Also in order to avert any chances of cannibalization, Maruti-Suzuki has cunningly treaded a fine line of price difference with Stingray and Wagon R with former costing about Rs 20k more than the ex-show room price of latter. By this move Maruti has tried its best not only to curb the cannibalization menace but also endowing both the cars with a level playing field without ceding any biasness to either party. Although Maruti-Suzuki has tried its best to avoid any conflict of interest between Wagon R and Stingraybut even then once out in market, comparisons are inevitable to follow and it won’t be easy for any of these two cars to completely avoid juxtaposition. Now in order to keep our readers one step ahead of the others we, at ecardlr, once gain focus our energies to utilize present in a best possible manner rather than jiggling for the answer of future-hidden question like whether this multi-pronged vehicle strategy of Maruti-Suzukimeets its desired goal or not? For accomplishing the same we hurried at breakneck speed, got behind the wheels of new Stingray and literally went to extent of bashing life out of it. So get yourself a complete reality check about this all new heavily cladded Wagon R; now rebranded as Stingray before you sign a cheque to get one in your garage.
Stingray comes with a host of new and upmarket features that make this new offering feel more posh and luxurious than WagonR. Although the overall design theme and upright posture of the Stingray is instantly recognizable, still Maruti-Suzuki has been successful in carving out quite a difference between Wagon R and Stingray; courtesy heavy redesigning of Stingray’s front and rear end.
Front face of the Stingray comes with all new slimmer grill flanked by the all new projector type of headlamps on either side. The reflector theme of grill along with mild wraparound design of lamps makes upmarket and solid first impression. Front bumper of the current Wagon R has been ditched to make way for new larger one that feature a new bigger air-dam and sculpted fog lamps.
Side profile remains largely unchanged as the sheet metal works of the current Wagon R has been carried on without any significant changes. However prominence has been given to new multi-spoke design of alloy wheels and blacked out pillars carrying the responsibility of zinging up the profile view of this new variant.
Rear of the Stingray comes with new clear lens tail lamps with liberal chrome garnish though the overall design pattern is reminiscent with current Wagon R. Boot lid has again get accented chrome on with in place prominence given to Stingray badging. Addition of spoiler has indeed made a difference as it blends seamlessly with the tall-boy posture of car.
Contrary to two-tone interior scheme of Wagon R, Stingray has adopted all black colour theme for itself. Dabs of classy piano finish here and there inside look really classy and the efforts to upmarket the Stingray really paid off. Though the black colour does little to augment the space feeling, still the ambience quality has really been uplifted and by far there is no doubt about it.
Instrument cluster though feature same dials as of Wagon R, now comes with blue light theme. Blue backlight theme of instrument cluster seems to be taken from Hyundai and addition of MID aids the overall practicality of Stingray. Centre console hawk-wing style music system which also get some back-lit arrangement. Easy storage space underneath the front seat is intelligent touch and well communicated in the promotional message of the brand. Steering wheel though lacks any sort of sculpting is nice to operate and also comes with the convenience of mounted controls. Twin glove-box system enhances the storage utility along with the cup-holders arrangement.
As there is no change in the wheelbase, Stingray is exactly similar to Wagon R in terms of seating comfort and convenience and that’s both a good and bad thing at a same time. Good because there is enough legroom and kneeroom for the ear seat passengers though the moment third person is taken inside, things take an ugly turn. In terms of shoulder room, Stingray like its sibling Wagon R disappoints as the width feels much below the standard of a spacious and roomy cabin. So for two passengers Stingray cabin has lot to offer but steer clear of accommodating the third one in the rear bench.
Maruti gives another shot at practicality by providing the 60:40 spilt convenience which is sure to get handy as the boot space of Stingray is not something to write home about.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
There has been no change in basic underpinnings and power plant which essentially means that Stingray will derive its 67 horses of power and 90 Nm of torque from 1.0 Litre 3-cylinder K10B petrol motor. As expected the motor is refined, peppy and extremely rev-happy in nature. The throttle responses are sharp and Stingray, like its other K-series siblings, is quite eager to measure the road. However with AC on the acceleration takes a hit as the shift down becomes necessary in order to avoid the stalling of engine. Midrange as well as top range is where the sweet spot of this brilliant K-series motor lies and just like Honda this unit loves to be revved hard. After crossing the 3000 rpm mark the progress become brisk and then onwards Stingray experience becomes quite rewarding though the lack of stability at higher speeds ruins some of the top end feeling of car. But surely most of the potential customers of Stingray will buy the car for their mundane city driving purpose rather than revving the rpm needle to the extreme right. In that sense Stingray is up to its task.
This front wheel drive sends the raw power of K-series engine to the wheels through 5-speed manual transmission; similar to the one featured on Wagon R. Even the slightly long gear level has been carried forward though we would like it to be replaced by small one like in Swift or A-Star. This long lever makes the shifting experience a bit notchy despite of the improved linkage mechanism that has been incorporated in all new Maruti cars. Clutch has been kept as light as possible though the progressive feel is completely absent. Brakes bite well and additional ABS mechanism is on offer with the top trim Vxi (O) pack. Similarly the Maruti has kept the option of air bag open to all safety conscious customers’ by offering the same in optional package of its highest trim.
Stingray comes with MacPherson strut up front and isolated trailing link with coil spring at rear to suspend the wheels. The setting of suspension has been done according to the city-friendly positioning of the car. Springs are softly sprung in order to iron out the undulations effectively though the potholes are still not dispatched with absolute cushioning. One need to approach them with care and so is the case with high speed-breakers. As whack increases, the cushioning ability also smoothens though the conflict with the stability remains very much there as Stingray lacks the high speed confidence because of its obvious tall-boy stature.
Handling turns out to be surprisingly good as we had already lowered our expectation level though the precise steering helps to extract some good inputs during cornering manoeuvers. That said it’s still not in the league of high flyers of handling department. We safely assume that Stingray is more than capable to take all the city abuse it will be subjected to.
Stingray price range stretches between Rs 4.10 lakh to Rs 4.67 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). This new refurbished model has the price difference of Rs 20k with the current of Wagon R. In addition to striking very well on Value for Money aspect, Stingray has many positive things going in its favour. In fact the aggressive changes at the front and rear of Wagon R that actually culminated into Stingray are large enough and have been successful in creating a clear cut perceptible distinction between the two vehicles. Unlike many other facelifts where the heredity of the older model often cast a decisive shadow on the fortunes of new car, Stingray is able to detach itself from the Wagon R dogmas with unprecedented finesse. Heavily redrawn front face of Stingray eludes this vehicle as a whole new offering having little similarity with the existing model of Wagon R. And this is the fact that is sure to bode well for the future sales of this newly and heavily camouflaged Wagon R; now christened as Stingray.
Style& Substance 4/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3.5/5 Safety & Equipment 3.5/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 4/5 Fuel Efficiency 3.5/5
Value for Money 4/5