With the kind of readers I have, it is a pleasure to publish this Owner Review for the Maruti A-Star car. This is the first ever attempt to publish owner reviews. If all goes well, I will publish more such car reviews from readers based on the feedback. Author of this review is Prof. D. K. Khurana who heads the department of Tree Improvement & Genetic Resources at Dr. Y. S. Parmar University of Horticulture & Forestry, near Nauni (Solan) in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Here goes the review…
I have been driving mostly Maruti’s various models from Gypsy to the famous Maruti 800. Then to Alto, Zen and lastly A-Star. I had driven Maruti 800 for 1,25,000 km overall with trouble free working till about 60,000 km. After which it started requiring regular repair and at 1,20,000 kms I had to replace its clutch plates. Then I changed to Alto-LX and it also gave me a good 60, 000 kms of trouble free service. While changing a flat tyre, the studs of the wheel became free and after that at 78,000 kms the bearings started giving trouble. At that point I changed to A-Star. I have often driven Gypsy whenever I had to go to Rohtang or interiors on non-asphalted roads. In such places Gypsy did well and particularly I liked the gears of Gypsy which were crisp, short throw and smooth. The gears of Mahindra Logan were also similar which I liked the most. Had it not been for interiors, and exterior, Logan’s engine, pickup and gear box were much better synchronized than all other vehicles which I have test driven.
My job involves traveling quite often, normally I drive about 50 kms daily and during weekend it can be about 200 or 300 km. The longest drives have been up to 500 kms through the hills on a given day or 600 km in the plains. Here is the detail about my experience with A-Star so far :
Maruti Suzsuki A-Star’s slogan should have been “A-Star@stop at everything but its engine”. I say so since, except for its engine, there is nothing good about it. When I test drove it and the Hyundai i10 it had definite advantages. It was able to negotiate a gradient of 1 to 15 from 1st to 3rd gear at 2000 rpm whereas i10 was not able to negotiate in 1st gear at 4500 rpm. Its interiors appealed, but outward look especially the indicators sitting on top of headlamps appeared little odd, but still I went for it. Since then I am used to this oddity. I have already driven 19,000 kms on this vehicle and still engine gives the power which I could not get with maruti-800, alto-LX or old Zen. It can negotiate the gradients where 800 or Alto would require 3rd gear and Zen 2nd gear, A-Star does it in 4th gear.
The pick up is excellent, the air-conditioning and heating is very good. But stop at that! its 3rd gear had a play right from the beginning, which still does not work the right way. Sometimes it engages when you have to shift gears in quick succession for acceleration. On rough roads, even in 2nd gear it runs, too quickly and you have to control its acceleration by breaking. If you are a lazy driver, who doesn’t like shifting gears on highways or when slowing down and then accelerating, the pickup even in 4th gear is very good. There are times when I increase the rpm slowly, even then the car has slowed down to 30 km.
But the body of the car started squeaking when the car had hardly done 3000 km, the noise is very irritating when you start driving the car in the morning on cold winters and it is too much. As the day progresses, the noise reduces a bit. Given the road conditions in India and particularly on the patchy roads in the hills, the thuds of the shockers are also annoying. The earlier driven Maruti cars had given me no such worry as compared with the A-Star. The tyres are gone at 18000 km and the average mileage which I have been able to get in optimum driving conditions on the highway have never exceeded 18.5 kmpl. Normally it gives is between 14 to 15 kmpl on hill roads under continuous driving and not in city driving conditions. The boot space is small but adequate if you have go on weekends with two small suitcases, but the LX has slightly more space than the LXI where space is taken by the speakers. The inbuilt music system with side speakers is adequate if you are not a big music lover. But one of the speakers diaphragm is already gone within 1st year! The red glow of the different dials may not go well with all, though it appealed to my son.
Prof. Khurana, thanks for your review. Other articles on this blog related to cars & reviews can be found here.