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Maruti Suzuki A-Star Automatic Test Drive Review


Maruti Suzuki A-Star AT Review

2010 Maruti Suzuki A-Star AT – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Car tested: 2010 Maruti Suzuki A-Star Automatic VXi (ABS)

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 5,03,446/-

Maruti Suzuki is the king of small cars and there is little to doubt that considering it has the widest selection of entry level hatchbacks. Market share may have dipped below 50% but Maruti Suzuki is leaving nothing to chance and is on a roll as far as new launches are concerned, the latest being the Automatic variant of the A Star. Its a common perception that automatic cars are expensive and are harsh on mileage. Not anymore. Maruti claims to have ARAI figures of 17 kmpl, a fantastic value for an automatic. This version is primarily targeted for first time buyers, especially women, who find an automatic transmission handy and considering the traffic situation in the metros of the country only deteriorating, the Maruti A-Star AT is sure to have a fan following. We drive this AT version over a spirited 450 km stint between a mixture of  jam packed city roads and fast moving highway traffic and find out just how good it gets.

Exteriors – According to statistics, about 60 percent A-Star buyers know that they want an A-Star when they enter the showroom and are young professionals looking for a sporty hatchback and sporty it is. The Maruti A-Star is a young sassy looking machine. Sporty looks are complemented with the bulging headlights and from the side profile, thick c pillars with the upward sloping rear windows. Alloy wheels are absconding and the A-Star automatic is available in only one variant, the Vxi with ABS as standard. No fog lights but lets not forget that Maruti had to keep the pricing competitive. The rear right portion of the boot portrays the ‘Automatic’ badge, setting is apart from the manual variants. Sloping roof line adds to the young feel of this car.

Interiors – The A-Star AT gets extra goodies over the manual Vxi variant, such as integrated music system, drivers seat height adjuster, central locking and all 4 power windows. Seating is comfortable at the front and all the controls are easily accessible from the driving position. Rear legroom is appalling and the A Star is basically a car for two and maybe a small kid will fit well behind. Another factor contributing to the rear space is the front seat travel. The Maruti A-Star has the highest front seat travel and hence in the last position of the front seats, rear legroom is bare minimum. Rear headroom is just about right for a 6 footer with a few millimeters of hair grazing the roof. The AT variant has scrapped the need for a clutch, hence a big brake pedal and the accelerator are the only pedals seen.

The music system provides for iPod connectivity and sound quality is decent. Boot space isn’t the largest in the segment but handy to say the minimum.

Built Quality – Over our drive, our A Star took a beating riding over the deepest of potholes but did not utter a single rattle. It would not be out of place to mention that we were driving brand new cars which were just out of the factory, the odometer read 88 km when we stepped in. Gauge of the metal used is better than few other Maruti’s we have seen. Overall quality is good and that’s basically because the A Star is a frequent at the export market.

On the Move – Start the engine, press the brake and shift out of the P (Parking) mode and slot the lever into D (Drive) and you will notice that the car will accelerate out with ease. The gearbox uses a slot shift mechanism rather than the conventional (press button and shift) mechanism.

There are 6 positions which include P, R, N, D and 3, 2 and L. This gearbox can be used to manually shift and drive in 3, 2 and L. L is more like first gear and is useful while doing sharp inclines, where one needs more of the low end grunt. D and 3 are locate in the same slot and can be shuffled by just flicking the gear lever left (D) and right (3). There is a small button to the left of the gear lever and reads ‘Shift Lock’. One can press this button after selecting a gear (say D) and the car wont change gears unless its pressed again. This works as a protective mechanism to prevent accidental gear changes in a moving vehicle by kids, for example. We did not feel the need to use this on our drive. Effectively the gearbox can be used in automatic as well as manual mode without the fuss of the clutch. Overtaking on the highway was not much of a problem, floor the accelerator pedal and the car darts forward. Lag between shifts is in the acceptable range.

Maruti A-Star AT Ride

Ride, Handling and Braking – The 155/80/13 tyres certainly improve the ride quality of the Maruti A-Star. The suspension is a balance between too soft and outright stiff and strikes the right balance giving the A Star a comfortable ride. Steering is light and responsive and the car is extremely nippy making it an ideal drive in extreme traffic situations. Addition of ABS as a standard feature is a sensible move by Maruti. On hard braking the car stops in one line, though one feels the tires are losing grip a little earlier than expected, braking is satisfactory.

