the Esteem Diesel a classic case of too little, too late? Has Maruti
got the timing all wrong and will she be able to pose a serious threat
to the existing and future players in the diesel C segment? We have
here's a car that should have been launched a good couple of years back,
way back in 1998 to be precise, in line with the launch of the Zen Diesel.
That MUL didn't follow the obvious heart transplant route for the Esteem
defies comprehension since diesel Esteems would have definitely sold
more units than the meagre numbers the Zen D has managed. Garages down
south and up north have for years been doing brisk business plonking
diesel engines into Esteems and 1000s and it is surprising that MUL
didn't tackle this sector head on. Could be that MUL didn't want to
lower the market value of its then flagship model or even a demonstration
of Suzuki's aversion to diesels, but then that's hazarding a guess.
But why do the Esteem diesel now? For years MUL has been idle in this
segment but the imminent launch of the Tata Indigo (which will be offered
in petrol and diesel guises) has prompted MUL into action. But is this
a case of too little, too late?
The Esteem (and the 1000 in its earlier avatar) has been around since
1992 and has seen a few minor facelifts along the way. The fact remains
that the Esteem is old hat now; everybody has seen it, everybody knows
what she looks like and no one is going to give her a second glance.
As such I shall not waste time describing the styling of the Esteem,
save make mention of the chromed grille and Baleno-style wheel caps
that she now sports.