Maruti Suzuki is soon launching the A Star in an automatic variant and we had a chance to drive the all new Maruti A Star Automatic through a mix of city and highway traffic (Delhi – Agra – Delhi). The car effectively remains the same besides the introduction of a new 4 speed automatic gearbox. The A Star AT will be only available in the Vxi (ABS) variant and will get extra goodies such as integrated music system, seat height adjuster, 4 power windows and central locking.
Traffic situation is only getting worse by the day and an affordable automatic transmission car can be a real boon in today’s congested metros. The A star is already known for its nippy handling and a fuel efficient engine and the all new automatic gearbox is exactly what it needed. 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).
The engine is responsive and acceleration is good. No rattles or vibrations. Lag period between the shift is well within the acceptable range. The automatic gearbox delivers a more comfortable driving experience and can hit 100 km/h within 18.5 seconds. The common misconception about automatic gearboxes is the adverse effects on the mileage but ARAI figures of 17 speak for themselves. Pricing is yet to be revealed and we expect it to be priced around the 4.5 lakh mark (ex showroom). The automatic avatar of the A Star makes it a very practical car for city use. Complete test drive review to follow soon. Keep watching.