The Maruti Zen Estilo gets a new face while the Santro makes do with interior tweaks. OverDrive (Oct. ’09) takes a test to see which one scores higher...
Style & Build
One look at the Estilo and it immediately qualifies as a serious face-lift. So gone is the slope-y bonnet and enter a slightly bulged out hood that gives the front a pleasing distinction. It also gets new headlamps that make it look pretty. A-pillar onwards unfortunately it looks the same and the tailgate deserves a serious re-think and not just clear tail lamps.
The Santro remains the same on the outside and although the styling has started showing age – it still remains handsome.
On the inside, brown is the colour of the season for the Estilo. The dash is now finished in beige, brown and silver and the steering wheel is done in brown with silver coloured inserts. Space is at a premium though and the large glass area comes as a relief and the cabin has a roomy feel.
The Santro too gets the brown treatment and the dash looks sculpted out of a chocolate bar. While the Zen Estilo boasts better headroom, the Santro’s larger shoulder space makes it more accommodating. The seats also get new upholstery with part synthetic leather trim that look quite upmarket.
Engine & Performance
It is the Estilo’s new heart that forms the core of its resurrection exercise. We have already seen the three-cylinder K10B engine displacing 998cc on the A-star and it now finds its way under the Estilo’s hood. The engine develops 68PS of power at 6200rpm and 90Nm of torque at 3500rpm. The three-pot mill makes similar power as the earlier 1.1-litre unit but 9Nm more torque.
The engine revs more freely compared to the Santro’s but it gets a little noisy and gruff approaching the redline. What it lacks is outright poke down in the rev range and that means frequent gearshifts to tackle the city traffic. The engine is more suited to spirited driving though the performance figures are not exceptional. It does the 0-60kmph sprint in 6.5 seconds while 100kmph comes in at 17.5 seconds. The Estilo took 20.4s for the quarter mile run while maxing out at 145kmph.
On fuel efficiency, the car returned 16.6kmpl in the city while stretching out to 23.1kmpl on the highway, giving 18.2kmpl overall.
The Santro’s four-cylinder mill, in comparison displaces 1085cc and feels more refined. Although the peak power of 63PS is lower that the Estilo, it comes in at a lower 5500rpm says OverDrive (Oct. ’09). The capacity advantage also gives it an edge in the torque department which peaks at 96Nm at 3000rpm. It is also the quicker of the two. The Santro takes 5.94 seconds to clock 60kmph from a standstill while 100kmph comes in at 16.33 seconds. It is also faster to the quarter mile, taking 20 seconds for this sprint and top speed registered is 146.2kmph. The Santro is less fuel efficient though returning 14.2kmpl in the city and 20.1kmpl on the highway, giving an overall figure of 15.6kmpl.
Ride & Handling
The Estilo is set up on the softer side and though it takes rough patches quite well and gives a comfy ride, it is a bit bouncy when driving alone. Body roll also is more pronounced though the ride is better with more passengers in the car. The steering is not very confidence-inspiring and definitely not one to attack corners with. Ladies however will appreciate the steering.
The Santro on the other hand is slightly stiffer but a much better package overall. The ride is supple while the steering is adequately weighted and quick to respond. Be it cutting your way out of traffic or going on your occasional weekend outing, the Santro nods instantly to the steering inputs. It also stays far more composed while cruising on the highway.
The Santro has always been the best-seller and though the Estilo has been revamped it still has not reached the level of the Santro. The Estilo’s engine feels eager and revvy but the Santro’s torquey mill is much better suited to the city. It feels more comfortable too.
Talk about looks and the Estilo definitely has a fresh face but the Santro comes up as a more mature design from all sides. So the Santro not only matches the Estilo on these aspects but on the price front as well. The top-end Santro GLS will set you back by Rs. 3.55 lakh, ex-showroom, Pune while the top-of-the-line Zen Estilo Vxi costs Rs. 3.73 lakh.
So at nearly identical pricing, the Santro feels better built and has the better interiors while the Estilo’s plus point is fuel efficiency. So if you are in the market for a car that’s cheap to run – look no further than the Estilo, but if you demand more in life, the Santro is actually the better automobile of the two.