Saturday, July 28, 2007

good motoring
Another luxury car in Maruti stable
H.Kishie Singh

Maruti has launched a car to compete with other vehicles in the segment. The SX4 is an A3 segment car but it is designed to take on the competition head-on, especially with the Honda City. The price will be the most acceptable to the Indian buyer who wants a little more for a lot less.

The SX4 comes in two variants. The VXI is priced at Rs 6,20,857 and the ZXI at Rs 6,91,543. This means that the SX4 is cheaper than the Chev Aveo, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Verna and the Honda City.

The SX4 offers a lot more. Visually the SX4 is appealing because of its European design. It is designed to be a global car. It has a muscular look (read male), as Maruti says. Looking at the car, it does show its muscular stance. A large ‘S’ adorns the grill; the bonnet is shaped and the wheel arches flared. Wrap-around headlights complete the picture. It is the tallest, widest and longest car in its class. Added to this are its wide tyres. The VXI rides on 15-inch tyres while the ZXI has 16-inch tyres. A first in this segment. The ground clearance is 190 mm and is ideal for Indian speed-brakers and pot holes. The height raises the centre of gravity, which means cornering has been compromised. But feel safe. The ZXI has ABS brakes with EBS air-bags, ventilated disc brakes up-front and drums at the rear. The car has an electronic power steering (EPS). The vehicle has Macpherson struts suspension in the front with gas-filled shock absorbers at the rear. Road holding is extremely good, given the combination of the suspension tyres and brakes. The car is equipped with seat belt pre-tensioners and has side-impact beams built into all four doors. The luggage boot has massive space, enough to accommodate several bags.

The SX4 is powered by the new "M" series engine. The 1600 cc 16-valve engine is Euro 4 and Euro 5 compliant. The engine puts out 102 bhp at 5500 rpm and has a high torque of 145 nm at 4200 rpm. This combination of power makes for comfortable driving in the city. It also propels the SX4 on the highway at speeds well above the speed limit.

Slip into the driver’s seat and you are at the controls of a "fully loaded" car. In the ZXI the steering wheel is what catches your eye first. It’s a three-spoke wheel but the eye-catcher is the left-hand spoke. The audio system controls are built into the steering wheel—- a fitment found in more expensive models. It is these standard fitments in the car that make SX4 a good buy and gives competition to more expensive models. The music system is integrated into the dashboard. Maruti was always known as the big small car company. Now it has given the common man a big car, and in style.The car drives smoothly with power available in all gears. The fun part is the gear shift. It is positive and has a very short throw, easy to change. The 800 Super Deluxe is in for a new lease in life. The Super Deluxe now comes with central locking, an MP3 music system, body-coloured bumpers, side stickers, footmats, mud flaps, chrome-door handles , near zero maintenance and a fuel efficiency of 23 km per litre. All this at the old price of Rs 1,99,340 for the non-AC model and Rs 2,20,579 for the AC model. And hear this, there is a discount of Rs 15,000 on both models.

Happy motoring.