New Delhi | Anirban Mitra: Modest yet a crowd puller - there can’t be simpler words to describe the Wagon R, which by all means has been Maruti’s talisman for weeks and years. And as the company is on the trajectory of revising its entire line-up of cars, Wagon R for model year 2022 has been tastefully upgraded. Mass market buyers on the lookout can’t keep their eyes off the Wagon R, especially due its encouraging mileage figures in days of skyrocketing fuel prices.

Dive into the Wagon R MY2022, there are significant changes while driving than the ones that meet the eyes. The new 14-inch machine-shaved alloys given a black treatment is a marked step up from the stylised steel rims. Also, to customer’s delight, Wagon R in its top ZXi+ trim allows you a couple of dual-tone paint jobs, which will pinch you an additional Rs 12,000.

Step inside and the only discernible change is the refreshed fabric colour, which appears decent in light shade. Maruti has pulled the plugs on the WagonR with single airbag, making the dual airbags a standard safety fitment across trims. The dashboard design is clean with simplicity written all over it. Features or the lack of it, however, may set you back if you are looking at higher-specced model.

A slick 7-inch touchscreen, a USB port and steering-mounted audio buttons are among the petite list of features one can have in WagonR. Let’s talk through the major change for the incremental price hike in Wagon R.

The tall boy hatch is a vital cog in Maruti’s line-up, which gets the option of both 1-litre and 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated Petrol engines. The dual VVT and dual injectors to each cylinder is a similar treatment in all the K-Series engines. The power and torque figures have marginally gone down in 1.0-litre engine, in both petrol and CNG guise. The 1.2-litre, which is limited to petrol, has gained 7 horsepowers. What’s also new to the engine is exhaust gas recycling that claims to cut down on the tailpipe emission. Secondly, Maruti has engineered the start-stop idling that momentarily hibernates the engine while standing at a signal, and thereby saves extra drops of fuel.

All these changes translate into a smooth engine, which feels more refined, less stressed when the right pedal is floored. We drove around the 1.2-litre variant with an AGS transmission that returned up to 16 kmpl in peak city traffic. The automatic gearbox feels basic, not-so-engaging, and throws up jerkiness at times, however, the two-pedal transmission makes life so much easier in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Also, if you are spending on the AGS transmission, the hill start assist should be a handy feature on inclines.

Maruti hasn’t fiddled with the suspension or steering, which again feel par for the course. The ride quality is on the softer side, and soaks bumpers and undulations without much of a fuss. Steering is what Maruti should focus a little on because the 1.2-litre NA petrol engine is much fun to drive, revs neatly all the way to 5,000 rpm and in effect overtaking is a breeze.

Maruti Suzuki Wagon R is a likeable product for several reasons, and sales numbers just corroborate the fact. It’s a spacious hatch with peppy yet frugal engine, offers CNG as factory fitment and now has added the extra bling to its design. And the pricing, though has witnessed incremental rise, is still attractive. In the same breath, what Maruti should look into is the safety aspect and dynamics of India’s best selling car.

FACT BOX:

Price: Rs 5.47 lakh - 7.15 lakh (ex-showroom)

Engine: 1.0-litre (bi-fuel), 1.2-litre petrol

Transmission: 5-MT, 5-AGS

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma