motto of ‘drive easy live better’ when it comes to ergonomics and functionality. As a driver, you will appreciate the Active’s great all-round visibility. In fact, the Active is one of the very few modern cars where you can actually see the bonnet—thanks to its bulbous design element that flanks its edges. This will make it easier for newer drivers to park.
Apart from a cubby hole near the gear lever, the Maruti lacks open areas on the dash. Instead, you get twin gloveboxes. This does tend to get inconvenient at times when you want to quickly stash away a few coins or a pair of sunglasses. Also, the door pockets are too narrow to fit even a wallet in there. Move to the rear and you realise there is quite a difference between the two Japanese cars. While the Stingray offers fantastic under-thigh support, it just isn’t wide enough to accommodate three abreast comfortably. At just 1475mm, the Wagon R is substantially narrower than the Micra (1665mm) and this restricts the possibility of a third passenger. Boot space is by far the smallest here, but the Wagon R comes with a 60:40 split on the rear bench, giving it good versatility. So, while the Wagon R is the best here to ferry a family of four, its narrow width just isn’t good enough for five, for which the wider Micra Active is the best suited. But, there is a catch. The Active may be more conducive towards carrying five people, but its limited under-thigh support on the rear seat means it may not be as comfortable on longer drives. And visibility with those tall headrests is also poor. That being said, as a city runabout, the rear bench won’t produce many complaints.
Buying & owning
The new Wagon R Stingray is available in three trims, ranging from R4.1 lakh for the LXi to R4.66 lakh for the VXi ABS variant. The top trim gets ABS as an option and a single driver airbag. On the other hand, the base Micra Active (XL) is priced very aggressively, at R3.5 lakh, but feels very Spartan with no wheel caps, tachometer or audio system. The top-of-the-line XV S trim with the added safety package costs significantly more, at R4.71 lakh, but it still is a great value proposition. In terms of fuel efficiency, the Wagon R Stingray is slightly more fuel efficient in the city