Afford-ability: Maruti Wagon R Stingray VXi, Nissan Micra Active XV

Oct 12 2013, 10:13 IST
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Maruti Wagon R Stingray VXi vs Nissan Micra Active XV Maruti Wagon R Stingray VXi vs Nissan Micra Active XV
SummaryBoth these Japanese cars are here to show that low-cost cars dont necessarily mean you have to lose out on style or functionality

Nissan, it falls short of refinement and low-end power. In stop-go traffic, the Maruti feels a bit jerky at lower speeds and the vibrations (inherent to three-cylinder engines) are more pronounced here too. A typical city overtaking move from behind the Stingrays wheel generally requires a downshift to a lower gear, while in the Active, you will find yourself doing this less oftenthanks to the wide spread of pulling power in the Nissans engine. Between the two, you will appreciate the super-light clutch on the Wagon R but, in terms of gearshift quality, the gearbox still feels vague when compared to the Active.

Ride & handling

Both these cars will spend most of their time driving around city roads, and in a metro like Mumbai that is peppered with potholes, an absorbent ride is quite vital. The Stingray and the Active share similar suspension set-ups but they are quite distinct in the way they behave on the road. The Maruti has a reasonably pliant suspension that, at slow speeds, handles broken and patchy tarmac better than the Micra. And its reasonably silent too. But, if you approach moderate potholes at over 20kph, there is a fair bit of thudding that enters the cabin and the vertical movements are more than what you would be comfortable with. The car feels fidgety at times. The Nissans suspension is a bit jarring too, but, go faster, and it rides much better.

When it comes to handling, both cars have a light steering wheel and a tight turning radius that is well suited to city driving. But, they become too light at higher speeds, and you may find yourself unintentionally changing lanes on the highwayespecially in the Stingray.

What are they like inside?

Both cars have very distinct interiors that vary vastly in terms of their overall design and functionality. Enter the updated Wagon R and the first thing you will notice is the all-black treatment dished out to the dashboard as opposed to the dual-tone dash on the standard Wagon R. While the dual-tone theme of the standard Wagon R adds a touch of airiness to the cabin, the Stingrays black theme does look sportier. The piano-black accents on the door trim adds a touch of class too. Besides this, the bespoke blue-backlit dials make the cabin a bit more interesting. On the other hand, the Micras cabin looks a tad boring, but it lives up to its

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