The Estilo is based on the old wagon R and was launched in 2006. It was given new styling and the K series 1-litre engine in 2009. It competes with the Chevy Spark, Maruti Suzuki Wagon R, A-star, Alto, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10 and Santro.
2007 Maruti-Suzuki Estilo
Maruti Suzuki earlier this year became the only manufacturer in India to roll out its 10 millionth car. Of the bulk of the 10 million cars sold, a major chunk constitutes of small cars like the Maruti 800, Alto, Wagon R and the Zen. The Estilo which is based on the old Wagon R’s platform, was supposed to be the new Zen. Or at least Maruti Suzuki tried to do so. Maruti thought it would be a good idea to carry over the ’Zen’ brand name as this would lend brand value to the Estilo but the Zen Estilo failed to match up to the success of the original Zen. In 2009 Maruti Suzuki tried to correct the weaknesses of the Estilo by adding the K-series engine, fresh looks and a tighter suspension. With prices starting from Rs3,36,450 to Rs 4,22,922 ex-showroom New Delhi, is the Estilo as improved as Maruti hopes?
The Estilo isn’t the most modern car around, considering it is based on the old Wagon R. Maruti’s strategy of late has been to provide the consumer with loads of options to choose from and the Estilo is one of them. It’s styled to gain attention without burning a hole in your pocket.
Estilo is Spanish for style. If you remember the original Estilo, ‘stylish’ would have been the last word that would come to your mind to describe how it looked. So odd looking was the earlier Estilo, you needed to have a sense of humour when talking about its styling. Luckily things aren’t so bad anymore. Gone are the flat looks and the Estilo now comes with redesigned headlamps, a new grill and a bumper with integrated fog lamps. The front fenders have also been worked on and all these changes make the Estilo look better than its original avatar. The front end now looks sharper and from the rear and the side the Estilo remains the same with its tall boy stance. The outside rear view mirrors are new and so are the door claddings. The rear bumper is new but despite the new styling the Estilo looks too much like a van for our liking. While the fit and finish is improved, it still feels that the Estilo has been put together at a low cost.
The interiors are more or less the same with the same beige colour dashboard. However you do get new seat fabric, two tone dashboard, a rear parcel tray and a digital fuel indicator. The use of new fabric and digital instrument cluster has given the car a more upmarket feel and the dashboard has got decent storage area but the plastic quality is bad and not as good as the Wagon R.
The tall boy stance makes entering the cabin easy unlike the Alto and the seating is convenient for a family of four. Its high stance also translates into reasonable knee and head room in the rear but it isn’t as good as the Wagon R. The driver gets an upright seating position which provides good view of the road. The top-of-the-line VXi ABS gets front airbags, ABS, tachometer, remote locking, power windows and power steering. You also get an option of a touch screen JVC stereo system.
Engine and performance
The most important aspect of the new Estilo is the replacement of the1.1-litre petrol engine for the more contemporary K10 series engine which is the same as the A-Star, Wagon R and the Alto. The 998cc, 3-cylinder all aluminium unit produces 68PS @ 6200 rpm and torque of 90Nm@3500 rpm. The power ratings are the same as the other Maruti Suzuki cars that use this engine and Maruti has not tuned the engine differently to suit the nature of the car. Nevertheless it’s a peppy engine which produces low in-cabin noise and power delivery is linear throughout the rev range. The rev-happy nature of the engine makes it hit the redline quicker and 100kmph is reached in under 15seconds. The Estilo returned an ARAI claimed fuel economy of 18.2kmpl which is marginally less than the Wagon R, Alto and the A-star. Another improvement is the gearbox which is smoother to shift and feels less notchy. While the earlier gearbox felt vague and was irritating to use, the new box is better appointed and slots into gear well.
The Estilo’s looks hides its age very well because the car is actually the generation old Suzuki MR Wagon which was launched in 2001.The underpinnings are the same as the old Wagon R’s and it uses independent MacPherson struts at the front and non-independent torsion beam rear suspension with coil springs. One of the weaknesses of the older Estilo was its floating ride quality and spongy handling and Maruti has tightened the suspension to improve the ride and handling of the car. Overall the ride quality isn’t bad for a small car and it’s definitely improved from earlier. The straight line stability has improved, but the Estilo still has a lot of body roll and the handling is scary if you try to corner it enthusiastically. The handling is not confidence inspiring and the steering while is good for city use, offers no feel.
From amongst the Maruti Suzuki cars, the Wagon R offers more space, better ride and handling. The Alto isn’t as spacious as the Estilo but handles better, the A-star is the best styled from amongst the Maruti cars in this segment and offers class leading ride and handling. The Chevrolet Spark offers good build quality, styling and the ride too is good. The Ford Figo’s base variant competes with the Estilo and the Figo offers better interior space, the ride and handling too is as strong as the A-star and the diesel and petrol engine offer refinement and efficiency. The Hyundai Santro has been around for a long time and the i10 offers a good mix of interior space, refined engine and build quality.
The Estilo after the makeover and the new engine is an improved car. It doesn’t look bad as it did before, the engine is refined and efficient and the ride and handling too has improved from before. While the Estilo has improved, so has the competition. There are other cars in this segment which offer a better and more complete package at around the same price.
Quotes from other reviews:
Autocar India: ‘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’.