Performance – The A Star was the first car to be fitted with the all new K series engines and this 998 cc SOHC K series engine punches out 67 Bhp @ 6200 rpm and a torque of 90 Nm @ 3500 rpm. The AT version hits 100 km in about 19.5 seconds and hits a top speed of 150 km. In the manual mode, the ECU cuts off the second gear at 95 km and in third gear the car reaches 120 comfortably and then struggles. At speeds of 130+ slight amount of wobbling starts and one feels unsafe to push further. By all means this is a city car and not an ideal highway cruiser. In terms of mileage, ARAI figures indicate 17 kmpl, a drop of only 2 kmpl over the manual version. The AT returned us a mileage of about 12 – 13 kmpl, not bad considering we were hitting maximum revs in 3 and 2, spirited driving at its peak.

Conclusion – With the traffic situation only getting worse, especially in the big metro cities, the A Star AT comes out as a perfect car to deal with metro traffic woes a little more comfortably. People have inhibitions about automatic transmission but Maruti has set this straight with good ARAI figures and at the same time giving an affordable automatic car to the consumer (its a full 20k cheaper than the i10 AT and has more goodies). Servicing costs will be marginally higher than the manual version as confirmed by Maruti officials. Maruti sees the A Star AT as the ideal car for women and first time drivers. It sure is a great city car and it hopefully will open up a new segment for automatic cars in the coming future.

Whats Kool

  • Nippy character and peppy engine
  • Young looks
  • Cheapest automatic car
  • ABS as standard
  • Maruti Service

Whats UnKool

  • Rear legroom and headroom
  • Airbags not even an option

Maruti Suzuki A-Star AT

Maruti Suzuki A-Star Automatic Specifications -

  • Engine: 998cc, KB-Series, DOHC
  • Power: 67 PS @ 6200rpm
  • Torque: 90 Nm @ 3500rpm
  • Transmission: 4-speed auto
  • Top Speed: 150km/hr
  • 0-100 km/hr: 20 seconds (est)
  • Fuel Consumption: 13-14 km/l (City), 17-18 km/l (highway)
  • Fuel Type: Petrol
  • Suspension: Mcpherson Struts, Isolated trailing link (Rear)
  • Tires: 155/80/13 Tubeless Radials
  • Brakes: 257mm Ventilated Disc (Front), 203mm Drums ( Rear), ABS, EBD
  • Safety: ABS, EBD, iCats

Maruti A-Star AT Wallpaper

Maruti Suzuki A-Star Automatic Dimensions -

  • Overall length x width x height: 3500 mm X 1600 mm X 1490 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2360 mm
  • Front/Rear Track: 1405/1400 mm
  • Ground clearance: 170 mm
  • Turning Radius: 4.5 m
  • Boot Volume: 129 liters
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 35 litres
  • Kerb Weight: 880 kgs

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  • Anil

    Nice reveiw as always. I will surely take a test drive.

  • Adi

    I dont like the looks of this car………..Bullshit

  • Rudra Das

    I like the car, it looks good and drives well is what I can infer from this review. However safety is a concern! Only 3 stars in EURONCAP plus no safety features? Why no ZXi variant?

  • http://www.4x4trucks-forsale.com Pickup Trucks

    It has a good Fuel economy & Value for Money but simultaneously Less Luggage space for big family…!!!

  • Rahul

    I think the A-Star makes perfect sense for female drives, specially this AT variant. Nice pics by the way, love the bubbly front of this car.

  • Rafi

    At around 5 lakh is this really a good buy considering the i10 automatic sports is around 30k and comes with all the good stuff that is missing here. Though i like the front view of the A-star just like Rahul (above) – i just cant come to terms with the read end, Maruti needs to address this on other models like Ritz as well and take a cue from what they got right in the Swift.

    All said great review guys – love your eye for details and photos.

    • Jav

      Maruti can’t come up with good rear ends, anyways the new Swift has a real rocking rear.

      In this segment, the pricing plays a key and the A-Star AT hits the right note when it comes bang for the buck.

  • kishorej

    @rudra tell me one car which has got better rating than a-star. Hyundai sells i10 with side airbags in europe but not in india

    @rafi when compared to a-star at i10 magna variant is deprived of most features including abs, audio system,height adjustable driver seat and much more

  • http://www.motor.com sunil

    i think its value for money & looking @ its sales others will soon catch up , at the moment there is only i10 with a At model & its 50’000 more then the A star price. ALSO ITS A CAR FOR PPL WHO HATE DRIVING BUT HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO DRIVE. I AM BUYING ONE SOON FOR MY WIFE. SHE HATES DRIVING BUT HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO DRIVE.

