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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Maruti Suzuki A-Star - Test Drive

Though I'm a newbie when it comes to cars, but still if there's an engine around I can feel it. With that confidence in myself, today I decided to go for a test drive of the highly awaited Maruti Suzuki A-Star.

Before plunging into the Test Drive report, first things first...
This test drive report is dedicated to my elder brother Ujjwal Chakraborty (who's planning to buy his first car and is seriously thinking about Maruti Suzuki Alto) and to Payeng (who once said that he's eagerly waiting for the A-Star)


As soon as I see the A-Star, I start comparing it with it's Concept Version. I still think the design patterns of the concept version was something revolutionary and would have blown it's competitors out of the roof.

Notice the A, B and C pillars of the car

But still the very first look of the A-Star would make it clear that it's definitely bigger than Alto and far more luxurious. MSIL has tried to retain a couple of smaller design cues from the concept version like the design of the A, B and C pillars on both the cars are pretty much same. The autonomous Tacho Meter is also implemented in the ZXI model of the car. Apart from that, the Production version of the car is completely new makeover from it's concept version.

The out of the world Fish-Eye design of the front head lamps have been done away with more rounded Bug-Eye shaped front head lamps which though looks different but doesn't go very much with the sporty theme of the interiors of the car. I felt it made the look like a kid :)

Notice the gap between the Head Lamp and Hood. Dust can very easily storm in

The rear of the car seems very heavily inspired by the Swift. The angular edges in the rear design of the concept version looked classy.


The Interiors of the class follow a very sporty pattern and follow an oyster grayish color scheme. The instrumentation arrangement is descent enough and gels with the overall design of the interiors.

As in i10 I was expecting two step adjustable steering which to my disappointment, is absent. Another thing which I couldn't understand is the absence of Tachometer even in the VXI variant of the car. Only the ZXI variant has the Tachometer and that also as an autonomous unit. The Tacho though looks stylish but I think the styling/arrangement of the Tacho made it a complete waste because while driving I had to focus on two different places to know at which gear I'm at what speed and at what rpm. It becomes so difficult that way.

The arrangement of the gear-shift knob is very forwardish as in i10 but in contrast to i10 it remains a separate unit and not gelled with the dashboard.

One thing which anybody thinking about the A-Star should keep in mind that the car is an up gradation of the Alto and anybody who is not comfortable with the sitting and space inside the Alto, would find it same with the A-Star too. I had to push the drivers seat completely back to get a comfortable seating posture for my self. Once done that, the space in the back passenger seat really went missing.

The lack of leg space when the driver's seat is pushed back as per my need

The car is certainly not Tall-boy design and squeezed head space does make it's presence felt.

Again, the boot is also crying for space and I'm not sure how helpful the boot would be if one decides to go for his/her monthly shopping. :)

The Test Drive

First Impression - what a damn smooth engine. Maruti Suzuki has done a damn good job with the new KB 10B engine. The 47 kg, 998cc, 3 cylinder 12valve rocker less DOHC engine, does give a big feeling when one drives it. The power delivery and pickup is good.

One thing which I very specifically felt was the presence of loads and loads of low end torque. You can easily be in the 3rd gear and easily drive at speeds of 15-17kmph and then easily pull from there and go past sixty. The car doesn't even hick-up for a second. It's definitely a high revving engine. Even though I was not able to engage the 5th gear, the car easily touched 85kmph in 4th gear and still showing signs of not really in need to engaging the 5th gear. In tight city conditions I feel engaging the 3rd gear won't be required all together as the car easily does a meaty 40kmph in it's second gear (an in all this I was really cursing the arrangement of the Tacho because I was not able to concentrate on the rpm at the same time). The car does make it very clear, very specifically that the max power output of 67ps @ 6500rpm should not be under-estimated as small because the torque, the motor produces is huge - 90Nm @ 3500rpm, it's massive when we think that the 1.2 l engine of i10 Kappa produces 111.72 @ 4000rpm.

If the magic average of 19.6 kmpl, as stated by MSIL is to be believed then all credit goes to the Torque distribution of the engine as it allows you go up and down a meaty speed range without touching the gear knob much.

The handling is ultra smooth and the feedback from the motor controlled Electronic Power Steering is also crisp. The grip of the Tubeless tyres are awesome and though being light, the car provided ample traction. The ventilated front disk does it's job very smoothly and the ride quality too is a very big improvement as compared Alto. It gives a very layed back and relaxed feeling both to the driver and the co-passengers.

All in all I would say that if anybody is thinking about Alto and feels that he or she is comfortable with the Alto then he or she should really go for the A-Star. It's fun, it's zippy and it's a very appropriate up gradation of the Alto, but don't expect too much from space perspective.
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  1. Hmmm.. Sajal developed interest in cars too now ;)

    A big big article on car with so much of detailed analysis !!

    See this is how world changes with new requirments coming in life ;)

  2. So vis-a-vis i10, it looks like the i10 still scores over the A-star.. or is it?

  3. Sandhya!!
    Thanks for leaving your comments. Well the world did change!! Now I know to drive another vehicle driven by an engine.... new horizons for me ;)

    Payeng Dude!!
    Well i10 is defenitely a bigger car than the A-Star, be it space or engine. But ya, the A-Star is defenitely value for money, if you are comfortable with the space. If you are comfortable with Alto, then defenitely go for the A-Star.


Item Reviewed: Maruti Suzuki A-Star - Test Drive Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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