast and needs constant cleaning. Even plain water ended up leaving ugly stains behind. On the other hand, the driver’s side door pocket is nice to use. There’s space for a one-litre water bottle, and it is also wide enough for you to reach into. The other bits that I loved were that the front and rear doors open wide, and the high seats make for easy entry and exit, something that has been the hallmark of all Wagon Rs. This makes the car seem even more spacious than it is. Also, on the go, I found the headlights to be quite effective, but the fog lamps didn’t work well for me; instead of the beam being spread wide and low, I found it to be too far to the sides, with low illumination on the road ahead.
TIGHT SQUEEZE: Gear lever and USB cable hinder access to the storage area.
When I got my hands on the Wagon R, there weren’t too many new models on the road. That, however, changed in the following few months, and it’s not without reason. In many ways, the new Wagon R has a lot going for it. There is no doubt that the Wagon R is really nice to drive. The previous generation was known for its value for money, space and fuel-efficiency, but I didn’t find it to be nice looking. But the new-gen car’s bigger and bolder design has given it a boost while still maintaining its traditional strengths. Also, in terms of fit-finish and design, the new Wagon R looks more premium and upmarket.
STAIN MAGNET: Light fabric looks nice but stains very easily.
The main photo above was taken when the Wagon R accompanied us on our SUV shoot. Given what’s expected of a tracking car on a shoot like this, the Wagon R performed well. And what better shot than this to bid farewell to the car.
2019 Maruti Suzuki Wagon R long term review, second report
2019 Maruti Suzuki Wagon R long term review, first report