  • anil

    About a-star the rear leg room and the boot space concerns me.but a-star is a good choice for my dad who needs an automatic car and a-star automatic is aggressively priced too,with has abs.i think a-star is a sucessor of old zen as i own 1 and i am a hardcore fan of zen…amazing car

  • Nikhil

    Hello Friends,

    I have Astar Manual and I just purchased it in July …. Trust me its a wonderful car….. Manual gear is always good compared to Automatic ….. It is giving me an average of .19 KMPL in city and .22 on Highway ….. My daily running is 130 KMS ………. Its also spacious for 5 people ….. AC is very powerful, Pickup is mind blowing ….. I love Astar and the other cars that I have is Swift Dzire and Honda City ….. Honda is good but not that smooth compared to Swift and Astar

    • http://www.keralaayurved.com Dr.Ramesh

      Hi Nikhil
      thanks for sharing your feeelings about car.We do not get frank opinions and test drive about Automatic cars so easy.Iam also planning to go for this car,very soon. Booking and waiting is the tough time..but no choice. thanks again. Dr.Ramesh Deshmukh, Vile Parle East.

  • Amit

    It doesn’t have dual airbags. Wrongly mentioned under specifications above…, pls correct.

    • fas

      Thanks Amit, corrected.

  • AstarBooked

    I had booked an astar automatic via Tanya Auto Meerut on 22nd Sept but I’m yet to receive any confirmation when I’ll get the car. Seem Maruti production is yet to start, so beware before booking this car.

  • damkln

    Engine is DOHC not SOHC

    • fas

      Thanks Damkln, it has been corrected.

  • http://www.google.com kavin

    if this astar cannot be drived by a man then everyone should have to buy a tipper lorry

  • http://www.capgemini.com thomas

    It is a good car, considering the purpose of why maruti built it. I bought the car because i wanted something different. Driven mildly it delivers a healthy 15kmpl. It displays excellent road manners. Seats 4 (under 6 footers) in relative comfort for short drives and almost parks itself. It is a little dark at the back with the tapering rear windows. It is a little low on luggage space, but you could throw on a thule overhead storage box for those long drives if you really want to take it places….with grandmas luggage. I’m in the zone with it. Efficient, small and great for the city.

  • Manoj

    Booked on 30th Sept. Got the delivery on 29th Dec in Nagercoil (Kanyakumari District) at the southern tip of India. Dealer always kept giving promises, such as coming in next 2-3 days etc… and also told us to buy the estillo etc, but i insisted on the AT. My Dad is 69 yrs old and surely appreciates the ease-of-use of the AT.

    It’s nimble and handy car for the narrow lanes. Internal space is of-course small. If you want a big car, buy a sedan.

    Cost was 4.73 lakhs. It’s the first Astar AT sold by the dealer here.

  • Kannan

    back design is not good. design should be changed.

  • rays

    Seems to be a good car. bought one for my dad who has been driving AT cars in the US… good drive. ofcourse boot space is much less than any small cars… and we have to mind that it is not a car for a big family and for a long drive…

  • sacchu

    This a star automatic is a piece of crap, say your prayers before overtaking someone, cos you never get to the other side in time. I think old time vespa scooters ride better, mines up for grabs, anyone interested….

  • hirusara

    Great features great look i want to buy this just now
    maxxaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • http://www.keralaayurved.com Dr.Ramesh

    I am thinking to go for Astar automatic. I read all views and bit confused. i10 is also good car but in comparision Astar seem economical in price. In small city car it is hard to expecct big boot area. I am using Maruti 800 since 1992 . changed 2 cars. Maruti post delivery servie is best one .one can trust quality service and good parts.My mind is going to book Astar soon. Thanks for sharing real feeling it helps others,like me.

  • jayashree

    I have a swift but after a small accident i have limitations with my left leg.so i want to go for an automatic vehicle.dont know which to buy?An i 10 or A star!!!

    • Faisal

      Jayashree, get the Hyundai i10 Automatic.

  • Ram

    These idiots provide a third rated music system. No USB/ipod option. Wonder why they install stone age systems

    • Faisal

      Ram, to save on costs I presume.

      • Ramesh

        Better option is not to install any music system, thereby reducing cost further

  • Anurag

    I have problem in my right leg and want to buy an automatic car but confused between i 10 A star.Plz suggest.

  • Zulu

    Thnx for the review… Am in planing to buy this version… Unluckly delear didnt hve AT version at showrooms… Thats a disappointment…. I will love to test drive it and feel the drifference in I10& manuall ver of both…. Any one in jaipur or hve any idea if any dealer hve this AT ver than plze let me know????? I will b thnfull ;-)

  • Devilsdelight

    Purchased astar .. Covered 1300kms.. Delievers only 8.5kmpl in city.. And highway only 11kmpl.. All with ac on all time.. Worst mileage trust me.. Complained Maruti they tested found it to be 9kmpl as per their test.. They just did cleaning and hv told me to check.. Let’s see whether the car has defect or it is just a scam to blog over rated mileage on websites..

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      How many kms has the car totally done?