The war that began 20 years ago will see a new battle, come early 2019. Maruti is preparing the all-new WagonR hatchback for launch early next year, and the car will be aimed squarely at the all-new Hyundai Santro. The new Santro will be launched in India on the 23rd of October, 2018, and the hatchback will have 2-3 months of breathing space before the new WagonR comes in to give it stiff competition. This is, in a sense, history repeating itself. In 1998, the original Hyundai Santro was launched months ahead of the original WagonR. Both cars were locked in battle for nearly a decade before the WagonR prevailed. Which way will the latest battle go? It’s anyone’s guess.
Maruti Suzuki is extremely bullish about the new WagonR, and aims to sell about 18,000 units of the hatchback each month. Hyundai is said to be a lot more conservative with the new Santro’s numbers, aiming for about 10,000-12,000 units each month.
The new WagonR launched in India will be based on the HEARTECT platform. This means it will get lighter and stronger thanks to the use of high-tensile, light-weight steel. The new car will also get a total styling revamp on the outside, taking cues from the Japan Domestic Model (JDM).
The new WagonR is expected to retain the 1-litre 3-cylinder K-Series petrol engine with 67 Bhp-90 Nm on tap. CNG and LPG dual fuel options are likely to be offered in specific markets. The engine will continue to be offered with two gearbox options – a 5-speed manual and a 5-speed AMT.
The new car will comply with the new Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP) norms, which mandate twin airbags, ABS+EBD, reverse parking sensors, ISOFIX child seat provision, speed alert and a seatbelt warning indicator as standard. It will also be geared to meet the upcoming Bharat Stage 6 (BS6) emission norms.
The new WagonR will get a total interior revamp with new features. A touchscreen infotainment system is likely on the top-spec trim, with features such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The car is also expected to be ready for mild-hybrid and full-hybrid applications in future. An electric variant of the new WagonR is also in the works for a 2020 launch. As for pricing, the new Maruti WagonR is likely to sit in the same price bracket as the current car, with prices starting from a little over Rs. 4 lakhs.