Maruti Suzuki’s 10 forgotten cars & SUVs: Zen Classic to Baleno Altura


Maruti Suzuki has been around for years in the Indian market. It has become the best-selling brand and has almost half of the market share. Maruti Suzuki has been present in India since 1983 and since then, it has launched numerous vehicles. While most Maruti Suzuki vehicles launched in India become very popular, there are a few models that do not get as much attention. Well, here is a list of ten cars from the Maruti Suzuki stable that most of us do not remember.

Maruti Suzuki 1000

Maruti Suzuki 1000 was the fifth car from the brand in the Indian market after the launch of the 800, Omni, Gypsy and Gypsy E. It was the first sedan from the brand and was launched seven years after the Maruti Suzuki 800. Maruti Suzuki 1000 was a premium sedan and came with a price tag of close to Rs 4 lakh in the 1990s. It sure was considered as a premium amount back then. Soon the Maruti Suzuki 1000 was replaced with the Esteem, which again became extremely popular in the market.

Maruti Suzuki Omni High-Roof

The Maruti Suzuki Omni was one of the vehicles that remained in production for a long time. It was extremely popular but due to the updated guidelines by the Indian government, Maruti Suzuki discontinued the vehicle. The Omni was a versatile vehicle and was used for various things including transporting people and cargo. In fact, Maruti Suzuki also launched a version with a high roof, which offered extra headroom to the passengers and more space for cargo. However, due to its hideous looks, most rejected the high-roof version and chose the regular version.

Maruti Suzuki Zen Classic

The Zen was an extremely popular vehicle in India. Maruti Suzuki launched a few variants based on Zen and one of them was the Classic. The original Zen found a lot of buyers in the market. In fact, it created cult followership. Maruti Suzuki launched the Zen Classic with a chrome-heavy front-end. It received round headlamps, a three-piece grille, chrome steel bumper and more. However, it could not beat the popularity of the original Zen.

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara

Maruti Suzuki tried its luck in the full-size SUV segment with the launch of the Grand Vitara in the Indian market. Launched way back in 2009, it was a CBU import, which means it attracted a lot of tax. The Grand Vitara was very powerful though. It came with a 2.4-litre V6 petrol engine but Maruti Suzuki did not offer any diesel engine option. With a price of more than Rs 20 lakh, on-road, the Grand Vitara did not do well and was discontinued in 2014.

Maruti Suzuki Kizashi

The Grand Vitara was not the only CBU import sold by them in India. Maruti Suzuki Kizashi was another vehicle that was launched in the Indian market in 2011. It was launched to take on the likes of Toyota Corolla but again, it failed to attract a majority of the buyers. Even the Kizashi came powered only by petrol engine options and there was no diesel option available. At that time, the Indian market preferred diesel vehicles. It was discontinued after a few years.

Maruti Suzuki Zen diesel

As we said above, diesel vehicles were gaining a lot of momentum in the Indian market years ago. Maruti Suzuki launched the Zen diesel in the market to capture the customers looking for affordable options. However, the diesel variant was just not as refined or as good as the petrol version of the Zen. It came powered by a Peugeot 1.5-litre engine, which also powered the Esteem.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Altura

Maruti Suzuki, just like many other manufacturers in India tried its luck by launching a station wagon. But just like all the other station wagons, the Baleno Altura did not do very well in the market. The Baleno Altura was doing very well in the international markets but it failed miserably in India. It came powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine.

Maruti Suzuki Versa

The Versa was for people who wanted to upgrade from the Omni. But really, Omni did all the jobs very well. While Maruti Suzuki was expecting to see a massive change in the MPV segment after the launch of the Versa, it sure did not go too well. Over time, the Versa was phased out and was replaced with the affordable version – the Eeco.

Maruti Suzuki Zen Steel and Carbon

Maruti Suzuki launched the limited edition Steel and Carbon versions of the Zen in the Indian market. It was a three-door version of the Zen. However, it was not meant for the Indian market. Maruti Suzuki exported the Zen Steel and Carbon to Poland and for some reason, they did not export a batch of the vehicle. The company sold the Zen Steel and Carbon in limited numbers in India. Only 300 units of each were sold.

Maruti Suzuki A-Star

The Maruti Suzuki A-Star was launched to take on the Hyundai i10 in the Indian market. However, it did not do too well as it was sandwiched between two well-doing models – WagonR and the Swift. Due to its poor sales in the market, Maruti Suzuki discontinued it after two years of its launch.