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Rating 7 7

Maruti Suzuki Zen Estilo Vxi

10th Dec 2009 8:00 am

Priced at Rs 4.28 lakh (on-road Mumbai) for the VXi, the Estilo comes with decent equipment.

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  • Make : Maruti Suzuki
  • Model : Zen Estilo

The Estilo’s styling is a radical departure from the traditional hatchback design of the earlier Zen. In fact, it’s a radical departure from any other small car. The looks are a point of contention and the monospace or MPV look may be hard to digest for some, but others will love it — we fall into the latter category. The cab-forward design has superb proportions and is a breath of fresh air among conventional hatchbacks. The Estilo looks the most modern and futuristic in its class and hence, hides its age very well. The car is actually the earlier-generation Suzuki MR Wagon which was launched in late 2001. Though it’s a pretty old design, it’s still newer than other economy cars including the Santro launched in 1998. The Estilo is underpinned by the Wagon R’s mechanicals.

It has recently been given a facelift which include the canges to the front of the car which was necessary to fit the bigger engine under that short hood, and it’s come as a bonus as they have really improved the looks. The Estilo now looks more aggressive with a larger front bumper, bigger air intake, a larger grille with a chrome strip and peel-back headlamps like on the SX4. Even the rear bumper has been replaced by a more angular one with an integrated fog lamp. The suspension is basic and the front suspension’s control rod is a simple I-arm which has a single location on the chassis (there is no sub-frame). However Maruti has tightened the suspension in favour of improving the handling of the car. It uses independent MacPherson struts at the front and non-independent torsion beam rear suspension with coil springs.

The interiors remain unchanged though, the only difference being the two-tone dash rather than the all-beige interiors of the earlier car and the gear lever from the A-star’s parts bin. Quite a few bits have been rummaged from the Maruti parts bin in an effort to keep costs down. The gear lever, circular air con vents and power window switches come from the Swift while the air con controls, wiper and headlight stalks and the instrument panel gauges are borrowed from the Wagon R.

The Zen Estilo comes with a few surprises like a driver airbag option, electric mirrors, an auto-down function for the driver’s window and a cabin light that stays on till the key is inserted—all features usually expected only in expensive cars.

 The large cubbyhole above the glovebox and bigger door pockets are useful for storing knick-knacks. The rear seat folds forward as a single piece, limiting flexibility. Also, there’s no parcel shelf and this is inconvenient. It’s advisable to pick up an aftermarket shelf from your dealer.
The front seats lack comfort and aren’t ample enough. There is little lower back support and this could tire you out in a long-run.

The stiffer suspension means the Estilo feels more solid to drive. Straightline stability is better but high-speed bumps still have the ability to unsettle the car. In the city though, it soaks up rutted surfaces well. If you expected the stiffer suspension to make the car handle like the original Zen, you’ll be disappointed. It rolls a fair bit, the overlight steering gives you absolutely no feedback and grip from the 155/65 R13 tyres is overcome quite easily. However, in comparison to the previous Estilo, it feels better tied down.

Luckily, the old Estilo’s strengths remain. It’s very easy to drive thanks to its miniscule turning circle and great visibility.

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