It is considered as one of the first sedans which was introduced in the Indian market, and considered as the Indian-Benz! Yes its Maruti Suzuki Esteem, one of the finest and the best seller for Maruti ever. I still remember when I was 6-7 years old, I rarely found this car on roads and was owned by financially sound people, but when I was 12 this car become a paparazzi as it was shown in several Indian cinemas and was soon getting replaced with Ambassador cars.
Maruti Esteem is the First full-fledged A/C car which I ever known. This car easily has 15-16 years of glorious history before it becoming out of fashion( not to mention, it is one of the most iconic cars which I’ve ever seen ). In this article lets get to know some aspects of this car which made it a champion and some reasons for it’s down fall.
The Esteem was first introduced in the first half of 1995. It’s the first attempt of Suzuki in compact segment and Suzuki has chosen Europe for it. At that time this car faced the toughest rivals in the market such as Golf which was built by none other than Volkswagen, Opel’s Astra, Nissan’s Sentra, and Toyota’s Corolla. That’s a huge competition as these companies have already dug their root into the European market. Suzuki introduced this car in that year as a 3-door hatchback and 4-door sedan, the 3-door is powered by 1.3- Liter and while 4-door is powered by 1.6-Liter engine. But this model got appreciation first and then gradually sales dropped. Hence Suzuki restyled Esteem in 1999 with new enhancements.
The car was given a new front end, and a new redesigned grille and new headlights and the 1.6 engine was replaced with a 1.8. With these changes Esteem indeed became like a sports model. It gained a huge success and started rising in the European market and after seeing this success Suzuki planned to launch it in Asian countries ( as after Europe, the Asian market had a bit of a boom then) and thus Suzuki launched Esteem in India. In order to manufacture Esteem in India Suzuki collaborated with Maruti ( and rest is history )
Maruti in collaboration with Suzuki released Esteem in 1994 and sales sky-rocketed all over India and was considered as the best seller in 1995 and 1996. Maruti gained huge reputation with this car. Since then this car ruled the Indian automobile market for at least 10-11 years until late 2006. In 2006 the penetration of companies like Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Jeep and Gypsy begun and the competition became tougher than ever. Most young people opted to new offerings from Jeep and Gypsy. This was one of the reasons for esteem’s downfall. With the raise of tough competition, Maruti Suzuki itself had planned for a new release and it released the new Maruti ZEN automatic in to the market and that’s how esteem’s glory shattered and in the year 2008 Maruti finally stopped manufacturing Esteem.
The specifications of this car look very good. We have to consider that it is an old car and at the time of its release technology was still in research stage. But it has some features which looks amazing still now. They are its Interiors and its performance
The interiors of this car still look amazing and it is the best part of the car. The molded floor along with trunk carpets were good and the best parts of the interiors was its seats( a friend who still has this car, also stated the same ). The seats look comfortable and it suits for long drives. The cabin of this car can accommodate a total of 5 members comfortably. The dash board which is coated with black leather work and power steering is quite good it has all the basic features such as air conditioner, cabin heater, remote fuel lid opener, remote trunk opener, coat hanger hook etc. The dash board looked perfect. Power windows, Child lock controls and OVRM’S on both sides of the doors added more reliability to this car. The front seats are adjustable for good driving. The boot space is big and is about 376-litres, which can accommodate many of our needs during traveling.
The car looked real classy from every angle. The car measured 4095mm (length), 1575mm (width), 1395mm (height) with a wheelbase of 2365mm and ground clearance of 170mm. Fog lamp with clear lens, body colored door handles and rear spoilers added all the more beauty to this car. The car was made available in 6 colors such as superior white, metallic pearl silver, metallic silky silver, metallic icy blue, metallic fawn mist and metallic midnight black.
Engine, Performance, and Handling:
This car is powered with a four cylinder 1298 cc petrol engine with SOHC. It can produce a maximum power of 85 bhp at 6000 rpm and the maximum torque is 110 Nm at 4500 rpm. The car is controlled using a manual five speed gear box which also has one gear for reversing the car. Its fuel tank capacity was 40-litres and the average mileage of this car was around 10 km/litre within the city and around 16 km/litre on the highway. The handling of this car was also quite good as the car is accommodated with the McPherson struts and coil springs and when it comes to the breaking system, the front of the car is accommodated with disk and the back is drum.
This car has the basic safety features such as
- laminated windshields
- central locking system
- Kenwood defogger
- Collapsible steering columns
- Child-Lock safety
- Side impact absorbers
- Good suspension system
Price and Resale Value:
The car manufacturing was stopped by Maruti in the year 2008. The resale value of this car is also quite descent. If the car is in good condition the price for resale will reach up to 80,000 to a maximum of 1 Lakh. If it is in bad condition it can give you around 20 to 30 thousand!