DRIVEN: 2012 MARUTI A-STAR

Technically the Maruti A-Star isn’t a hot hatchback. But it is a hatchback nonetheless and we would put it in the same category as the Nissan Micra… micro-hatchbacks if you will. Their mass appeal involves the following: low low cost of purchase and ownership, fantastic mileage, low engine output, low weight and a basic list of features all designed to keep the cost down as much as possible. Oh and by basic list of features, we are also referring to the lack of power steering, not that the A-Star needs it, but it has been a while since we came across a model without power steering.  But you will definitely not be able to tell the difference. C’est la vie. On to our review then!

Plus: The A-Star is surprisingly spacious for such a compact car. They say you can fit 5 adults but try that and you will be looking to put an occupant’s legs some place other than the inside of the car. 4 adults is a bit of a squeeze but definitely manageable. It also lives up to the claims of fantastic mileage, with our car getting above 18 kms per liter (Maruti advertises 19.5 kms per liter). As far as the cost of ownership goes, we believe that it would be low considering how pliant the materials used are on the interior and exterior of the vehicle. Even if you get dinged or scraped against, it can’t be that hard or expensive to fix. That’s good when you want to keep costs low. Shifting gears and the steering are silky smooth which enhances your driving experience.
Minus: 3 cylinders and 1L engine putting out a little under 70HP means this isn’t a driver’s car. It is a point A to point B drive within the city type of car. Our advice would be to keep your expectations low to none. And in case you do get the model with the air conditioning, turn it on and you are robbed of the horsepower that is already lacking.
Overall: The Maruti A-Star isn’t a car people buy with performance in mind. This is a car that you buy when you are on a minimal budget and are looking to stretch every last paise or penny without undergoing any unwanted expenses. In that sense, this car is a great buy especially knowing that it actually holds it resale value quite well. And you can get it with an automatic gearbox too!
The Maruti A-Star is currently on sale in India with a price point between Rs. 3,85,000 (~$7,700) and Rs. 4,63,000 (~$9,260).
If you like this vehicle, look at dealers/pricing and buy the car online.

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