Is the 2017 Dzire the spiritual brother of the Ambassador? We explain

Many CarToq fans have pointed out that the 2017 Maruti Dzire compact sedan looks eerily similar to another Indian automotive icon of the past – the Hindustan Ambassador. But is it only looks that bind the two cars, or is there more to it than meets the eye?

In more ways than one, the Dzire does have many characteristics that make it the spiritual brother of the Ambassador. We explain!

Universal appeal



While the Dzire and the Ambassador are cars from different eras, one thing that’s common to both cars is their universal appeal. From the Indian prime minister to businessmen, almost everyone who could afford a car in the 50s and 60s drove around in an Ambassador, simply because they didn’t have many other options to choose from.


With Dzire however, the car appeals to an equally wide set of buyers despite a wide variety of cars to choose from today. That’s down to Maruti’s brilliant packaging, which gives the Dzire that all-encompassing appeal – from the segment’s best mileage (which is still a big factor for most buyers)  to the wide variety of choices (14 variants that ensure that there is something for everybody).

Safe styling

Both the 2017 Dzire, and the Ambassador (which spanned generations), are safely styled. Neither car can stake claim to the ‘best-looker’ title  – the safe styling however ensures that the cars please all and offend none. While the 2017 Dzire does this in today’s times, the Ambassador practiced this safe design philosophy for decades.

Can be serviced almost anywhere

Himdustan Ambassador on a village road

The Ambassador was hugely popular in India’s rural areas for decades, and that was down to its parts being available in every nook and corner of the country. The Ambassador, in its prime, was a very popular car in both urban and rural India.

Maruti Dzire on Himalayan roads

Image courtesy Team-BHP

Decades later, the Dzire is in a similar position. Maruti has service center in almost every part of the country, so that  massive service reach means that servicing and fixing the Dzire is no problem at all, anywhere in India.

Something for everyone

Hindustan Porter

3 engines (two in petrol and one in diesel), multiple body designs from station wagon to even a pick up truck, the Ambassador was extremely versatile. Cabbies used to swear by it, and so did government servants. People wanting a pick-up truck had the ‘Porter’ version while those wanting a station wagon to transport workers got the immensely customizable half-tonne drive-away chassis.

The Dzire, as a compact sedan, offers a petrol-automatic, diesel-automatic, petrol, diesel and a cab-special version called the Tour. The huge number of variants (16, including the Tour) means that the car has something for everyone.

Waiting period

Well, this is also true for both cars! It wasn’t uncommon for people to wait for up to 5 years after booking the Ambassador. But that was then – people waited because there were no other options really.

For Dzire, its multiple generations have seen waiting periods of more than 6 months. In a market flush with choice, that’s as long as 5 years. Why, the just-launched 2017 Dzire has managed to rack up more than 50,000 bookings, and the waiting periods are already touching the 2-month mark.

But then that’s part of the charm of these two cars. They have a universal appeal that’s difficult to emulate.