Can one car turn things around? Bring back the much-needed spark in sagging sales and some excitement into a dull market? Well, Maruti Suzuki’s A-Star was expected to do all that and more. And in many ways, the first impression is that it has. Of course, we can’t expect fireworks in an auto market that is seeing a slowdown—but after the diesel Swift, this seems like another Maruti model that will have long waiting lists for deliveries.

Now, on with our review. A-Star stands for aerodynamic, sporty, trendy, aggressive, revolutionary engine design. Go figure! I like the fact that Suzuki and, by default, Maruti, has experimented with futuristic design. The car looks downright strange in some ways, but that is because the design is so new and different. Large headlights and an unconventional front grille and bumper add to the unusual styling. It’s a compact design, but thanks to intelligent use of space, the cabin is reasonably roomy for a car in this class, with a 2,360mm wheelbase. Ground clearance is not bad at 170mm.

Also ReadRoad Runner’s earlier columns

What made me very happy was the overall interior trim levels, especially the quality of plastic used. The instruments are simple, except the top end model’s tachometer, which is mounted on top of the instruments—almost cockpit-like. That’s interesting but not necessarily effective. The in-dash music system is another nice touch, becoming a Maruti mainstay. The sound quality leaves much to be desired. Steering mounted controls are a plus, though.

One for the road: The A-star and its interiors

The price range (Rs3.46-4.12 lakh) makes it a good deal. Compare variant for variant and the Hyundai i10 and Chevrolet Spark look cheaper. But with dual airbags and ABS, the A-Star ZXi is aggressively priced.

Also See Maruti Suzuki A-Star

It’s almost with a great sense of relief and admiration that I say this. I walked up to the A-Star—expecting not to be impressed, expecting another typical Maruti. But what I got was a world-class Suzuki, which is great news for many Maruti fans who were awaiting this launch. The A-Star is positioned between the Swift and Zen Estilo. Maruti will also launch the Splash (which was a WagonR replacement in Europe last year) in India early next year.

Siddharth Vinayak Patankar is editor, auto, NDTV. Write to us at roadrunner@livemint.com

Close